Seriously, this question is haunting me these days. I keep thinking back to the last 3 months and then back to the last 4 years – I never was so under-trained before. I have a "thing" for working hard and been able to control what I can. Just as I mentioned in a previous post, I just had to look up what had been happening since after WS100.
Week1 – 22 miles, 6 M longest
Week2 – 86 miles in WY (wow, but about third of it was pure hiking, although when I do long runs in the Gorge, I hike long steep uphills just as well as in an ultra, so count it in)
Week 3 – 63 miles, longest 15M (plus 2x13M)
Week 4 – 67 miles, longest 30M, added speed work
Week 5 – 44 miles, yes to speedwork, but injury on Sunday
Week 6 – 0
Week 7 – 40 miles, over half of it cross-training (yes, I count it as total time divided by an input effort corresponding to pace and get adjusted miles, I learned it from Bob Glover, my first coach in NYC).
Week 8 – 57 miles, 12 M longest, ran 2/3 of total weekly distance
Week 9 – 60 miles, back to speedwork, no long run (Seattle/CCC trip)
Week 10 – 92 miles, 2 long runs (due to first been on Monday that substituted previous’ week’s) of 20 and 27 miles, 2x speedwork
Week 11 – 70 miles, 2x speedwork, 2 medium runs (16 and 15M)
Week 12 – 37 miles, speedwork. Actually, my Sunday’s run went very well, but it was only 10 miles – apparently, I am tapering. Time flies.
It’s race week now. It is freakishly scary to think about it. It’s not only “not enough training runs”. It is also a fear of toeing the starting line. Every since I started running, I raced often. The distance of the race grew with time, but the quantity stayed. This is the first time I had a full 3 months without anything that I could roughly call a race. I have jitters that are not pretty.
And even that is not all. After WS 100 I lost quite some confidence. And now I am pretty much setting myself up for another “not so wonderful” performance.
But I got my Ultrarunning magazine yesterday. And had been reading articles. And re-living all those finishes I did have in the last few years. Somebody said a great thing in one of the movies about WS100: you get this high feeling, that lasts, and lasts, and lasts…Couldn’t put it any better. I can still feel that high, and I have an urge to experience it again.
Any time I need a boost – I just look back. No matter how horrible and miserable I felt during a 100, crossing that finish line is one of the sweetest moments, second sweetest after having babies. There was a reason I compared my first 100 miler with pregnancy and labor. How you carry that baby carefully, eat right, try not to get sick, plan so much around it…then it’s anticipation time, I am not sure I can handle the labor, not to mention the baby itself when it’s ready…then you start, slowly and quite painless at first, you think – what the heck were they talking about?, and more pain comes, you push through, concentrate on breathing, simple things: in-out, left foot-right foot…you need help, you grab your partner’s (or whomever is around) hand and you scream and swear and sweat and it hurts, life is unfair to you so much!...time goes, you know you are almost done, so you gather your last strength and push…and there it is, sweet little tiny body, your own, doesn’t mean a squat to anybody else in the whole world, but so much to you…and you cry, tears streaming down your face, and promise to love and cherish it, and never go through the process again… yet willing to see another one rather soon.
I went for a short trail run today. No music, no watch, no water bottles, no pre-set direction. Joy filled my heart. I love running. Sometimes I wonder if I do – always training for something, always pushing it, tired, wanting to sleep, busy, forgetting to do dishes and crashing in bed before Oleg has a chance to even say “good night”. But today was one of those runs when you sharply realize – it’s that simple. I LOVE RUNNING. Often I surprise myself with how much it means to me and how intense the feeling is. Big race, small race, tough fight for a time or a place, pleasure careless jog, road, trail, planned or not – this me, this is who I am, this is what I do, it hurts to think about it and not to think about it – it’s so raw, so pure, so small and so grand.
I love running.