Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wasatch 100 Pre-Race thoughts

2011 Finish with the girls

Its here- Wasatch 100 2012. The lottery took place on February 4th- which seems like such a long time ago. I remember being out on a training run and hoping for the best. I have run Wasatch twice and was eager to give it another go. After I saw my name that night I remember the feeling of excitement and a bit of anxiety as well. I had 7 months of training and racing ahead to prepare which I knew if I stayed injury free would be enough. I began to pick up other races to help build for Wasatch and set me in a better mind set. It looked like this:
February- Moab Red Hot 55k
March – Buffalo Run 50
April- Grand Canyon R2R2R
May- Zion 100, HUMR Beer Mile and Timp Trail Marathon
June- San Juan Solstice 50
July- SpeedGoat 50k
August- El Vaquero Loco 50k

So I knew heading into Wasatch I would have some good races and plenty of training runs. Last year I only raced a couple times and didn’t run in July before running hard for 3 weeks in August just in time to start my taper.  This year is different, other than a few little nagging aches I have run much better, started doing Pilates and being much more consistent on my training.
So, with all that above I should be more than ready right? Well, I hope so. 100 miles is still a long journey and we all know anything can happen. There are so many variables that enter the equation- some you can control, some you can’t and some you should.  After last year’s crazy final 14 miles and a sub 30 finish I am not sure if that set me up with confidence or more pressure. I always want to become better and whatever I do and this year has seen 4 PR’s in my racing calendar already. Can I go under 29:46.30 or was my finish just dumb luck? If I finish over 29:46.30 is it a set back? These are only a few thoughts that are going through my mind.
 I am fortunate to have a STRONG group of pacers to help me cover the last half of the race. I am fortunate to have been able to train with an amazing group of people (without them I would be not be as consistent). I am fortunate to be running relatively injury free (far as ultra standards go). I am fortunate to have great support from friends and family as well. But what about my mindset? I feel like I have always been a strong minded, gut it out, git er dun type of person but the last couple weeks I have had a hard time with that mental edge. That is until I read a great blog post from a friend and fellow HUMR- Lindsay Lauck. I could try and paraphrase what it says or try and sum it up real quick but I am afraid it wouldn’t do it justice. This post really hit me- it spoke to me if you will. It was something I needed not just to hear but read so I could go over it and over it again. I pasted it below (I hope Lindsay doesn’t mind):

I ran on new trails this week, pushed myself up hills, climbed mountains and - most significantly - enjoyed it!  Ryan said something to me when we were running at Snow Basin this week.  He was coaching me along, proud of my consistency this week, and helping me stay focused and keep up the pace (probably because the sun was setting, and we were both hungry).  He said, "Most importantly, remember to Be Here Now."  I think I said something smart-assed to him, like "I am here now".  I don't remember. But, he had a point.

I think I am ready to stop comparing myself to others.  Or, to the version of myself I wish I was.  That's not to say I'm not focused on improving and getting better.  I'm about to run the biggest race I have run yet -50 miles.  That's nothing to shake a stick at.  But if you had asked me how I felt about it two months ago, I would have been positive that failing at this race would mean the end to my running career.  I've said it a few times this year, "I need to find another sport."  I just felt inadequate compared to others.  I'm not fast enough.  I'm bad at this. I walk the hills.  I take breaks.  I like rest days.  Beer is delicious.  I don't look as cute in these shorts as some of my running friends.

So, what?

 I like running! I enjoy this!  Actually, my favorite way to see anything is on foot.  I love summiting mountains.  I saw a goat the other day.  Deer!  Moose! I get a rush out of running downhill fast.  I love being outdoors.  I'm going to continue pushing myself.  I will get stronger, better, faster.  I know it takes work, and I am willing to put in the time.  40 mile weeks will become the norm for me, and I will put in longer ones.

But, I am also going to enjoy them.  I'm going to have a good time at races, even at the back of the pack. One day, I will be in the middle of the pack.  I'm going to run new races, and run farther in the future ones. But I will keep in mind that training, running, racing is enjoyable to me. Even at this level.  Even if it isn't as good as other people's levels.

And, I still think beer is delicious

Not much else needs to be said on my part. Pretty much knocks it out of the park. I will always set goals for running and races but maybe the order of my goals will change- #1- Be here now- enjoy it. I truly believe without #1, no matter how well you do, it will not be as fulfilling.
A lot goes into “ultra” running but if you are not present, why do it. If you are not in that moment and not enjoying what you do- is it really worth it?
I want to wish all my friends Good Luck on their journey this week. I hope to share a few beers with you all at the finish. It should be a great day + in the Wasatch Mountains. Thanks to everyone for their support and kinds words. You can follow the race by going to – I will be wearing bib #146.
2012- My goal is 27:30- can I shave 2 more hours? Who knows….I will let you know Saturday.
What I do know is that in a few short days I will “Be Here Now”. And there is no place I would rather be……..
2011- Trying to believe it.

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