-On My Mind
It's almost been a post graduate degree in endurance: 4 years ago I was training for Badwater (and an ensuing Angeles Crest 100). I had begun to step outside the basic desires of doing well in 50k's and 50 milers and begun looking at course records on the biggest stages: Death Valley, Angeles Crest, and assorted domestic and foreign dreams. I knew my chances of doing something epic right off the bat was low at the onset, but my goals weren't impatient adamant immediate accomplishments, rather admittedly hard, exhausting, painful tests of grit, determination and patience. If I had ran a brilliant 2010 Angeles Crest with only a month of on course training, I don't know what the event would mean to me today. Instead the painful, exhausting, limping 23 hour finish motivated me to train harder and study the course more.
In 2011 I got lucky when Jorge who was on pace for a 18 hour finish started to blow up and crawl to Newcomb Saddle (mile 68) where I took the lead as he took a seat to let his toasted organs cool off. My first time winning a 100 miler motivated me, but not in a hunger for more glory or praise, but to win in a time that was fitting of an inspiring course. The truth is that I really love running fast on the AC course, and the dream of doing every mile fast is incredibly alluring. It's a strange thing to have a goal of running fast on a course, and have to accept slow days in training due to the sheer volume. Some days I feel a strong belief in my abilities and improvements, and others are depressing realizations that 100 miles is really far and I'm never nearly as invincible as I believe I need to be. The answer to "why I do it" is that there's a rewarding feeling in doing something impossibly hard and finding a way to make progress.
All this relative "success" in running a ton of miles faster and stronger than I ever has before hasn't been simple. I liken 100 milers to chess matches that require you to be constantly thinking ahead while dealing with the momentary issues of eating, running, navigating. Similarly, my training has been a challenging maze of racing, rest, high mileage, cross training, long trips, and nutrition. I'm generally really greedy with my time on this planet, I hate the mere thought of wasting even a Monday doing less than I can with my limited time on earth. Every week I play out scenarios in my mind of doing more training, hitting up different terrain, and keeping my body functioning. I gradually get a little bit better at squeezing more out of myself, and I get a little bit faster. I'm not a brilliant self-coach and my body is not ridiculously gifted, I'm just patiently persistent in believing that I'm going to improve and I'm going to reach my goals someday.
June 10-16: 150.9mi, 26hr27m, 33,903ft
60 miles Monday-Thursday, then 32, 30, and 28 miles on the AC course finishing strong with a 4:40-ish last 25 from Chantry to the Finish. Huge confidence booster, and also hugely exhausting with GI problems from eating too much cheese.. When in doubt, eat less dairy.
June 17-23: 119.6mi, 19hr, 22,307ft
The week before was humbling, and I found myself fighting to scrape together 45 miles from Monday-Thursday. Friday I did the mild 20 miles of Buckhorn to Chilao in hopes of running strong on Saturday. Unfortunately I didn't have much firepower on Saturday for the first 25 from Wrightwood to Islip and could only scrape together a 4:45 (a good 24 minutes off the course record). I suppose the record was set on fresh legs, I just wanted to be a little closer to the standard. It was a good reminder to get back to doing more climbing and to be ready for the long and steep early climbs in the race. I'll be sure to sharpen my climbing speed from now until August. Sunday went well and I ran with Jorge putting Islip to Chilao away in my planned splits of 48 and 80 for Williamson and Cooper Cyn and then nailing faster splits of 38, 56, and 35 for the segments to Chilao. Tired! Ready for a WS pacing vacation ;)
Check out my Strava page for all the GPS data.
Chillwave. Sort of like running hard when you're tired.