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February 12, 2012

That was my weekend.

This is the last weekend of training before half marathons 5 and 6. The A1A Half Marathon in Fort Lauderdale is next Sunday, and the Gasparilla races are two weekends after that. Because of the heavy mileage of the Gasparilla races will require of our legs, Little G and I will not do a lot of heavy training after this: we will do no long runs or speedwork. Therefore, like I said, this was the last weekend of training: we have reached the taper.

As I said earlier, I didn’t get to do much running this week; I got in a six-mile tempo run Monday, and a two-mile run Wednesday. We had a ten-miler scheduled for Friday, and a long run between fourteen and eighteen miles for Saturday. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in ten miles on Friday, since the Boss had gone into the office after returning from his business trip to the Golden State. I figured I’d get in whatever mileage I could before I had to go get the kids.

I got home around 12:30 and figured I could get in at least five easy miles before I took a shower and went to pick up the kids. Mind you, at this point, I knew the Boss was back in town, but we had missed each other all day: he had landed in Miami, about an hour south of us, at the same time we were waking up, and we spoke on the phone. He was dropped off at home after I left the house to meet with a sweet young woman I disciple about thirty minutes south, and I missed him there again.

So you can’t blame me for dilly-dallying about leaving the house for my run. I knew I had to get it in, but I also knew there was an outside chance he was coming home for lunch. Finally, when I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer, I started down our street–and wouldn’t you know it? Coming down our street was the best sight ever: the Boss’s 1999 silver Toyota 4Runner. I stopped to kiss him, and told him I’d come back to the house, but he encouraged me to keep running, knowing how much I needed to get these miles in. I kept running, but when I got to the half-mile marker, I turned around for home, longing to see the Boss. I hadn’t seen him for a week!

We wouldn’t get too much time together, though; he had a conference call he needed to be on, so we talked for a few minutes before I headed back out and finished my five-miler, making sure I returned to the house in time to grab my car keys and get the kids (yes, this meant I would be stinky for pick-up, but spending time with my husband got top priority over a shower). By the time I got home, though, he’d finished his call, and was eager to see the kids, so he offered to go get them from school. Since he was going to be able to be home for the rest of the day, I decided to not to shower right away, but to change shirts, wait about an hour, and then put in another five miles to finish the day’s originally-scheduled ten.

The first five I put in under dark skies, occasionally being misted on, and being reminded of the 2009 Gasparilla Marathon, with the rain and wind. I was thankful that I only had five miles to put in, and that bailing on the run was always an option. I was a little concerned that I had chosen to wear my new shoes for the run, but in the end I never really got a good soaking, just got a little sprinkled on for portions of the run.

The second five, though, were blisteringly hot. The rain had moved through, bringing in incredibly high humidity. When the sun came out, the conditions combined to create almost a summer-like feeling in the air, making it a very different run from my earlier one, just an hour earlier.

Neither Little G nor I were entirely committed to the Saturday long run, and we thought about cutting it way short from the very start. We set out knowing that we’d go as far as our legs and hearts took us; this close to race day, there’s just no sense in pushing too hard. Heroics are for race day. In the end, though, we took it really slow, and by doing that we were able to go the distance. As soon as our Garmins beeped for the sixteen miles, though, we stopped; we ended up walking the extra mile back to the car, which is unheard of for us. On a regular training run, if we overshoot our distance, we run it home, but on this one, we were absolutely determined not to overdo it.

And there you are: we have reached taper. I’m having a hard time saying this, but three weeks from today, the entire project will be over. We will, God willing, have raced one half marathon every month for six consecutive months. Though at times the training has felt intensely difficult, tiring, and time consuming, I am excited for what is ahead, and thankful that my favorite event of all is my finish line.

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