Feb 18, 2012

Get Rhythm: Ray Miller 50 Mile Preview

I guess the majority of the work for this race is complete so now I'm here typing, itching to get out and race this thing already.  Usually come taper week I can relax and enjoy the lead up to the race.  But something has changed.  I used to solely run to race and stay in "backpacking" shape but late last year I re-thought my goals and I wanted not only to race events but race them as well as I can; be the best prepared I can given a balanced life and normal life circumstances.  In order to do well, consistent training had to increase substantially with racing taking a back seat.  The two weeks pre and post race day have suddenly apparently turned into a feeling of wasted time, even though my better judgement says this is the proper way to be approaching this event.  My last race was back in mid-November, so it's been a while (15 weeks), and I have to say running hasn't really stopped since then.  The past 9 weeks have been as solid of training weeks I can muster  (Average: 80.52 miles/week, 17,444ft vert gain/week), with consistent long runs, track work, easier weeks, etc, creating a unique and fulfilling rhythm; waking up before sunrise every weekday morning for a quiet trail run, thinking of what the next long run will be, seeing improvement.  This weekend things slow down a bit:  the long runs aren't as long, the mentality has changed, and everything is focused on getting things right for next Saturday.  In the past year (the first year I started training), I've usually welcomed this change with relief and open arms, but as I sit here and type this out, I have an itch.  An itch to continue this rhythm, to continue improving, and I've realized that racing less and having A-races are the only ones worth having.  
It takes, relatively, a substantial amount of time and money to race, and in order to see improvements I needed a heavy dose of training and few races in between.  It depends on ones goals, but the intensity of races requires high effort levels, ones not usually achieved during training.  Producing those quality efforts at each race, without burning out or getting injured, takes time in order to recover and train.  I think last year I was more engaged with the destination and not the journey that lead me there because of a strong desire to say that I was able to complete that distance (no matter the effort quality), or get that buckle.  This year has changed a bit.  I'm over that first-time excitement and now looking to see what this training will produce.  I'm nervous and curious.  It's time to trust in the work I've done so far and just run.  There is a deep satisfaction in toeing the starting line of a race you've prepared as best you can for and will soon be laying it all out for.  No "training" races, no running just to finish, no-half-assing it, no excuses.

Morning run sunrise

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