I am glad it’s almost over. My last of four “make or break 100” in a row is going to be done. Not to mention whether I call my SP50 a training run or not it still was a hell of a course. Honestly, I was dragging this week, even trails didn't excite me as much as usual. There is a reason for a 4 weeks cycle (3 – high mileage and 1 easier), but after my trip to Russia I didn’t have time for this leisure. I was slow and tired and pushing it with a quote “get ‘er done” the whole time. I kind of woke up for Wednesday, but by Thursday’s track workout died out again and made intervals 20 sec slower than regular. In fact, I was cutting a mile here and there to the point I had to put third run on Wed and run on Friday – the official day off – to make up.
On Thursday I went for a massage – I had a gift certificate. I rarely allow myself such luxury (I can count the number on one hand) and was lucky to pick a great guy. He puffed and huffed and knew his deal rather well, spotting all the knots and ties in my muscles. It was also nice just to lay flat and sense my legs overwhelmed with fatigue and tenderness.
Friday’s gym visit was fun, as I was stretching in sauna (the heat training begins!), the guy asked me if I run a lot. Not “you’re in good shape” or “you seem to exercise a lot”, but straight hit – I look like a runner! It probably helped to have lost 8 lbs in the last month due to some diet adjustments (and high miles). I can actually see my stomach muscle now! Aw, he made my day. When I responded about the distances, he wasn’t surprised with usual “I don’t like to drive that much” or “Are there such races?”, but asked for locations. He brought a suggestion for AZ and let me venture into describing Zane Grey. I felt quite energized recounting my best performance of the season.
Saturday is broken into two 2+ hr runs because Stephen has his final games and b-b-q at baseball. His team won their league! When I watched one of the games on Wed, thinking that my son is not all that good (understandably – none of us play baseball or even talk about it, it’s an American sport after all, so he joined the team fresh in, and yes, I am kind of mom who says it as it is without pep talk), he caught 2 very difficult balls and saved the game. Everybody was cheering for him, and on Sat he was awarded a special trophy for that. So, anyway, my morning run was great, I met with Gail half-way in on Wildwood and then we also bumped into lots of friends on the way back, including Tom Riley and his crew – another WS hopeful. He looked awesome, and it was fun to get excited about upcoming “one and only”. My next run is planned to be later in afternoon on local trails.
Sunday will be my last long day, and I hope to survive. Last 32M run with one hill repeat and a 26 mile loop – I anticipated this loop for awhile, but it was under the snow for long time. We meet with my crew/pacer team: Gail and Mike Bushwhacker, and Stan (who’s running WS) and his wife Maura, and be talking about preparations to upcoming “race of the year” and crew logistic/car shuttle. I was surprised this week with been included into Montrail housing project (go, Team!!) so was able to cancel my hotel reservations. Nice touch, indeed! I can definitely find a use for a few extra bucks.
As it happened before, we had a fantastic conversation over at Craig's developed from his “Life and death” post. While I won’t go into the core comments, I’d like to make a short venture into ultrarunning addition of it. As a continuation of our discussion, in the “Chatter” section of a new Ultrarunning magazine issue there is a paragraph from Anders Ericson’s NY Times article:
Most people naturally don’t like to do things they aren’t “good” at, so they often give up. But what they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better. A lot of people believe there are some inherent limits they were born with. But there is surprisingly little evidence that anyone could attain any kind of exceptional performance without spending a lot of time perfecting it.
This issue also covered a topic on “mind over matter” and “ultras are 10% physical and 90% mental”. Great read before WS100 for sure.
Next week is a taper – yay! I am ready to chill. I plan to cut down to 50-60 miles, eliminate all but 1 double-a-day and shorten speed intervals to 600m, with longest run being 3 hrs or so. Then it’s packing, looking over details and affirming my goals to my friends. If you want to have fun, you’ve gotta have goals!
And to add on – here is a comment Drew left for Donald's Dipsea race, very powerful to go by:
Have an excellent race. Push forward when you want to step back. Run harder than you think you can and faster than you think you're able. Blast through the weeds and the boughs and the sticks and the runners when you have to. Twist your ankle and move on. Scrape your legs and your arms and your face and jump forward faster and stronger. Lean forward on the uphill and swing your arms and breathe deeply of everything that brought you here. Lengthen your stride and fly on the downhills.
Run faster when it hurts and forget about what you can't do. This is your race.
Do not have fun.
I do not wish you luck.
Fun and luck have nothing to do with it in the end. You'll be pushing yourself through miles of discomfort and pain. Let the fun come afterward because come race time you'll be ready for nothing less than a battle.
A battle you won't win.
A battle you can't win.
You won't come in first, or second or 100th. You go to battle assured of loss, but you will lose less this time. And you will lose less next time. And if you lose enough, you may come to appreciate how little you've lost, and how much you've gained without ever winning.
Champions always show up for the fight.
Most champions never win.