Who doesn't love a good taper? When I first started running I absolutely hated them! I felt like I wasn't working to my full potential but as I have been training I have learned to take them in and soak them up. Taper runs are great for letting your body relax, but I also like to use them to work on speed. I had a 13 miler to do, and while I was still a few weeks out from the Chicago Half Marathon, I thought it would be a good idea to see how much I could push myself in the 13 miles. Typically when I run, if I feel great on the way out I'll have a rough run back in...or vice versa. This run though actually proved me wrong. I think given all of the strength training I had been doing I was able to push through this 13 and come in on a strong finish.
So much so that in the last mile of my run I had an older guy racing me. I had gotten to the .5 of my mile, or so. And this guy pulls in front of me (like works himself up to a pace that is fast enough to pass me and then pulls in front of me only to slow down.) I was peeved by this....enough that I decided I would speed up and pass him but I held my pace, like a respectable runner should do. This guy must not have liked that though because he tried to pull ahead of me again. Something in me was not having this AT ALL so I picked up again and we found ourselves shoulder to shoulder...racing to the end. Neither of us had to say anything to one another but we both knew. My competitive nature really was getting the best of me and I pushed everything I had in me to the water fountain. I beat him out and it felt so good. We didn't make eye contact after that, but we parted ways and I went home feeling like a badass.