All of the training is done. All that's left is to continue carb loading, get a good night's sleep, and run like a winner on Saturday morning.
The forecast has been unreliable. First it looked like it was going to be hot with a chance of rain sometime Saturday. Then it looked a little better. On Thursday the temps were much lower due to a cold front coming in early (like Friday) and bringing thunderstorms.
I welcome the rain. It gives me an edge. I really welcome cooler temps. I run hot and do not shy from chilly conditions. Unseasonably cool, wet weather would play to my strengths and could possibly slow many others.
My worry is lightning and/or flooding. Lightning is a deal killer for me. I never really considered it as a real risk until we moved to Colorado and frequently heard of injuries or death from lightning strikes. And I've been caught out in the mountains when lightning put the fear in me. That, and often times event organizers will cancel due to lightning. Bean's first home cross country meet was cancelled this past week because of lightning.
Flooding is a serious threat as well. In the first half of the course there are a number of streambed crossings of Chimney Top Creek and the Right Fork of Chimney Top Creek. When Jeff and I ran they were roaring from rain the night before. They had obviously peaked as our first and last crossings were the same point and there was a significant difference.
If it rains all night Friday continuing into Saturday morning the creeks could be dangerously high. I'd brave them myself because I have considerable swift water experience from my white water kayaking days, but I could see the plug being pulled due to high water.
What I’m saying is that I’m not overly concerned about adverse conditions, but they could cause the entire event to be scrapped. The potential is there.
Late summer has been miserable for running in the out of doors around here. All of my long runs have come after someone decided to crank up the heat or switch off the air conditioning. Not sure what that’s all about. But I’ve ran the hardest stuff in (even early morning) miserable humidity, rain, mud, and sweltering sunlight. Most of the trail runs I took this summer resulted in me hosing off my shoes and clothes outside after I got home just so I could get them inside to clean. I had to employ scientific experiments to come up with the best way to dry my shoes from one day to the next so they’d be somewhat dry despite the excessive moisture in the air.
The horse and deer flies have made life uncomfortable these past few weeks as well. I think they’ve finally subsided, but I’m still going to coat my body with a sheen of DDT before taking off tomorrow morning. No itchy welts for me thank you very much!
I might have finally nailed fueling. I’ve got everything I need for the race. I’ve been eating rather well, and as long as I can get a good breakfast in me early Saturday morning I think I’ll have plenty of energy to go the distance.
My strategy is pretty simple and straightforward. I know the course as well as I know any scrap of terrain on earth. I have the right mindset going into this. Positive energy oozes from my pores.
Wednesday I did my last serious run before easing off. While Bean was at cross country practice I ran three miles. I started out at what felt like and easy jog. At a mile I saw I was running a 9:25/mi pace. I upped my pace a little until I was just shy of nine minutes. My second mile I was breathing a little harder but my legs felt like they could go on forever. I nudged up on the throttle just a little more. For whatever reason I stopped running at three miles. If I had kept on to 3.1 it is likely I’d have run my fastest 5k since high school. As it was I did three miles in less than twenty-seven minutes.
The effort wasn’t at my limit, and I was faster than usual. My mind is calm and still as I move on toward the big day.
I won’t be the fastest guy out there, but I’ll be running like I am.