"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

This Week in Training, Whining and Worry

But there was a wearying tiredness in his bones, a gasping for breath, a deadening in his flesh - perhaps he should not run any more. - F. Sionil Jose', "Dusk"

"There was that credit business too," another said - a lank man with a bulging dreamy scant-haired head and pale myopic eyes named Quick, who operated a sawmill. - Wm. Faulkner, "The Hamlet"

Monday: 4 miles in 37
Tuesday: 9 in 75
Wednesday: 40 in 7:12
Thursday: 7 in 70
Friday: 4 in 38
Saturday: 8 in 76
Sunday: 8 in 76

Two weekends ago, I planned on running 50 miles, but the weather sucked. Last weekend, the weather sucked. This weekend, the weather sucks. Next weekend, the weather's supposed to be good, but it's too close to the Zumbro 100, so it's not going to happen. Tuesday, I planned to do 10 miles fast, got in 4 in 30 minutes (in a stiff wind and bad footing) and felt a sharp pain in my right quad; not sure if it was a minor muscle pull or a nerve spasm, I pushed on and 50 meters later, it happened again, so I shut it down and jogged home.

Wednesday, the weather was spectacular, even early in the day, so I decided that, if Zumbro is on Good Friday, why not run long on Ash Wednesday? I had to shift some scheduling and called it a "mental health day," though 40 miles suggests it might not have been so healthy mentally. I felt bad at 2.5 hours, good at 3.5, bad at 4.5, good at 6. Last year, at the same time of year and in the same weather, I did 40 miles in 5:42; I've slowed down 2 minutes per mile. Of course, last year I had two easy days beforehand and this time I did a hard 4 a day earlier, but it still bothers me. A lot.

I went through the numbers (of course) and feel I'm ready to run a slow flat 80 miles. Zumbro is 100 and hilly (10000 feet of climb), but it's still in my range, if just barely. I think I can do it in less than a day if the weather permits, my injuries don't flare and I solve the edema problem (last year at Sawtooth, along with all the other problems, the finger swelling became hand, wrist and forearm swelling). I will finish. Then I have Trail Mix the next week (no repeat winner this year!) and Chippewa the week after that, which will both be slow, easy fun runs.

Then the schedule gets hard!

I'm about a mile per day behind where I want to be, one long run short and a minute per mile too slow. I'm tempted to try to do more, faster, but I know that that's counterproductive. When I saw Julie's blog about doing 51.7 miles in much worse weather - in snowshoes, no less - I really started to doubt if I have the mental toughness for this sport [then she slept 12 hours straight and caught the flu, so I sort of feel vindicated in my sloth]. There are times, once at Voyageur really sticks out, where I think, "I just don't need to do this. I'm not enjoying it. I don't really care about this and, if I don't, who does?" I'm trying to get the right mindset, but it's a struggle.

I'm hoping the many long runs and the grueling day-to-day without many off-days will get me there. I've already got myself thinking, "Don't race. Just finish." That's a start.

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