Sometimes, reality bites. Other times, it feels just right.
Having just finished my seasonal goal race, the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon (recap HERE), I'm enjoying an engulfing tide of relief, along with a few remaining post-race endorphins. It's a rather euphoric ride, I must say.
But where do we go from here?
First and foremost, I'm basking in all the perks of the post-finish line splendor. Yes, I'm celebrating (still, LOL) my coveted sub-2 pace (I can't enjoy an official sub-2 finish time, though, since I ran a little too far, ha!), but there are plenty of other joyous things that come with this current reality.
With the race over and done, I don't have to worry about the "unexpected" plaguing me on race day. Granted, there's always the possibility of injuries showing up, mishaps/accidents while training, or untimely sickness. Let's just say it's liberating to not have that start line looming up ahead, tempting fate.
There's no pressure to run excess miles, at least for the time being. Since this was a long-distance race, there were several long-distance runs logged prior to the taper. I'm not afraid of long runs, but they require significant planning in terms of route, fueling, and wardrobe. Let's not forget there's the added stress of "bearable" weather. Anyways, those long runs are outta the picture for the next few months, and I'm alright with that.
Speaking of weather, it's a wonderful feeling (an emancipation of sorts) not having to stalk the weather forecast on the daily. No doubt, the weather can be a nasty wild card (heat, humidity, wind, heavy rain, etc.). Especially in the final weeks of training, with those remaining long runs to finish, things can get a little tense and stressful if Momma N isn't playing nice. Having all that weather-stalking nonsense behind me is wonderful.
Having the big race in the rearview mirror also allows for much more flexibility with cross-training. Although I cross-train year-round, I do scale-back some things to allow for more devoted time to running (and recovery between runs). Having the finish line behind me gives me the freedom to take on new challenges without the fear of it impacting a busy racing schedule.
And, in case you thought I was hanging up the running shoes, rest assured I still have some races on the roster. I have the Living History Farms Run (November 11th), a 5-mile cross-country endeavor (including some stream crossings) to look forward to. That's not all - just this week, I spontaneously registered for this weekend's Spooky Sprint (I'm doing the 10K). My fitness is in prime condition, and my legs have had a week of recovery, so why not sneak in another new-to-me adventure?