Awww yeah, I had a great week of running, and I finally feel like I’m back into the running game mentally and physically. After a few mandatory easy weeks following the Dirty 30 trail race, I’m ready to enjoy the long summer days on foot, and eager to get into a groove for the next few months of training. I consternated daily over what races I should put on my Fall calendar. Deliberating over what distance, location, surface suit me best. Salivating over my next opportunity to compete, and driven to see what I am capable of.
One aspect that I came to terms with is that I am in no hurry to achieve. I love running. I love the grind, I love the flow, I love the solitude, I love the landscapes. As much as I love racing and competing, my strength is in preparation. By taking a long term approach to races and managing my energy levels between training and peaking for race performance, I know that I will flourish as a runner for decades to come. Prior to the Wings For Life World Run (I know I link to this post every week), I had never devoted 15-weeks of training to a single race goal. At the time 15-weeks seemed like an eternity, but just like a race taken one mile at a time, training taken one day at a time adds up to a grand accomplishment and a shitload of hay in the barn. Little buds of progress would bloom each weekend. I didn’t realize that my patience, my desire, and my confidence were being sculpted among each mile of training.
I’m excited to set-in-stone, by way of this blog, that my plan is to race the Tussey Mountainback 50 as my fall “A-Race”. Tussey plays host to the USATF 50-mile road championships, which is a qualifier for the USA 100K road team which competes in the IAU 100K World Championships.
Decoding the hyperlinks of the sentence above sums up my lofty goals for the next 2 years. I want to race internationally, representing the USA in competition, and proving myself on the roads of ultrarunning. I’m still confounded by my accomplishment at the WFLWR. The more research I do into top contenders at JFK50, Mad City 100K, Comrades, and past years 100K World Championship races, the more I feel poised to compete with the top talent in the world. Say who? Say me?
Yeah obviously, I’m still riding high from my WFLWR performance, but what good is confidence, if you don’t use it as fuel? I’m reading about past 100k Championship races, calculating race splits, and getting caught up in the who’s who of 100k road running: Elov Olsson, Jonas Buud, Steve Way, Max King, Jim Walmsley. Yeah, this is an even more niche sport than ultra trail running.
Tussey is my starting point. 50-miles of crushed gravel path through Rothrock State Forest in central Pennsylvania. Sounds blissful, if you ask me.
I spent the early part of this week piecing together a training calendar for the summer and fall. Julia and I have a busy summer schedule with excursions to Montana, San Luis Obispo, Leadville, St. Louis, Crested Butte, & New England, so it is important for me to remain flexible with my training, whether it’s on roads or trail, and most of all, enjoy the process.
Evaluating my training from the Winter/Spring, I did a lot in little pieces. One more time: I did a lot in little pieces. I never felt that I was over training, or sacrificing sleep/work/life. I was consistent in road commuting miles: 10-miles per day, 50-miles per work week, long effort on Saturday. Now that it’s summer time, I need to reel myself in. There’s oodles of daylight, there’s magical trails to explore, there’s distractions that drain my mental energy and make me wish for the simple consistency of running in the winter.
If I’m to run sustainably, I can’t make an “event” out of each run. I need to just get out the door, do the work, and move on with my day. I can’t dwell on planning, coordinating, and driving to a trail head. It expends far too much mental energy.
That said, I think I found the groove this week, and am ready to ride it through the summer. I’ve been exploring trails on my commuting route (South Table Mesa), and think I can make a habit of 10+ trail miles per day.
It felt great to be back on Dino Ridge with PlayGldn. If we keep running Dino Ridge all summer long, we will all become phenomenal runners. The Ridge forces you to think about your stride, fatigue, and hot spots. It makes you find efficiency and running economy. The challenge of being consistent with training is one thing, but to get such a fulfilling workout fueled by the camaraderie of this PlayGldn squad is what’s gonna build us up for future breakthroughs.
I did feel the same abdominal tightness that I experienced in the Dirty 30 race. Also, a twinge of hip pain on my left side has me looking to add mobility and stretching/rolling into my daily routine. Back to basics. I need to take these early weeks of training to habitualize the small components toward stronger running.
Sticking with my desires to keep early season training easy, simple, and fresh. Julia and I hit up White Ranch Open Space in Golden. I’ve vied for the big loop course record for some time now, and today I demolished it. I bested the CR by 9 minutes and my personal best by 12 minutes. The weather conditions were beyond perfect. It was overcast, cool, and slightly humidity.
I felt like I was floating. I wore the Nike Wildhorse trail shoe and felt like I had rigid barriers underfoot protecting me from the rigors of pointy rocks. I spent the early week commuting miles wearing the New Balance Vazee Summit trail sneakers, and it was an incredible change of feel. The Vazee’s provide a loose and supple feel compared to the rigidity if the Wildhorse. The shoes are night and day when it comes to control and feel of the trail. The Wildhorse’s allow me to power through rough terrain, while the Vazee Summit’s pliable sole keeps me lighter and quicker, able to work the tiny, forgotten muscles in my feet. All good things.
Endurance Changes Time,
PS I can’t offer an explanation of the title of this post. I title my posts on Monday when I start contributing bits via the WordPress App. Clickbait, I suppose.