Whenever I do something for the first time, if I don't find some clever trick others miss, I end up being one of the worst at it. Then I stay terrible for a very long time. I have an odd learning style: I have to see things from every possible angle, take them apart and study each bit in microscopic detail, try fitting the pieces back together in strange ways to see how they work, until I finally feel I "get" it completely. Then I tend to get very good, very quickly.
I think I'm at that point now with 100 mile trail races. After years of floundering, everything just seemed to "click" and now it all appears ridiculously obvious. The two things people kept telling me was "You're overthinking it" (well, yeah, that's what I do) and "You're working too hard." I knew both were true, but there didn't seem to be any way around the obstacles.
One of the biggest problems I'd had with understanding the Superior Sawtooth 100 was how so many different ways of training led to seemingly equal results. Data mining and meta-analysis didn't lead anywhere because there just weren't enough finishers whose training could be studied. When trying to get information, I was always stymied by truisms like "You just have to find what works for you."
I'd hoped to fill a serious void with this blog, as people either found immediate success or they either quit trying. I hoped to show what I was learning as I went along. Unfortunately, that wasn't much.
Now I could explain what I think it takes to run Sawtooth well in just a few sentences. However, if I did that, it would immediately raise the questions of how I arrived at my conclusions... and that took me 4 years to reach and would take as long to explain.
Right now, I'm in poor shape, dealing with some health issues that I think will keep me from ever returning to top form. Still, I think that I could run just under 32 hours if I stay where I am and that would put me in the top 1/3 of finishers. With responsible training, I think sub-29 is reasonable. If all goes well, the asthma magically disappears and heel bursitis doesn't bother me, sub-27 is a possibility. Breaking 24, alas, a possibility only a couple of years ago, looks like a pipe dream now.
Time for me to start training. Otherwise, it's all moot.
Sunday Night Musings
5 days ago