We're tapering in the half-marathon training group. Last week we covered the race course; this week we were only scheduled to run 8 miles. Remember when I ran 8 miles last month, and I was like "I RAN EIGHT MILES EIGHT EIGHT THAT IS A LOT OF MILES WHEEEEEE"? It felt like I had finished a Dostoevsky novel, something that was rewarding but also A Commitment. Something substantial. The next week when we ran 9 miles I felt like I had finished...I don't even know. A Pynchon novel, maybe. Something huge and frequently painful that left me saying, "No more." (NB: I have never read a Pynchon novel. Perhaps I am doing him an injustice.) But after those intervening Saturdays with 10- and 11- and 13.1-mile runs, an 8-miler feels like no big deal. A Dorothy Sayers novel, I'd say. Sure, it's 400 pages long, but it mostly races by and you know you'll close the book with a happy sigh.
This training cycle has been harder than I expected. I kept having to think, "Wait, this is another problem I have to solve. What am I going to do now?" But then it got better. This morning at 6:30 when I looked at my long run checklist to see what I had forgotten, there was nothing. Going out for a long run feels less like A Project and more like a normal Saturday thing. I think I will have a slow race next weekend, because my life is full of things besides half-marathon training and I've been more focused on injury prevention than speedwork. (Also because I'm 46 years old and untalented in the running sphere.) I feel happy, though, that I should be able to finish.