Thursday, May 9, 2024

I Haven't Done This in 3 Years

I am a "good" tired. The kind of tired where you feel like you did something. My run on the High Bridge Trail this morning was outstanding, but suffice it to say that I've got dozens of more training runs before my biggest race of the year. That's right -- I've decided to sign up for the Freight Train 50K Ultra Marathon in December instead of the Honolulu Marathon (also in December). This aging guy of 71 needs to do an ultramarathon while he still can. 

As you can see, this year's Freight Train also includes a 100K race. 

That's twice the distance of the 50K. (Aren't I good at math?) This will be my fourth 50K race. I am ULTRA excited about it. It's only 32 miles or so. Piece of cake, right? My quads are exploding just thinking about it. When this is over and done with, I am going to write a book titled Confessions of an Aging Moron. I'm not kidding. 

To mix things up a bit, today I decided not to run eastward from Farmville to the High Bridge but westward from Rice Station to the bridge. I LOVE this part of the trail. For one thing, it's always deserted. For another, Rice is the first turnaround point in December's race. 

And so I ran from Rice to Camp Paradise just east of the bridge. 

It's an out-and-back that totals 6.2 miles. 

Like my fancy blue outfit? 

While historically I've been a music-listener on my training runs, today I listened to live coverage of the Cocodona 250 mile race from Phoenix to Flagstaff in one of the favorite states, Arizona. Now that is perhaps the ultimate ultramarathon distance. Listening to the livestream made me feel I was right there on the course with the runners, which of course will never happen in reality. 

As we all know, however, how far you race doesn't matter. You are running. Who cares how far you go? Who are we to critique anyway? If you are out there getting it done -- any distance, any speed, any type of shoes, any kind of music -- you are a RUNNER. 

I have many faults -- we all know that! But lack of motivation isn't one of them. For some reason I have never been one to make excuses or not honor my commitments or play the victim. I started running, it's true, to cope with my wife's passing, but that's not why I'm still running. If you have a body that moves, then you are more blessed than millions of other people. Running means you stop buying into all the excuses people make. After Becky died I vowed to make every day the best day possible. That includes treating myself to chori pollo after a run. 

I guess you're supposed to have a race strategy when running ultras. Here's mine: Walk at least half the time. Eat 150 calories every hour. This includes both gels and the "real" food they serve at the aid stations. And most importantly: Do not stop. Keep moving forward no matter how slowly. If you stop you will probably never start again. 

This race strategy has worked three times for me, but who knows if it will work again? Mentally, an ultra really breaks you down. It's a miracle that anyone finishes. Finish lines are weird because they seem to combine every feeling you have ever felt in your life. You feel elated, broken, extremely fatigued, and significantly thankful. For all these reasons and more, I've always cried afterwards. 

Well, that's all folks. That's enough for now, right? Thanks for reading another long, boring, drawn out report. But hey -- if I can run 32 miles in 8 hours, you can read through a blog post. Ha!