Monday, February 1, 2016

1/25-1/31

Perhaps my favorite thing about ultrarunning is its culture. Sure, there's an argument that there's a good amount of liberal "soft-ness" as most runners are highly educated, motivated by a pursuit of transcendentalism, and generally exhibit a minimal amount of competitiveness/maximal amount of niceness with other runners in the community. There's also a conservative values that prioritize hard work and the individual enduring and toughing out a bad patch that earns ample respect among peers regardless of whether they've won or lost a big race. I suppose as someone who's ran these races for eight years, I understand and appreciate the diversity of thought and commonality of respect.

When people talk about the worry of our sport changing, I generally shrug off the topics of races filling up too fast and sponsors ruining events. If the new faces in races have an agenda of sharply breaking from the sport's central values of respect, humility, and instrinsic motivation, then the law of distance regulates their ambitions for disrespect, bragging, and monetary pursuits. Simply put, no one lasts forever running hard, long races without learning the said qualities that make running ultras sustainable.

Respect is required to develop relationships, appreciate the dificulty of races, and be able to run with a clear perception of the challenging at hand. Humility is very easy to learn, and required to allow for a career that lasts longer than a couple of bad, soul-crushing races. Intrinsic motivation is all that keeps a runner going when every pain receptor is firing making quiting seem like it is worth all the money in the world; no external motivation can keep a runner coming back each year for 15-30 hour battles of the mind and body.

That said, it's far from a vanilla sport, and outliers are the norm. I simply believe that those violating the law of distance seem to disappear or at least get drowned out in the steady stream of good people. To me, that's what ultrarunning culture is, and why it's so sustainable.

Monday: Rest, enjoyed it! I did a bit of cross training over the weekend and felt the need to rest after remembering how weak my glutes and hips are.

Thursday: 10x1min on Sullivan Ridge - I've been harping on myself to get my form back to the sound and trully athletic place that makes it possible to hit blazing splits uphill. I don't have any other workout that helps me focus on this like 10x1min, so I'm going to keep doing it until it starts to click.

Wednesday: 13 mile with Katie/Peter/Andy. Easy run from Los Leones to Trippet and back gave me a chance to focus on recovery without being bored out of my mind.

Thursday: 7 mi coyote westridge. Couldn't say I felt good after the past couple nights in the altitude tent. I initially decided to make it another recovery day, but found a burst of energy when Jimmy came by tempoing. I joined him for 15 minutes, enough to make it feel like a fair compromise for my body. 10 min cross training

Friday: Spent the afternoon running errands for work and the car, so by the time Katie was ready to go to Wrightwood, I only had time for 3 miles and some pushups and situps.

Saturday: The woeful lack of cross training seemed to possibly be the cause of a rather bland long run on the road. I accepted the state of my body in exchange for the stunning views of the San Gabriel high country. Also found out that doing my Wharton stretches for the first time in a few days doesn't save a run.

Sunday: 10x1 in the sleet. Wrightwood generally exists somewhere above or below the snowline depending on the particular storm. We started in snow at the cabin, ran intervals on the dirt road by the 2, and ended up back in snow at the cabin. I spent a good amount of time chopping wood and shoveling some heavy and wet snow, making for some demanding domestic cross training on my back.

Overall, I'm happy with January. I know I have more cross training to do this year to maintain mileage, but I feel a bit more confidence and less fear in my training goals.

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