"My own talents and reserves often feel like a drought, insufficient for the harvest. And yet somehow God carries me beyond my expected yield." -Kristin Armstrong
This is a comforting quote today. Probably one that I will refer to a zillion times this summer as I ramp up mileage never before achieved in any training I've done. The goal: 75-80 miles a week. Let's make that 75-80 miles a week of pain free, injury free miles! All done in preparation for what I hope to be my first ultramarathon, the JFK 50. Funny how many blogs ago, I was convinced that perhaps I could do just fine running a minimum of 30 miles a week. Running long primarily on weekends, throwing some shorter runs in during the week and using cycling as a substitute for any days I don't run. I don't think that way anymore. My goal for this ultra is yes, a finish. But I'd like to finish optimally conditioned and in a respectable amount of time. I won't put a definitive time goal on the race (hence I hate to call it a race), but I know I want to finish in what is considered a decent amount of time. I want to recover quickly, evaluate my like or dislike of ultra running and then decide what I'd like to attempt next.
Today was rough. I ran 11 miles with John (YES.. .I SAID JOHN!). For the first few miles, I ran annoyed. I have started training with a heart rate monitor, but old habits die hard and I couldn't help but sneak back and look at my pace. What a mood killer. First I was annoyed because he wasn't ready at 7 am like he said he would be. I am not a fan of running in the heat and it was getting hot. Then I was annoyed because my heart rate was lingering in the low 150's at a 9:4something pace. I was tired from an early morning spinning class and he seemed eager to go a little faster. I snapped at him to slow down so I could get my rate under control and became further in a bad mood when I realized just how slow we would be going to get me into the right training zone. After 3 miles of this irritable mindset, I found myself just plain fatigued. Fridays are like that for me. It is a long week of lots of running and cross training combined with not much sleep and full days with kids home. I always plow through Fridays with the thought of SRS... or Sweet Rest Saturday. As I trodded alongside my husband, who was probably enjoying this as much as I was, the thought of the fall ultra crept into my mind. It was something like "How in the HELL am I going to do 50 miles in a row? I am struggling right now with the 5 we've gone so far. I just don't know if I'm cut out for this. What am I doing? Why am I setting myself up for another disappointing, unachievable goal?" Let me say, it has been a long time since I've had thoughts like that. Actually, I have had a great couple of months (minus my disappointment in my Pig half marathon). I have not doubted my ability to complete a 50 miler. I have amused myself with the thought of "Ok, after 50, then what?" Knowing darn well that when I complete it, I'll also know I've got more limit testing to do. But today, I found myself seriously doubting my ability. So what did I do? I recalled the note my brother wrote to me before the Columbus Marathon. I decided to complete my 11 mile run the same way he instructed I complete miles 19-24. One step at a time, pushing from one crack in the road to the next. Telling myself I could walk if I wanted to. Only I knew I didn't want to. By mile 6, I was decently warmed up and actually in a nice zone. I glanced down at my HR... 141. Then clicked over to pace. 8:43. Yes, I was better now. Amazing how quickly the fog lifted then. The next thought after that was "Aw HELL YES I can run 50 miles!" And that is what we call riding the wave, my friends. Honor the mood, pay it some attention, let it in then let it go. I've found that constantly denying myself the right to feel a bit of anger, a bit of aggravation, a bit of jealousy, a bit of pure annoyances, a bit (ok, A LOT) of moodiness just sets me up for a huge blowup and blowout down the road.
So yes, honor the mood. And if it's a bad one, let it in, then kindly show it the door. Lord knows we all know people who allow it to set up camp and stay for awhile. Yikes... not a good way to live and definitely not fun to be around!