I’ve been reading friends’ race reports all summer and hearing about other’s achievements, and it is really working on the mental aspect of training. I am a true believer in training the mind and using visualization to achieve goals. I’ve always got to convince myself I CAN do something before I hit race day. If I do not feel confident I can do it, those little doubts inevitably creep up during moments of fatigue. Toughing my way through unpleasant runs is one way to build confidence. Visualizing is another way. I am a total insomniac. I can fall asleep pretty easily, I just have a hard time staying alseep. When I wake up in the middle of the night, and lay there awake, to prevent my mind from racing and thinking of all the things I need to do at work, all the things around the house I want to get done, etc, I try to visualize myself running easily in an upcoming event, or making it to one of my “fantasy” runs. Sounds kinda silly, but I find it very relaxing to visualize running easily and enjoying the experience. Every now and then it all comes together and I get a race where my mind stays focused and it never really seems that hard….it IS possible to feel this way. Another way to get my mind trained is reading all the great reports that are on the internet now. Reading about someone else conquering their fears and doubts is very inspiring. Last year, to convince myself I could finish Vermont, I only read race reports in which things went well. I quit reading if the runner mentioned falling apart or DNFing.
The last couple months have been great for running. I have felt strong and healthy. Not doing any big miles, but progressing steadily. I ran the greenbelt with teresa today, and it felt very easy. I can’t help but to think back a couple summers ago, and how much harder in seemed. I guess training does work. I am ready to start channeling all this into a race. The fall and winter events are on the horizon……
Whew, a summer milestone today. My first 20 mile run since June. It kicked my butt. I’ve been hovering around 20 all summer…but never quite making it there. Somehow it is a hurdle between long-ish runs, and LONG runs. I think anything over 20, gets into the LONG territory.
Sure was hard though. I had a nice greenbelt run yesterday, with all the hard hills. The water crossings were insane. I underestimated how much rain the area had gotten, and Pancake almost went over the edge at the Dam. She was hanging on by her nails. It was also Mike’s last time to join us for at least a month…since he left town yesterday, so it was a little sad. The challenge then was to rehydrate. I was on the greenbelt a little over an hour, and was SWEATING. I drank and drank all day, but still had a headache in the evening from dehydration.
Started this am at 530 and did a 7 mile trail loop and felt great. Next did an 8 mile road loop, and was still feeling good. I left Steve at this point to do 5 on my own. I felt ok for about 2 miles and then struggled on in the last 3. I was so depleted and hot. It is hard to imagine that I once ran further than this. I just tell myself over and over, it’s the summer, not me that makes this so darn hard. August is a tough month. it is not so much that it is hot, it’s just been hot for so long. Like the long winters in new england, come August, it would be nice to see things start to change, as cabin fever is setting in. But, like my Sunmart year’s hot 20 milers, these runs are the building blocks of a little mental strength. While not as long as what I’ll do come late fall, they are every bit as hard with the tough conditions.
Post run, I went to pick a few items at central market, and it is Hatch green chilie days. I could not resist a 1/2 lb burger. It was an awesome post run treat 🙂
Here is a picture from this time of year back in 2003. It is from one of the most fun trips I’ve ever had, when Stephanie, Karen and I went to run the Reno marathon then hang in Lake tahoe. the Reno marathon remains to this day the most sore I have ever been after a race. About 4 miles of it were on thick, beach- like sand, and it KILLED my legs. There were promises of pine trees and we did get them….from about mile 24-26. The rest of the way was sand or hot black top asphalt. I was in agony the next day. But, we had a blast. I’ve wanted to go back to the area ever since…I guess now that we have officially entered the dog days of summer, it is easy to let the mind wander back to mountain lakes….
In other news, the training is going well. I did 19 on saturday, and with the heat it was tough, but I felt strong the whole way. Did 7 on the greenbelt this am, and starting this weekend, I switched directions to get the harder hills in. It was roasting hot, but once again, I felt strong enough to handle it. Went to REI to pick Mike up some stuff to wear in the 50 degree temps in Ireland (he is going for 3 weeks….yes, I hate him), and found a pair of Hardrocks for $39!!! They are carefully packed away waiting for my 100K journey this winter….what a find!
My last ultra run in April went terribly. I was signed up for a 50 miler and 30 miles in said “what in the hell am I doing? I have NO desire to do this.” I called it a 50K day, and felt disappointed in myself that I quit something. In hind sight, I was pretty burnt out after doing a long series of races. I started in December with a pressure filled White Rock marathon, trying to qualify for Boston. Then onto Bandera, then Rocky Raccoon (where I ran my best race of the year), then the AT & T marathon, Prickly Pear, and finally Rocky Hill ranch where I said enough! Since then I have relaxed, still running, but nothing needing big training. I did a couple of the trail series, but those are more of a training run, and the Alaska marathon was truly a fun run. I feel refreshed and excited to run ultras again. I am finally at the point in the extreme humidity of summer where I feel decent on most runs. I am looking very forward to training for Bandera, and I’ve shaken the feelings of burnout. I haven’t run over 20 miles all summer, except for the marathon. This really helped. I learned that I need to break from racing for part of each year. I also think doing Vermont 100 last summer contributed to the burnout…..I was so happy to finish and complete a major goal for myself that I wasn’t sure where to go from there. It’s only been about 12 weeks since RHR, but I feel refreshed and ready to start a new “season” this fall. Training for a marathon has helped too. The pressure is much less, and a good way to ease into the bigger mileage. I am ready to become an ultra runner again! I feel like I can now “consider” a 100 miler again…..I couldn’t for the last couple months. The little wheels in my head are turning…..but no annoucement of plans until I make a final decision.