Monday, May 6, 2013

The Question

This was to be a big training weekend as I prepare for the Inaugural Cayuga Trails 50-mile race.  I took Friday off from work and planned to run 30 miles in the CVNP. However life got in the way and I completed 10 miles Friday afternoon and planned the 30 mile run for Saturday.

Friday’s run went well except for the fact that I fell not once, but twice, within 10 minutes of each other!  I usually will stumble or trip at least once per run, but rarely go down. Both falls drew blood and afterwards, my daughter gave me a rap name of “‘lil tumbler”.  The trails were in great shape and the weather nearly perfect.

I planned the following route for Saturday’s run:  Start at Boston Store and run out and back to Snowville road on the Buckeye Trail. Then take the Brandywine Falls loop for another 5, then out and back on the Buckeye Trail to Pine Lane for ~8.5 more.  Then out and back towards Snowville again until I hit 3.75 miles.  This would give a bit of a cushion for the 30 total miles.  Note: Having my garmin available was real nice for this…

My goals for the day were simple:  Remain upright ( especially after Fridays fall-fest) and cover the distance.

Weather again was perfect and I started on the trail.  As I descended from the parking area at Blue Hen Falls, I said “Hi” to a dad and his two small children as they were hiking up the hill back to their car. As I passed, the daughter said to her dad, “Daddy, why is that man running?”  I laughed to myself and then thought of my two standard answers: “Running is cheaper than therapy” and “It feels so good when I stop”.  However, I then thought to myself, “Why AM  I running?”  I figured I had 30 miles to come up with an answer and it would keep my mind occupied as I ran.

Here are 4 of the reasons:
  •  The Challenge
  • The Conditioning
  • The Camaraderie
  • The Contentment

The Challenge:
I have always liked to push myself a bit to see how far I can go and what I can withstand.  Riding my bicycle across America and completing the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon are two examples of this. Ultra Trail running has its challenges with the trail, weather, bugs, nutrition, etc. that make each event different.  It is not a matter of ‘if’ something will go wrong, but “when” something will go wrong.  How well I deal with these problems is the ‘fun’ part.  Life is this way too…   An example was at 14 miles I started feeling really bad. Usually I have a bad zone between 25-30 miles but this was early. I realized that the nice weather had tricked me into thinking that I was not sweating. I was sweating but it was evaporating fast.  The white power on my arms and white streaks in my blue shirt were evidence of this. I started drinking more water and eventually pulled out of my funk.

The Conditioning:
I do not want to get fat!  Too many obese people causing too many health issues…most of which can be avoided.  The other part of conditioning for me is ‘fear’.  Fear of failure.  If I sign up for an event, I want to complete it well. I know that I will not win anything, but I do want to complete the event with a  respectable effort.  If I sign up and then show up without adequate preparation, that is just foolish…

The Camaraderie:
This one is strange for me since I am an introvert at heart.  However, The trail running community in NE Ohio is amazing.  There are some really great people and it is enjoyable to share the trails and have that common bond of being trail runners.  I do not run with people often, but it is nice to have company once in a while.  I usually find myself alone during my race events, so training alone gives me practice. (See conditioning above)  If I always relied on a group to keep me going and I found myself alone during a race, what would happen?  So much of distance running is mental, we need to know how to ‘just keep going.’

The Contentment:
Being on the trail, in the woods, listening to the wood-peckers pounding and the birds calling, it is so good.  Being on the trails, with the snow or rain falling, or the mud sucking the shoes off of your feet is also good.  I am thankful that I have the ability to do these crazy things and I have to keep reminding myself of this every time I start to feel bad during a run. (See mental above)

There were lots of other thoughts swirling through my head during the 30 miles, but they will stay there for now.

It was a good weekend of training.  10 miles Friday, 30.5 miles Saturday, 6 mile hike with Denise Sunday!  Confidence is building for June 8.

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