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

Monday, August 12, 2013

Something Worth Doing

An even bigger challenge to me than running while injured is finding a goal now that my options seem limited. The days of winning races outright appear to be over and the Minnesota age-class records are either out of reach (2:30:50 marathon at age 50?!) or of little interest to me (for example, the 400m record). Trying for a state championship is pointless, as there's a current group in my age class I cannot catch; the exception might be the trail championship, the 25K at Afton - the (over-50) 50K record there is easier than that for the 25K, but it's no championship; unfortunately, Afton falls at the height of allergy season for me. That leaves trying for the over-50 records at individual races... but I can't think of any that I could try for that anyone else would care about.

There is one other thing that's entered the collective conscience locally. Now that the Superior Hiking Trail has been extended to 286 miles (from 205), it's time for a new Fastest Known Time and a few people have been considering it. The shorter distance has been done under 5 days, once unsupported and I think I could do the full distance in 6 (and maybe down to 4 if I didn't sleep... being able to go without sleep for days is one reason I sometimes consider doing 6 Day races, even though I'm not good at 24 Hours). Of course, my heels would have to co-operate and I'd have to do it before having surgery (... if I'm having it).

The real problem with that: it can't be done without some help, if only to have someone drive one from the end back to where I'd leave my car. I don't think anyone would be willing to check on my progress from day to day, much less accompany me on the night sections. Even if I did it, without any help, I doubt anyone would believe it.

There's the loneliness of the long distance runner.


Alicia Hudelson said...

I was seriously considering doing it again (for the extended version) this September, with running Sawtooth in the middle. Actually I'm still not even sure that I won't do that, but probably not. I'd rather do Sawtooth a bit faster than I would if I had done 117 miles already!

(as an aside, there are some math issues to resolve here: you've got 286 miles, which I haven't seen anywhere else, the SHTA website says the completed trail is 296 miles, and if you add up all the sections, it actually comes to 302. Hmm.)

What I would say (based on experience!) the bigger problem than support logistics is, is how much you want to do it. The reason I don't think I'll do try it this year is because I only "want" to do it. I don't think that's enough for a run like this--you have to be more in the "I desperately, desperately want to" category. Otherwise you're just not going to be willing to put up with a third night of tripping over roots, thinking every tree stump is a bear or a moose, and trying not to land too hard on your completely mashed-up feet that stopped being helped by ibuprofen about 20 hours earlier. And it sounds like you only sort of want to do it as an alternative to races, so to me that doesn't sound like you want to do it enough to put up with all that stuff for so long. That's my advice, anyway...

SteveQ said...

I think my 286 came from just before the last link was finished.

Yeah, I can't seem to get motivated for much, much less that ordeal.