Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Road So Far...

Every season finale of one of my favorite shows ends with a little recap beginning with "The Road So Far" while "Carry on my wayward son" by Kansas blasts through the TV speakers. It's fitting really...the characters are literally put through hell every season; getting shot, chewed up and spit out by demons, ghosts, vampires and all sorts of nasties. The crazy thing is you get the impression that they are enjoying themselves through all of the insanity. Perhaps there is a similarity between their trials and those of the endurance athlete. Maybe I'm just watching too much Supernatural.

Not gonna lie...I have a little man crush on Jensen Ackles
In any event, this year has been equal parts quiet and insane. Late last year my wife and I found out that we were expecting our first child. The doomsayers came and said my running career was over. I told them they didn't know how obsessed I was or how cool my wife was and immediately signed up for a hundred mile race, the Pine To Palm 100, which is set to kick off here on September 14th. I then proceeded to line up and race at the Orcas Island 50K, Chuckanut 50K, Gorge Waterfalls 50K, Capitol Peak 50M, Sun Mountain 50M, Rainier to Ruston 50M and the Lake Youngs 28 Miler. Of all those races I only failed to finish Sun mountain and that was due in large part to a scheduling issue. If I had taken the Monday off after the race (Which unlike every other race on the list above was run on Sunday) I would've gutted out the finished, pigged out in Winthrop and then drove home the following day. Instead I got in a nice 50K and got home by dinner. But I digress...

She has gone completely berserk help!
Every single race listed above was run on or before June 8th. Why no races after June? Well because our little bundle of awesome arrived on July 2nd. She needs...nay...demands much attention. Her piercing shrieks can penetrate the most apathetic of hearts and her smiles can make the will crumble. Would I be able to run a step after the birth of such a wonderful yet terrifying being?

The answer is a heartening yes. A resounding yes in fact. My wife is awesome. She has undoubtedly resigned herself to the fact that my running is not so much a hobby as it is an obsession. Yes I day dream about running. It does not really become distracting however unless I don't get out on a run for a few days. Ideally I get out on a run every day. And that's exactly what I did from July 6th to August 8th, the lone exception being a mountain biking substitution one Sunday. This bout of activity was in large part assisted by paternity leave, though it has since carried over into life post leave. I can still get out and run almost every day now that I'm working again. I just had to prioritize. I came up with the following mathematical representation of my new priorities:

Baby=Wife > Work > Running > Everything Else

I apologize if you fall into the everything else category. I promise I will still make some time for you. Perhaps you would like to join me for a run? We could always catch up on our respective life experiences on the way to the trail head. Or perhaps during the warm up and cool down. You could experience views like the one below! I'm sure there are some exceptions to the above formula...but as far as day to day life goes...that's it.


But what is all this for? Well as stated above, I signed up for Pine to Palm late last year. Finishing this sucker isn't a sure thing. Unlike last year I will be hammering this thing out sans pacer. I probably won't have a crew and I will have zero course knowledge. (Beyond the fun little maps and elevation profiles provided on the race website) So pretty much all the training over the past 9 months has been focused on one thing, getting me to the finish of the P2P in as few pieces as possible.

If a flat 50 miler did this...I'm in trouble.

The next few weeks will be sent slowly decreasing my weekly mileage. I'll still try to get out and thrash the quads on a few ascents/descents of some local mountains up until September. I'll begin my fairly aggressive taper on August 26th and will strive to keep my sanity over the three week period leading up to the race. Sure I'll run...but it will mostly be for mental maintenance. I'm pretty sure I turn into a terror now if I can't get out regularly...

And unlike the song mentioned above I doubt I will ever truly be done. Next year will bring a new outdoor adventures...and another 100 miler at the end. Fingers crossed for Western States.

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