It’s finally race weekend! Thank you for riding along with me on this 14-week training journey in preparation for the 2017 Wings for Life World Run in Santa Clarita, CA! It has been a fruitful exercise for me to recap my progress running each week. For those of you who prefer to binge read your blogs, feel free to start at the beginning way back on February 5th:
- Base Phase: Wk|14, Wk|13, Wk|12, Wk|11, Wk|10,
- Volume Phase: Wk|9, Wk|8, Wk|7, Wk|6, Wk|5,
- Fine Tuning Phase: Wk|4, Wk|2, Wk|3,
Just looking at all of my pictures from the last 3 months, I’m reminded how fortunate I have been to train with such a positive mentality, healthy body, and beautiful surroundings. The WFL race format has a rolling finish line in that a “Catcher Car” lags behind the start of the race, gradually increases it’s speed, ending your race when it passes by. Using an online distance predictor, I calculated that a pace of 6:27/mile should buy me 40.4 miles. Before I get to my race goals and expectations, let’s first see how this week of tapering shaped up…
After taking two full days off from running, I tested my Achilles on the way to work. To be honest it was never a big deal, just a reminder to be cautious and keep my eye on the big picture. Big thanks go to Julia for reinforcing my confidence, in that, taking two full rest days is likely a blessing in disguise, forcing me to taper and feel rejuvenated for race weekend.
I keep noticing Colorado flags as I run. When you do a destination race (WFL is in Santa Clarita, CA), there is a certain gravitas around representing your home, your state, your proving grounds.
“They viewed challenges in a positive light — as opportunities to grow — and overcame them thanks to a “never satisfied” attitude.”
After work, I planned for my last good effort before Sunday’s race: I usually call it a TT, short for Time Trial, however, David Roche coined it, Power Hour. One hour of high quality running as the final workout before a distance race. I covered 10-miles in 1:00:46. Satisfied. Felt good, not great. Achilles was unnoticeable. I’m delighted.
Then, I ran into this jewel on my cool down run home.
Julia was guest leading the November Project Denver edition with Birdie and Fluid, so I tagged along for a double workout. It was a chilly morning of running around the Capital Building, though the vibe was warm and camaraderie infectious.
Here’s what Wednesday AM looked like back in Golden.
PlayGldn, coffee shop edition. It was a beautiful morning to spend quality time with friends. I didn’t want it to end. I’m so fortunate for our crew and mornings like these where we hug, sweat, smile, laugh, and chat all before the workday starts.
Throughout the workday, I had a swiftness to my steep and my breathing felt crisp. I’m so ready to race.
In three months of training, I’ve never thought about what a bad race might look like. Sure it’s possible that during the race I could get injured, or show up with lead-legs, or get smoked by some Kenyans, but none of that is in my control, so why dwell on it?
I’ve made my own goals. They started out completely arbitrary: I have never raced 6:30/mile pace for a marathon, let alone for 40+ miles. Yet as my training unfolded, the vision became clearer, and the goal, my goal, has been tugged within reach.
- Win. Nice Guy Disclaimer: it’s stupid to say this because you never know who’s gonna show up. Though, here’s the reason why I want to win: each location winner gets to run the following year’s WFL race in the location of their choice! Norway? South Africa? Austria? Japan? (There is no confirmation that this is the current prize, though I’m sticking with it)
- Endure for 40+ miles. Judging by past results, 40 miles would put me on the first page of finishers, top 25 in the world. 40 seems to be a breaking point for most men in the race, so I’d be pleasantly pleased with 41.
- Checkpoints. Half Marathon at 1:23, Marathon at 2:50, 50k at 3:20.
- Feel great. The whole time. The last 3 months of WFL training have been the most productive, consistent, & reassuring running I’ve ever experienced. It makes me confident in my potential and surprised to learn that I don’t have to run through pain to be a runner.
- Anything else. Yeah, I’m not too picky. If I crash and burn, throw up at mile 2, or get caught at mile 20, it won’t get me down in the dumps. I’ve already accomplished so much that a bad race won’t change me, my dedication, my motivation, or my love for health and exploration.
Game Plan: Push the start line to later in the race. Try to run relaxed and mindless through the first two-thirds of the race. Not dogging it, but rather sustaining mental and physical energy until kicking it into “race” gear in the final third. In the final third: take the lid off, run downhill, pick off the waning competition, empty the tank!
Apparently, there’s a live webcast of the race on www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com. Julia and I will be starting at 4AM PDT in Santa Clarita, CA on Sunday morning. We understand if you only catch the final miles of our adventure, as you sip your morning coffee! I’m bib 31048.
While my eye is on the prize at the WFL World Run, I’m excited for my next training block, albeit a short one. I’ll have a condensed 4 week period to prepare for a tough, local trail 50k race, the Golden Gate Dirty 30. I’m excited to jump into a different training stimulus., but how do I regain my climbing legs? Jump rope? Stair stepper? We’ll see how quickly my “desire” to train bounces back after WFL. I’m hoping that by focusing on different stimuli rather than straight mileage, I won’t be subject to the pounding of running and will give my body a fighting chance to recover.
Endurance Changes Time,