Monday, February 25, 2013

2 week catch up: The 100 draws near

Today is monday, and I haven't posted for two weeks. I'm on spring break. You know you're in a midwest community college when "Spring Break." Means working, asshole deep snow, and research papers. Either way, I'll use my procrastination to catch up on the latest exciting happenings. I imagine that by now, the only traffic I'm getting is comprised of stragglers who are searching for reviews of Merrell Trail gloves.

I've barely been running. 3-4 days a week, 50-60 miles a week. This may barely seem like "barely." The overwhelming bulk of these miles have been long, leisurely weekend jogs. Monday to friday, I'm lucky to get 15 miles in. The "old man/weekend warrior" approach I once thought to be foolish has become my way lately. Want to know something? It's awesome. I don't stress out about a certain mileage number, I feel great all week, I've got energy to focus on school work and my job, and the weekend runs are essentially pain free. Last Saturday/Sunday combo consisted of back to back runs. Saturday was an easy jog in the sunshine on slippery roads near my house. I focused on relaxing and going as fast as I could without "fighting" the snow. Lean forward, stick foot to ground, lift foot, repeat.

Sunday was a bit of a risk that I knew would determine whether I was in any shape to attempt a 100miler. I haven't run much over marathon distance in a long time, but had the idea to run from Holland, MI to Grand Haven and back along the lakeshore. There's an unplowed bike path that(pretty much) makes it a straight shot. About 20 miles each way, give or take. I recruited the moral support of Ephram and Mike. They were looking for a 20 miler on sunday, so they met me in Grand Haven and jogged the second 20 miles with me. On the outbound trip, I chose to stay out of the heavy church traffic and post-hole through the snow. Ankle deep in most spots, knee deep in some, it was a really slow, arduous solo slog in the dark. About 3:40, with a running clock at stoplights, getting lost, and a bathroom break at a gas station. No Garmin, so I relied on google maps. The return trip with Mike and Ephram was much speedier since we took the road back. I was a tool and took the dry pavement since I had dead legs. Only one significant low, and it was remedied by a banana and a 24ounce miller lite from a roadside party store. I told myself that if this run went south, I'd get a hold of the Umstead RD and tell him to give my spot away. Thankfully, it went well. I won't be shooting for a front spot, but I think it will be okay. Maybe a little trepidation will teach me some respect for the task of running 100 continuous miles.

I mostly attribute the perceived ease of this run to some good company. Having Mike and Ephram pulling me along, all three of us laughing our asses off the whole way reminded me why I love ultrarunning in the first place. I didn't get into this hobbyjogging thing for medals or sponsorships. I got into it because biting off more than you can chew and seeing what you're made of is fun. It's what makes life worth living.

So, I had a 60-some mile week, and 52 of them were in two days.

The following week was...less stellar. A week of midterms, ashamedly, stressed me out and I put running on the backmost of back burners. I saved myself for the weekend, and came down with a wonderful case of food poisoning. Projectile terrors from all angles kept me in the house for two days, and I barely walked, much less ran.

As Ray Bradbury once said, "Sometimes you just have to jump out the window and grow wings on the way down." Being calculated and meticulous with training is necessary sometimes, but for my purposes, it can run the risk of making things less fun. I think this is why I gravitate toward longer, more foolhardy pursuits. One side of me thinks that running a race without giving it the utmost of dedication in training is disrespectful to the sport. The other, more dominant side feels that making things what we want them to be is more important than rules imposed by others.

A longstanding joke between some of my friends is the ridiculously simple line, "Anyone can run 100 miles if they train for it."


  1. So, the new Merrell Trail Gloves - have you tried them? Oh wait, they're not out yet. I'll check back in on your blog in a couple months... :)

    I've got a bunch of mountain races from 25K to 55 miles on my calendar for this spring/summer, but life keeps diverting my training time, and my mileage is stubbornly stuck around 30 miles/week. Luckily these mountain races are only 1/2 uphill so I should be fine with 1/2 training, right?

  2. Haven't gotten my mits on the TG2's yet, man. Sadly, I'm not the avid shoe review I used to be.

    Best of luck with the races! I might be CO bound for pacing at Leadville this Summer, so maybe I can stop off in Boulder for a Green Summit.

  3. I'm pining for the new Merrell mountain shoe based off of the Bare Access platform (coming in July). The Innov-8 TrailRoc 245 is doing a pretty good job in that role for now though.

    You should definitely swing by Boulder this summer - there are a couple new trails you need to check out. They re-opened the west ridge trail linking Bear to Green (previously closed for fire) and it's awesome. There is also a new trail (or newly legalized trail) that runs north from Flagstaff to the Red Lion restaurant in Boulder Canyon.

    1. HA! glad they opened that one up. My typical band of bandits doesn't have to turn it into a tempo run anymore!