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April 10, 2006

Taper Time

(If it seems like I'm writing about rainbows a lot, that's because it's STILL raining just about every day here. Just thought it was worth mentioning...)

Throughout the day on Friday I had developed this unsettling sense of foreboding about my scheduled long run the next morning. Our weather forecasters had been talking all week long about an arriving storm on Saturday morning, and as late as Friday afternoon they weren’t budging off that prediction.

This past weekend was three weeks before Big Sur, meaning I had to do one of my longest training runs, and Sunday morning wasn’t an option. Given that I had already bailed out on the previous weekend’s scheduled long run, I couldn’t really blow off two weeks in a row without my confidence going into a tailspin. So Saturday’s scheduled run was more or less non-negotiable.

And it looked like I would be doing it in the rain again. I can’t say I was excited about the prospect.

Then just before dinner, my 4-year-old daughter was standing at the window and shouted, “Hey! Come see the rainbow!” We all ran over, and this is what we saw:

The picture doesn’t really do it justice. The colors were more deep and prominent than anything I’ve seen in a long time, and the sunlight around it took on a hundred different shades of white and yellow. It was one of those moments where you stop whatever you’re doing and take it all in, because you know the beauty is just as fleeting as it is impressive.

It was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits. I went to bed with a glimmer of optimism that perhaps the storm would pass more quickly than expected during the night.

The following morning four of us met at the finish line of the Big Sur Marathon, and ran down and back on the course we will be racing less than three weeks from now. We covered 23 miles, kept a steady pace through Carmel Highlands (the most difficult hills at miles 21-23 of the course), and picked up the pace for the final miles.

Best of all, my optimism from the previous night proved accurate. The rains that had been promised never showed up. It was a spectacular morning on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

The run was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits. The miles were tough, but with each passing one I could feel my confidence for race day building. And when we finished, we all had the satisfaction of knowing that the hardest training was now behind us.

Usually the tapering period arrives like a rainbow after the storminess of running high mileage for several weeks. It reassures you that things are happening as they are supposed to, and gives a sense of optimism about the task ahead.

My spirits are lifted. The training storm is over. Race day approaches.


backofpack 4/10/06, 2:18 PM  

We've been getting some spectacular spring rainbows too. I'm glad the weather turned beautiful for you and that your run went so well.

matt 4/10/06, 3:12 PM  

i am getting excited for you, donald. i am not even competing, but i can't wait for your raceday to arrive. enjoy your taper.

susie 4/10/06, 4:03 PM  

So glad your long run went so well. It's a sign! Now relax...

olga 4/10/06, 4:10 PM  

The rainbow is awesome, and so was your run!

Anne 4/10/06, 5:05 PM  

Good omen. And it sounds like a lot of us Californians had unexpectedly good runs this past weekend. Here's to rainbows. Enjoy the taper.

robtherunner 4/10/06, 5:19 PM  

I would like to say I feel sorry for you Californians having to deal with the rain, but I am from Washington.

A friend from the Y-run club will be running Big Sur as well in her quest to become a marathon maniac. She just ran the Yakima marathon on April 1st and then will run Big Sur and then Capital City on May 21st.

Darrell 4/10/06, 10:24 PM  

After reading this I may consider another CA marathon. I don't want to miss out on the coastline you speak of. I'm glad the run went well for you.

angie's pink fuzzy 4/11/06, 6:39 PM  

beautiful rainbow, beautiful run :)

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