Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Doesn't It Seem Like You Never Quite Make It?

I guess I would be the first to admit that I don't have a solid training plan and no precisely defined goals. I sometimes wonder if the reason I don't feel like I have made that last step is directly related to my lack of solid planning.

YOU-THINK? I do set goals and I do train for them individually but I don't really think long term. Perhaps that is why my year ended slightly disappointing. Is it possible that running the 50K in the spring ended up being the high lite of my year so without stepping up to something greater or at least something different, my focus just blurred into nothingness?

I made it to the end of the year and found that sign in my head....it said you are not here. I didn't quite get the great feeling of taking that last step and finishing. I suppose it is entirely possible that someone keeps moving the sign, but I suspect it is all in my head.

It IS in my head as I have been thinking all wrong. I look at all the races and events, I get confused, do I want to run this one, should I enter that one, how will it affect my next run or race.

I have hit upon the answer and it is quite simple. I experienced the solution last week at the GAC fatass....but I didn't realize it at the time. During my first lap, I kept thinking about how difficult it was and how much further I had to go ....wether I would even do more than one lap...it was miserable.

During the second lap, I let go of all expectations because of the running conditions and the time loss. Instead I concentrated on the run and focused on enjoying the experience. I had no expectations other than finishing the lap.

Once I threw time out the window, the run began to be much more enjoyable. Even though the conditions were worse, I was having much more fun. At the time I didn't realize what had happened.

It dawned on me Sunday during my road run. You see I had some serious time restrictions and scheduling conflicts Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to get a run in on Saturday as the weather was so nice and Sunday my window of time was a very short 1.5 hours if I started at 7am.

Well, Saturday was a no show as the run just didn't materialize so that left Sunday for my long run. A trail run would have only netted 6 miles or so. I considered that unacceptable. Instead, I reluctently hit the road for a run, I needed to get in at least 10 miles.

I stepped out the door at 7am, a bit disapointed to be running the road and as I started running, my brain began mulling through some of my last runs and how they would affect my training.

I suddenly realized I was enjoying this early morning run and because I didn't have to concentrate on the terrain, my brain had the chance to process. I realized that the important thing was to enjoy the moment. Reguardless of how difficult it was or wether it fit into any type of long term plans.

That is why I enjoyed my second loop much better last weekend and also why I was happy with my road run.....I was allowing myself to experience the moment. You see if you experience the moment and every moment of the run or race, the last step has much less importance.

I think I am finally understanding the mentality of an ultra runner. Sure they want to reach the 50 or 100 mile goal, of course they want to beat their best time, but not finishing is a looming possiblity right from the start and wether one finishes or not does not discount the time, effort or difficulty up to that point.

In the end, it is the trip that is memorable, not always the outcome and if one can enjoy the journey then they don't really need a plan or a goal. I ran the road because it gave me the distance I wanted and fit into my schedule.....the fun part was a bonus.

10 mile long (tempo 8+2.2) road run.
1:39:59(9:48 pace)
9:45...148-156 (hill)
10:10...153-160 (long steeper hill)
8:50...152-160 (8:20 kick at end of 8 mile loop)9:36pace for the 8
10:12..135-139(.2 miles)

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