The Road To 50k: Taper Time

We are now less than two weeks out from race day and my highest-mileage weeks of this training season are officially behind me. I topped out at 50.1 miles for the week of March 18-24, which included Saturday’s 21-miler. My calves were a little on the stiff and sore side after last Tuesday’s speed workout, so I intentionally tried to take things easier for the remainder of the week. I still managed to run my 21-miler at an average pace of 8:06 per mile, which is pretty damn close to the 8:03/mi pace I ran 20 miles on the previous Saturday. Although I was originally aiming for 22 miles on Saturday, I’m more than happy with the way things ended up. It is a little humbling to think that I’ll have 10 full miles to go after hitting mile 21 on April 6, though.

My run-specific Strava data through March 24, 2019.
My run-specific Strava data through March 24, 2019.

And now … it’s time to taper. I’m feeling strong but the mileage is definitely starting to catch up with me. I substituted my normal Monday run with a sports massage and some low-impact spinning today. I’ll play tomorrow’s speed workout by ear, too. When race day is this close, the most important thing is to maintain. I’m not going to get any faster or fitter between now and April 6, after all.

In terms of things that I can’t control … it’s raining in Cincinnati again today, with more rain predicted over the next seven days. I’m very curious to hear how this weather has impacted the course for the Mohican 50k. If waters are as high as I suspect they are, I’m hoping the river crossing is removed from the course again this year. While my training has included both running and biking/spinning, I definitely haven’t been working on my swimming in preparation for this race!

Finishing the Leadville Heavy Half in June of 2018. The struggle was real.
Finishing the Leadville Heavy Half in June of 2018. The struggle was real.

I’m equal parts nervous and excited about race day. I’ve previously mentioned that my trail runs have been extremely few and far between over the last two months … and that could come back to bite me on race day. I’d like to believe that I have enough base fitness to carry me through this race, though. I “fun” ran the Leadville Heavy Half last summer after taking more than a monthlong break from running to recover from an injury. I had almost no base fitness and was at least 15 pounds overweight on race day and I still survived those 15.68 miles and 3,241 feet of vertical gain … and all at elevation. My finishing time sucked, but I finished. The Mohican 50k is twice as long and somehow actually has MORE elevation than Leadville’s climb up to Mosquito Pass … but at least the start line won’t be at 10,150 feet of elevation in Ohio! According to Ultrarunning.com, the Forget the PR Mohican 50k has an average finishing time of 6:57:14 for male participants, so this is definitely going to be a long day. My finishing time will probably suck and may even fall closer to 8 hours, but as long as I finish this first 50k I’ll have an automatic PR, right?

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