Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
Two weeks out from a big race, you should no longer be interested in pushing yourself too hard and trying to make big gains in training. Generally speaking, it takes about two weeks before a training routine pays dividends to your fitness, so anything you do in the last two weeks is more about maintaining a level of fitness and preventing yourself from getting soft. As a result, you run shorter distance. In the last week, you might be running as infrequently as every other day, as little as half the distance each time.
But I did have a goal: weight loss. Not that I was fat or out-of-shape, but I was looking to get lean and mean. Slimming down not only means less weight to carry around, it also means less cells sharing the oxygen you breathe, the water you drink, and the energy from the food you eat. Everything you do goes farther, literally.
On top of that, body fat is a natural insulator, meaning you stay warmer. 10 days out from the race, the obsessing over the weather forecast began, and it looked like an unseasonably warm, humid day. Temperature management would be critical, especially in the later stages of the race. The lighter one could get, the better.
It’s hard to lose weight as you exercise less. It means you have to eat a lot less. And just because you stop running so much doesn’t mean your appetite goes away. You simply have to live with feeling hungry all the time.
Friday, nine days before the race, was planned to be my last long-ish run. Until it started sleeting. The temperature was almost exactly freezing, and a strong wind brought the windchill several degrees below. It wasn’t going to be the least bit fun, and the sleet had thinking I was more likely to roll my ankle than get any kind of benefit out of the run. Took the day off.
The following day wasn’t any warmer, was rainy, and there was another UIL academic contest. Two consecutive days off, plus free food, isn’t a good formula when you’re trying to slim down. With no other choice, I went out for a run in the cold and the dark afterwards. I didn’t like it.
Only one more week of tapering, then I get to knock that race outta the park, eat whatever I want, and stay inside when the weather sucks. Looking forward to it.