Do you know what I learned on the 4th of July? I learned that it pays to look closely at your training schedule in Training Peaks. Open up each of the individual boxes on each day and see EXACTLY what is written so you know EXACTLY what you are in for. Think of it as being like those Advent calendars during the holidays, open up each window and see what's inside (though a cute puppy decked out in a wreath of holly and Christmas-colored bows is infinitely cuter than a workout containing any combination of Zone 4, intervals, 6 hours, run-off-the-bike).
Early in the week I merely glanced at my Training Peaks schedule. Wednesday was a medium-length ride with a run off the bike. I'd made it through weekend relatively unscathed (minus a sufferfest in the heat). I should've known something was amiss when my long run last weekend was only 90 minutes. Look at how nice Jen is being, I thought, starting my taper off nice and early by reducing my long run. Tuesday evening I opened up the Training Peaks block for Wednesday to see the details. And I did a double take. The 80 minute ride makes sense. But, a 2:30 hour run off the bike? Maybe it's a typo and actually 23 minutes. No. No, it's definitely two-and-a-half hours. Sadly, Independence Day was not an independence day from a long, hot run. Sneaky, sneaky.
I'm a master procrastinator so by the time I made it out on the run, it was almost 10am and exponentially warmer than it had been during my bike ride just a short time before. I broke the run up in my mind into 5 mile segments: the first five miles for settling in, the second five miles for picking up the pace, the next five miles let up a little bit, but still work hard, and the last few miles just hang on until my watch beeps. The first bit wasn't too bad. Even when I went by a bank at mile 8 and it was 11am and the bank sign said it was 87 degrees, it really didn't feel all that bad. The wheels stayed on and intact until about mile 14. Then they came off and the rest of the run was finished using pure grit.
I was absolutely spent the rest of the day. Did all the recovery things right (took an ice bath, drank a recovery smoothie, ate a REALLY good egg sandwich, drank alot of water and Gatorade). We made it out to a couple of bbqs but we were home by 7:30 and in bed around 9:30, and asleep at 10. The foam roller has become my new best friend (this is what happens when you do TRX 12 hours before going for a long run). I've taken care to look closely at my training schedule for the next week and I don't see any more super long runs on it. I think I can say with confidence that taper has begun and my legs are ridiculously thankful.