Monday, May 5, 2014

Embracing the Suck

It's been a month since the AR50 and I think I am finally, just now, almost fully recovered.  It's been a terrific month, full of very easy-paced (though I would argue, not easy) running and some lovely trail time with UltraIronHubs.  Just this week, on one of my runs, my legs felt wonderful and fresh - the first time I've felt like that in what seems like a very long time.  It's official:  I'm old and recovery just ain't what it used to be!

My next race includes some hurdling.
While I don't feel particularly spry and energetic, I do feel as ready as I'm capable of being for my next race, the Gold Rush 100K, which is coming up this Saturday, May 10th.  *gulp!*

So that means it's time to talk about what happened last year.  I signed up for the inaugural Gold Rush pretty much as soon as I heard about it.  It was perfect timing on my schedule and I was totally amped about running another ultra.  Training went really well.  I won't say that I was completely prepared, though, because I really didn't pre-scout the course much, but I was doing plenty of mileage and I felt great.  The only things I worried about were the time cutoff and the weather.  The time cutoff was aggressive, which meant that I was going to have to run my absolute best or miss it, and the weather was predicted to be an unusually blistering 95+ degrees.  You know I don't do well in the heat.  It's my own fault, of course, since I rarely make myself train in the heat, but still.  As is my usual MO, I fretted endlessly and I gotta admit, my confidence was not at an all-time high race morning.

It ended up being the perfect storm of sucking:  the weather was brutal, my nerves were stretched too thin, and I went out too fast to try and catch that cutoff.  I was crying, dehydrated, puking, and more than just a little delirious from heat exhaustion when I missed the time cutoff at Mile 44.  DNF.

So why the hell did I sign up again this year?  In a word, redemption.  I want this finish.  I deserve this finish.  And here's how I'm going to get it:

  • I recruited UIH to run with me.  Company is good when the trail gets lonely, and UIH is the best company ever!
  • I trained waaaaaaaay more miles.  (Was that even a complete sentence?  The grammar is atrocious.)  My recovery/cutback/I'm-feeling-lazy base mileage recently is what my super peak training used to be last year.  My legs have a whole lot of miles on them and they can totally handle this.
  • I... wait for it...  actually trained in the heat.  I know you're shocked.  Believe me, so am I.  In fact, I didn't even set out to do heat training, it just sort of happened.  Which is why it's been so successful, because you know I wouldn't make myself do that shit if I didn't have to.  My schedule is so freakin' crazy lately with lots of clients - this is NOT a complaint!  I love being busy! - and I've found myself squeezing in my own training later and later in the day.  Plus I have a running client who can only meet in the afternoons and evenings, so I've even been running some doubles.  Suddenly, I find myself running comfortably in temperatures above 75 degrees.  Who knew that was even possible?
  • I trained on the actual course.  Nothing beats knowing what's coming on race day.  I've seen every single mile of this course, and none of it made me cry.  So I got that going for me!
  • The Gold Rush RD gave me an extra hour to finish this year.  Okay, they actually gave everybody an extra hour.  I suspect they were a little disappointed with the 81 finishers out of 250+ starters last year.  Ya think?

So far, the weatherman is predicting a high of 85 on Saturday, which means that I am predicting my fifth ultramarathon finish.  Woo hoo!

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Good luck at Gold Rush! You can do it for sure this time. I've enjoyed following your blog about running the trails around Folsom Lake, which I've done for 30 years now. Just short stuff though.
p.s. you are not allowed to complain about being old yet. :)
Let me talk to you about that sometime. :)