TITLE: Beginning My Descent AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: September 27, 2004 6:13 PM DESC: Training is over. Now comes the taper. Next stop: Des Moines. ----- BODY: The major training for my second marathon has ended. Yesterday, I did my last long run in preparation for the Des Moines Marathon, which takes place on October 17. I just finished up my heaviest three weeks of running ever: 163.5 miles, including three runs of 20 miles or more (22, 24, and 20). And I even felt good at the end of yesterday's run, throwing in a 46-minute 10K at the end, which itself ended with 2 miles in 14:40. That may not be very fast, but for me it is. A big improvement over last year. Now begins the taper, those three weeks before the marathon when a runner decreases mileage, begins to rest the body, and fuels up for the race. I'll do 46 miles this week and 38 next week, but mostly slow and easy. I'll run one more speed work-out Friday and then do an 8-miler at marathon goal pace next Wednesday. Otherwise, my only goal is to enjoy my runs, let my body recover from the pounding it's taken the last few weeks, and break in a new pair of shoes for the race. That last week will include just a few short, easy runs, with a cuple of miles at marathon goal pace thrown in to preserve muscle memory. Wish me luck. Oh, while recording my mileage for last week I noticed that I'd passed a new milestone on yesterday's run: 1400 miles for 2004! I'll go over 1500 on my last jog before Des Moines. That just seemed kinda cool. -----