Monday, October 26, 2009

Hitting A Trail Caldesac

It dawned on me that I never posted a picture of my 50K cowbell, so here it is.

I started out 2009 with a certain idea and goal in mind. Training for the 50k as a strong base that would catapult me into some fairly fast shorter races and perhaps even a few new PRs.

I figured staying off the roads for most of my running would ward off injuries and not only tone up the core muscles but put me in great shape for a few road races. In the end I had hoped to be peaking for the Bradbury Trail Series.

In my mind it seemed like a straight trip, bee-lining to speedy races. or perhaps more like a pyramid with the winter running and 50k being the large base of it then progressing to a point as the summer turned to fall, thus reflecting my peak.

With all that behind me, I have some time to reflect. I didn't really reach the speedy finishes I hoped for but still had a pretty good year. Though I did have numerous surgeries that slowed me down at times, I actually had no injuries other than the normal aches and pains.

The suprising thing in the end was the trip. Instead of a staight line or even a pyramid, I realized if my 2009 running and racing was laid down flat on a map, it would be much more like a trail caldesac or a protrayal of a lost person in the woods with no compass.

I started out determined with a certain vision in mind. I felt as though I was traveling straight and during the trip would have stated ademately that I was heading point to point. Instead, I meandered for a while then without realizing it, I came full circle.

It was as though I set out to climb this great mountain The signs kept stating "summit this way" It sure seemed like I was climbing up and that the summit was just around the next corner, but suddenly I ended up back at the trail head with out ever reaching my goal.

I did pretty good all year but never quite made it to great. So, here I am contemplating my late fall and winter running, gearing up for long slow distance and thinking back to this same time last November as I came off a fairly large surgery.

I am almost in the exact same place as last November. It went by so fast and I feel now that I didn't take enough time to enjoy the moments. Other than the 50k I don't feel anything else stands out over the rest. They were all just a bunch of fun races
that were more like training runs used as stepping stones while I headed toward the great race......only the great race never happened.

Perhaps I didn't put in enough effort, I should have pushed harder at those key races. Is it possible that training for long slow distance has changed my racing attitude? Maybe I no longer possess that drive to hindge on the edge of oxygen deficit.

The two years I ran my fastest races, I trained for speed in every run. I was so used to running on the edge, that it seemed natural. Even in my long runs I didn't slow things down, I still ran at the edge. I also had chronic injuries during that time and because of that, my only enjoyment when running was at the finish line.

I embraced the suffering days after the race as a trophy of my accomplishments. Because I didn't train properly for my body to recover, I was in pain constantly.
I am sure I was not training right and feel that I have a much better handle on it now. Do I have to give up that speed as payment for feeling good and enjoying my runs?

Again that is exactally what I said last November and that is when I thought the long slow distance training for the 50k was the answer that would give me both pain free enjoyment and eventual speed.

Right now I am not in a hurry to critique this delema as I plan to enjoy some great fall running with no goals other than gaining as much enjoyment as possible. It seems the best place to allow my brain to solve this is on a nice long easy trail run.

easy run with the Mrs. who by the way ran at a pretty fast clip beating her best time by a couple seconds.
2.5 miles @ 26:57 (10:47 pace)


I hit the road early in hopes of beating the heaviest rain while still geting in at least an hour of running. It was a cold rainy start, yet I was enjoying the run from the first step onto the road. I opted out of trail running today as it was youth hunting day.

I decided to just run whatever felt comfortable and left the garmen home (though I did wear the Nike as a timer and to show splits) I felt great on this run and the splits show that. I was however looking forward to a nice hot shower when I finished.
There is something to be said for an easy road run as I didn't have to think about foot placement and obstructions, so my brain was allowed to wander for a while.

9.8 miles @1:28:42 (9:04 pace)

9:38 (Oakhill)
8:02 (7:30 kick)


Drusy said...

Wow, that's a really different race medal Kevin! Very cool. And despite your circuitous path, I think you managed it just right this year. Congrats!

chris mcpeake said...

man where the heck can I get one of those!!

vja said...

Really lots of thought here. It seems like you have the ability to retain all the great thinking that goes on during a run. I have always wished for a brain-recorder for just such purpose!