Monday, August 10, 2015

Be a Candle, Not a Book of Matches

Summer is drawing to a protracted close.  In the Red River Valley school has started back up for the ‘15-16 year.  The heat lingers.  My training for the inaugural Rough Trail 50k has begun.  We’re fifteen weeks out now.  Despite my latest self-destructive streak I do feel really good going into this training stretch. 
For the next four months I plan on putting in more miles running than on the bike, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be riding.  Over the past two years when I’ve been running-intensive I’ve hit training walls—burn out and break down—so I don’t want to stable the bikes outright.  It might be that substituting some of my base mileage on the bike might be just the ticket to keep the momentum going.
Also, in the interim I have scheduled the Iron Horse half (registered) and the Cloudsplitter 100 (25k version) to keep me on track.  I want a half marathon PR at the Iron Horse but otherwise I have no speed expectations.  If I do Cloudsplitter it will just be for fun, and Rough Trail is going to simply be about finishing my first 50k.  If it goes well I might look to the 2016 Yamacraw 50k from a performance standpoint.  Likely I’ll never be competitive at that distance, so finishing will be a noble enough gesture for me.
Saturday I took my first real RT specific training run.  It was ten miles of tough hills.  I really needed twelve, but we had intended to also do the Midsummer Night’s Run in Lexington that night.  If you’ll remember last year…by the time I lined up for the 5k I had already run twenty miles in less than twenty-four hours. 
Last minute Bean decided she wanted to do the Fastest Kid in Town instead of the 5k.  I didn’t bemoan the lost running opportunity.  I felt a little run down.  But to be perfectly honest my recent long, tough runs have not resulted in the normal beat downs I used to take.  I’ve been able to walk away from them and function later in the same day and over the next day.  Progress…right?
The short story there is that she came in dead last in her heat (8 yo girls), but I assured her that she has always been a distance runner and not a sprinter, that if she wants to win sprints she’ll need to train for sprinting.  She seemed okay with that. 
She did have fun.  She met another girl her age and they slummed around waiting for the race to start.  At one point I saw the two of them doing pushups.  Not sure why…but whatevs.
On my run Saturday I knew I’d have five heartbreaking climbs in ten miles so I knew I couldn’t try and KOM any of them.  I needed to hold back on the climbs and open up where it was flat.  I kept thinking back to the cycling analogy of burning all your matches too soon.  By thinking that way, watching my heartrate, and intentionally pushing when it was prudent to do so I had a really good run.  I still didn’t break any records.  My overall pace was slow (for me), but in the end I felt good.
This past week my long run was supposed to be twelve miles and I ran ten.  Next week is fourteen.  I’ve got to step it up seriously and stay on track.  Letting my long runs flag has undone me in the past (Yamacraw).
While out on my run I pondered my book.  It doesn’t seem finished.  The whole Leadville or Bust story seems like it needs a grand resolution.  There needs to be a belt buckle in the end.  So maybe I’m just not finished with acting out the story, and that’s why I keep letting it go fallow instead of pushing harder to get it in print.  The story hasn’t finished so I can’t really tell it in totality.
I think next year I try to get back in. 

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