Friday, November 20, 2009

Change Of Pace

Not a lot going on with my running right now. Just running some average runs each day and trying to accept the fact that the trails are all snowed in and that most of my mileage for the next several months will be on the roads or on cross country skis.

It's amazing to me how quickly I've accepted this reality though. As recently as a week ago the thought of running on roads sounded awful, but now I feel fine with it. I'm going to put in 25-30 miles of road running tomorrow. This will probably be more total mileage of pavement than I ran the entire summer and fall combined. For some reason though I am comfortable with this. I guess it's just another example of how fluidly our bodies and minds can adapt to change as long as we don't get too attached to our fears and pre-conceived ideas about what this change will look like.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finding My Place - MMTR Race Report

I went into this race having almost no idea what to expect. I convinced myself in the days before the race that I needed to be prepared to accept whatever outcome I found. I had had problems with my hamstring for several days the week before the race and I just didn't know if I had much of my fitness left that I had built up over the summer. My training through the month of October wasn't bad, but at the time it didn't seem very good either. I just kind of ran each day with almost no focus on how far or for how long. Toward the end of the month I thought for certain that I wasn't running nearly as much as I probably "should" have been. Turns out this was completely wrong. Apparently the rest was just what I needed.

My hamstring started to hurt just a few strides into this race. I thought for sure I was going to have to deal with that pain throughout the entire day. Turned out that it never hurt again after the first 20 miles. It also turned out that as my hamstring pain went away my entire body began to feel stronger and faster. I ran very comfortable for the first half of the race. I had a few minor stomach problems in that part but somewhere around mile 20 my stomach really settled and I knew that if I could keep my stomach together that things were going to go well.

At the halfway point I knew that I could thrive on the more hilly and more technical terrain of the second half of the course. I just didn't realize how much I would be able to thrive. I ended up running the second half of this one in 3 hours even! With about 15 miles to go I realized that I was really pushing the pace and it felt really good to go that fast. I really had not raced that fast and felt that comfortable doing so ever in my life. I wasn't thinking much about anything. Just running faster and faster and at times falling quite deep into meditation and at other times a seemingly other dimension in which time seemed to almost not exist. I just ran faster and it stopped seeming like it was taking me either a long time or a short time, I was just running. When it was all said and done it had felt like the easiest race I had ever run. My body felt strong the entire way and my mind felt like it had been in a good place the entire time - never too focused on the race itself, but never wandering too far away and getting too distracted. I just ran, and ran fast, and my mind and body simply allowed for me to do that without getting in the way. It was probably the closest I've ever come to running a perfect race because I never really felt like I was running a race and yet I was able to stay focused on my nutrition, hydration, pacing, and other areas needed to run a successful race. I never actually had to think about any of these things. They just happened. I never really had to think about anything, it just kind of all happened as I simply ran quickly through the forest.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another Day At The Office?

Kind of, but also a bit more satisfying than just another race.

Won Mountain Masochist 50 a few hours ago in 6:27:55. Not sure where that came from. I really haven't run anything fast in several months. I ran the last mile today in 5:25, probably the fastest single mile that I've run since sometime in July.

As far as races go this one went really well. I felt strong the whole day and I feel really good tonight as I'm hanging out in my hotel room eating everything in sight. I ran with the lead pack - mostly consisting of Gary Robbins, Lon Freeman, Vlamir Nunes, and myself - for the first half of the race, but as the terrain got much tougher in the second half I just took off and really began to push the pace. I didn't even care (or know) what was going on behind me. I was dialed in and I knew that if I just kept myself there that it didn't matter what was going on behind me. By mile 30 I was cutting about a minute and a half per mile off the previous course record splits. I continued to attack uphills as I had all day, but after mile 35 I also really attacked the downhills more than I ever have in any race. And the faster I ran the better I felt. When it was said and done I took more than 20 minutes off Dave Mackey's previous course record. This is obviously a really exciting result to me, but also kind of scary (mostly in a good way). More on all of this sometime in the next few days.

As usual, thanks to everyone for all your support, especially my Dad who drove down from Central New York and crewed for me and got to see me race for the first time since 1995 when I was in college.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mountain Masochist

On my way to Virginia to run the Mountain Masochist 50 miler this weekend. I have no idea if I'm ready to race a 50 miler this weekend. Honestly I haven't even really thought about it. I'm sure I'll be ready to focus on this one by Saturday morning though. Should be a tough field. I'm not in perfect shape right now. But that's almost always the case. At the very least it'll be exciting to run my first race "back east" and my Dad is driving down from New York for this one, so that'll be exciting for me too.

For those interested you should be able to track the race on this website.