I'm twenty three days out today from the Fear the Deer half marathon, May 10. Quick history: in the inaugural running of the race three years ago I placed third. Then I was injured for a whole year--plantar, a whole other story--and then last year I went back and fell from first position to fifth in the last mile. Fast forward to this year. The race isn't getting any shorter, the competitors keep getting faster, and I keep getting older; nonetheless, I've really trained hard this year because it may be the last chance I ever have to finally win that race. That is if the guys from the Pikes Peak region haven't discovered the race yet. Competition in this region is brutal and I just hope they stay here.
I feel good about the race, or rather I feel good about how the race might go. Today, I ran a hilly 7.5 mile route out the back door of the school where I teach, over the Inteman, and up the first three hills of Ute Pass trail. When I run a route over and over, I keep mental benchmarks. I'll note my time at specific places along a route, that way I can sort of judge my pace on any given run. Some days I hit the marks, some days I don't. I try to be consistent, but not overly compulsive. Occasionally, I feel great and I smash the benchmarks. Today was one of those days. I smoked my first benchmark and was almost two minutes ahead of my second. The day was cool, the trail moist and soft. What a perfect run.
I know tomorrow I could be as sluggish as all get out. Probably will be after today. I know that's the nature of training. If i could pinpoint what makes the perfect day--air temp? What I ate this morning? What I ate two days ago? Last night my eight-week-old almost slept through the night?--then I would be a running guru. I don't know what makes a perfect day. I'm not a guru. But I know that today was awesome, and fast. I know that I'm almost ready for the race in twenty three days. With any luck, race day will be one of those good days.