Date: April 2
14 days till the Boston Marathon
Yesterday I crossed a very big milestone in my training journey: I have come to the end of my "heavy training" and am officially on a taper. I'm both really happy to finally make it to the end of the tough stuff, but I'm also anxious knowing that there is nothing more that I can do to improve my strength. If I have under-trained, it's officially too late to do anything about it.
The weather was crappy yesterday, so I had to abandon my usual running replacement (aka: cycling) with indoor cardio. The cardio session started off with a 50 minute spin class which I followed with 10 miles on the treadmill, 30 minutes on the elliptical and finally 20 minutes on the stair climber.
The workout didn't get really hard until I hit the stair climber. By that point I was already 2 hours and 50 minutes into my workout, and I was more than tired of being on a machine going nowhere. The only thing keeping me going was the knowledge that this was it: the LAST big effort, and it was an effort that mattered.
With the stair machine set to 20 minutes, I began to climb - the sweat dripped down my arms, my back and even my eye lashes. My legs were cementing beneath me. The minutes seemed to take forever to click by. One by one, the stairs unravelled under my feet, and I fixed my gaze on a budding tree that I could see out of the window - across the street from the gym. The bright yellow buds reminded me of everything we love about spring: the proverbial "thaw" and the optimism that comes with nature resurrecting from the winter sleep - ready to feel the sun on its face. I fixed my gaze on the yellow buds and thought positive thoughts.
Step after step, I continued my climb and watched the numbers change on the electronic panel in front of me. 9:56...8:48...7:58 - the numbers counted down. I silently celebrated as each new minute clicked over on the timer. A small trail of sweat trickled down my forehead and found it's way into my left eye - stinging it wide awake. My feet ached. My quads twitched. I thought about the marathon ahead and reminded myself that suffering is all a part of the journey. It should be expected - and embraced. It's how we get stronger. It teaches us what we're really made of. It makes crossing the finish line that much sweeter.
5...4...3...2...1 DONE! I eagerly hit the "STOP" button on the stair machine and wobbled off. A wave of relief rushed over me. I made it! A smile crossed my face, and I looked outside at the yellow buds on the tree. I reflected on the last three months of training and felt confident - knowing that I trained hard in spite of the obstacles. I will be able to stand at the starting line on April 16th knowing that, regardless of the outcome of the race, I fought hard, and I deserve to be there.