Today, I ran 24 km (15 mi). I'm not going to say it was an easy run. The first 12-14km was pretty easy going, the next few were still strong, and I had to fight for the last 5 or so. Truthfully, I really wanted to stop at about 20km, but I wanted the knowledge that I could do it. I kept going, managed to negative split overall and my final kilometer was the fastest yet.
This wasn't my best long run of this cycle. A 22km run about a month ago gets that honour. That run was one where I felt invincible.
Now that I'm only two weeks out from my race, the game changes somewhat from being a physical game to a mental one. There isn't much more I can do to improve my fitness. I have to trust that I've already done that. Now, I need to ensure I don't lose any and try to enter my race in a rested, but ready state.
Part of the mental challenge for me is the fact that I don't get to do any more runs that exceed the distance of the race. Those runs have been a huge confidence builder for me. I know that, eventually, I won't be able to train over the distance in running, but at the half marathon level, it's still possible.
Mentally, it would be great to do one of these long runs a couple days before the race. Mentally, having that reminder of my ability so close to the race would do wonders for my confidence.
Physically, it would be stupidity to actually do it. The cost of the mental boost would be to enter the race in an exhausted state, so it's just not going to happen.
I can't bottle that feeling. But, I can hang onto the memory and knowledge of it.