My relationship with running has been a little weird this past week. The tapering (backing off on mileage) has been an interesting mental game. I am only running 8 miles where I once did 20, only 6 where I once did 10, only 3 where I once did 5. It's not that I'm obsessed with distance, but it is a weird mental game to have increasing mileage be the goal for 16 weeks and then all of a sudden, when the strong mentality really counts, to start feeling like 8 miles is long, like 3 is enough. I have to do 26.2 miles in a week and my brain is not in that mode right now. I think the 12 miles that seemed super long at the farm might have been part of the problem. After all, 12 is less than half, but it was one of the hardest runs that I've had mentally when I had expected it to be almost easy.
Well, I did my final long run of this training yesterday, 8 miles. I found a new path in my town a few weeks ago, so after a little investigation, I mapped a new run in a neighborhood I have never had access to before, because the roads were too busy and not sidewalked (except the one path I just found). It was fun to explore something so close to home, yet so new. About 5 miles in, I decided that I felt really good, so I was going to pick up the pace a bit. It ended up being my fastest 8 mile run by a few minutes with my fastest mile times since I got my watch that keeps track of pace. It was fun to feel like I was in the zone again after a funky week. It felt awesome to be able to go faster and not need to slow back down. And I think I do have to credit the tapering for the ability to feel so fresh. I'm hoping that the next 8 days of very little running continue to refresh these legs so that I feel that good during the marathon, too.