From The Perspective of Fear
Yup. I'm still adjusting to being back on the mainland I guess. My track workout this morning sucked. I totally felt off the moment I woke up this morning. Must have been the panties. Uggh.
Lucky for me my training schedule happened to be de-load week last week. Usually every fourth week I do workovers at less intensity. Except for a soft sand 1 mile beach run I didn't do much at all besides sit on the beach, snorkel and drink cocktails (I now make a killer POG Runner by the way). How's that for de-loading?
I'm sure that's NOT what Seth had programmed for me, but hey... I was in Maui. Cut me some slack, Jack.
Now that I'm back home I'm back to work, my workovers and my 100 miler research. But, I would be lying if I told you I wasn't procrastinating on registering for the "big one." I am.
I still can't seem to find a 100 miler in California that I feel completely ready to sign up for. There are few here during the timeframe I'm looking at and most are way more challenging than I'd hope to attempt for my first 100. Part of me believes that I can do this. The other part of me thinks I'm being way too cocky and I have no business running that kind of distance. Right now, I'm not sure which part of me I should believe.
I have this completely irrational "fear" of the distance. Although, its obvious this fear is really of the unknown. I have to remind myself to think back to my first trail marathon (which wasn't more than a year ago) and my first ultra, and my 100k after that. I have to keep reminding myself that EVERY distance seemed daunting if I hadn't ran it before. Once I ran it, I had a little more experience and some inkling of what to expect from my body. I don't think I'll ever be able to wipe clear the "unknown" for any given race. There are way too many factors that can effect the outcome. But every race I run makes me better prepared for the next one. I'm banking those experiences which is probably more valuable than any tool or skill.
But I don't run a whole lot of races and it seems the California 100s are tough. At least that's from my perspective. Especially the Northern CA 100s which I want to do sometime between August and October of next year. That is unless I could find something in February or March, but I'm not a happy cold weather runner unless I can feel my fingers and toes which is rarely in the colder months.
So I guess I'm not sold on any one race yet. Right now I'm debating on either the Rio Del Lago 100 or the Cool Moon 100. They are very different races.
The Rio Del Lago is an out and back race consisting of some pretty hefty canyon elevation which takes place just as things begin to cool down here in October. I love the idea of running an out and back course but, in life and running I prefer surprises. I don't want to "know" the trail I'm running on. It keeps me awake, interested and inspired. Although a lot of this trail will be new to me some parts will be very familiar. I'm not sure I like that.
The Cool Moon is a 10 mile looped race with a 12 and 24 hour timed option that takes place near my birthday in the hellish heat of August when temps commonly get up past 100. Although potentially mind-numbing, the looped race has its advantages and the timed 24 hour option seems very seductive.
So I'm stuck.
In the meantime, the only thing I know is that I want to do this. Or at least I want to try.
At the Born To Run Ultra I remember staying up the night before my race and talking with the guys about what I wanted out of the 100k. The only thing I wanted was a transcending experience. Not a PR. Not a medal. Not even the right to say I'm an ultrarunner who ran a 100k. I wanted a profound understanding of who I am at my core. I wanted to touch the edge of my limits with a distance I had never ran before. I wanted to see how far my body and mind would let me go.
While that race was pure magic for me and one of my most memorable ultra running experiences and in a small way transcending, it wasn't the experience I was looking for. I may have touched my limits, but just barely. My feet hurt like hell and at one point I thought I may have fractured my right foot, but what I discovered as I crossed the finish line was that regardless of the excruciating pain in my feet there was more left inside me.
How can I ignore that?
So I've given myself until December to register. Its a solid deadline.
And even though I'm still crapping my pants at the thing I'm about to do, I am taking steps today to get myself there tomorrow.
Right now my training consists of a serious focus on my foot position during deadlifts, heavy squats, and other movements. This focus will aid in strengthening my feet and correct my slight eversion which still needs some help. I can't believe how much different my feet are from only three years ago. They've come a long way. They may be tiny, but they are solid and stable now. On their own. Without the crappy ultra motion controls. But, still, there's room for improvement there.
|I have barefoot superpowers now!|
I still have yet to find a pair of "Zero d" shoes. (That's my own abbreviation for "zero drop" by the way. If you know me you know I like to make up my own vocabulary) I need something with a little more cushion that will get me through a 100. Its awfully hard to fork over cash for something you can't be sure will work. My coach is super knowledgeable on this stuff and I will be leaning on him for recommendations. My shoe choice will be a shot in the dark for me.
The other part of my training consists of mental training. There's a process my brain goes through in order to comprehend the impossible - or what I perceive to be the impossible. I'm getting to know that process intimately. I don't have a problem doing long anything - at least not so far - but there are times when I look at the movement I'm about to do 400 reps of and I wonder if I will feel like giving up at some point.
For instance, one of my workovers consisted of 400 jumping jacks. At first I was confident I would complete them. Hell, they were just jumping jacks. I did those by the dozens in elementary school. But by the 50th rep I discovered just how much I hate jumping jacks and by 100 I was cursing them. But the amazing thing about this was as long as I didn't focus on the total amount I needed to complete I could knock them out in groups of 30. That's pretty much how I completed my 100k. Six sets of ten miles each and the last two miles would be a snap.
So I'm pushing the fear back for now and focusing on getting myself there. I wish I could find a race that inspired me like the Born To Run Ultra - which by the way, I plan on doing next year but at the 50k distance so I can enjoy the flavor of the event more. It seems that races find me these days not the other way around.
"I'm here 100 miler!! Come find me!!"
But, December will be here soon and I will have to commit myself. On one hand it will be a relief once I register. On the other hand, I think I will need a really strong cocktail.
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