There was a moment last night, maybe about 3/4 of a mile long, where I was running down the new trail on Pisgah and everything felt right, and the decision was made that the training has indeed been worth it.
The sun was very low and I was on the eastern side of the hill, but there was still enough light that I could see the leaf-covered trail. My gait felt light, strong, earth-covering, and the nagging descent-anxiety was gone. It seemed to have been replaced by a sense of rating/precision and (at least the perception of) refound confidence. I do not believe it's enough to add up to a 50 mile run on Sunday, but reaping the benefits of a little increased fitness is still good.
Two of the thoughts, among many, from the prolonged moment, include:
1) The ability to half-half or full halt at any moment, while maintaining unhindered forward momentum, like when riding jumpers.
2) Lynn Jennings' words, via Rosalea, about "dancing down the trail" on descents.
And now the first 50 mile attempt, my second ultra race, my fourth ultra distance, is less than a week away. I now spend my day watching that 10 day forecast like it's a bad movie, and allowing its melodramatic displays to toy with my emotions...! My official pre-race thought is that it'll be better to dnf at 50 miles than to have merely attempted 50k.
It's gorgeous outside, again...out I go... Peace!