Monday, April 25, 2011

The Need for Goals, or, "What's Next"?

4/21/2011: The “Aftermath”……..

Well, here it is, 6 weeks after the 53 miler and my first writing back, not a blog, not a chapter in my book, nothing!  I purposely took about 2 weeks away from organized training, dieting, writing about organized training and dieting and, especially,  thinking about organized training and dieting, etc.  After about 10 days I went for my first “run” back in the woods and guess what, I was not motivated!  I kept trying and just was not into it.  Had the Ultra broken my “running spirit”?  Was I ready for something new?  I continued to train for another week, just haphazardly - prayed a lot and gave it a lot of thought.  Guess what I came up with?  I know this will be a shocker for you at this point if you have been reading my blogs but I NEED GOALS!  Without a concrete goal in the future, my training is very apathetic and just not really fun.  I know there are lots of people who can train “just to be in shape” but I am definitely not one of them! Trust me, it is nice once a while to not “have” to train because I am on a schedule (luckily, I know that I never really “have” to train but there is much more obligation and a sense of urgency when an event is “looming” in my future) but, in general, I do much better with a goal, or even better, a series of goals to shoot for.

So, what to do, what to do?  Well, again, I know this will be another shocker, but ever since I did my first trail race back in 2008 and I heard that these nutty people actually could run for 100 miles straight, it has been in the back of my mind…… it is in the front of my mind!  Now, I approached this decision with much more introspection, thought, prayer and discussions with the whole family (including our dog) than I have ever done for a previous event.   I know that the time commitment will be large so one of the things I did was meet with a good friend and very experienced Ultra Runner to talk about his ideas on how to approach this.  Interestingly, I did not talk to him too much about training or racing, more on how does he fit the training in and still be a business owner, great husband and dad and stay grounded in his faith?  This is the ultimate goal for me, if I can make this crazy hobby fit into my life and, for the most part, enhance my existence, relationship with my family and the Lord, that would be better than the end goal of finishing 100 miles itself!  He had some great suggestions and talked me out of picking an “easy” 100 miler (think a flat, loop course) and stick to why I got into this stuff in the first place:  getting closer to the Lord by testing my self physically and mentally and getting back to that sense of fear and adventure that myself, and so many men in our society, are really lacking!

I talked it over some more with other friends, had my coach draw up a training plan based on the suggestions from my friend to basically stay in good shape all year and then do a crazy mega mileage 4-6 week plan before the race.    Once I looked at it and put the training into my current week, it started to become more real. 

Finally, 2 days ago, I signed up for the Pinhoti 100, a point to point 100 mile trail run in Alabama, 11/5 – 11/6/2011!  Read more about it here if you want to join me!

The minute I signed up I felt better.  More focused, excited, definitely scared (but in a great way) and more ALIVE!   This is a  really big undertaking to say the least.  Not just the training, but the logistics – one of the things I have realized is how important other people are in these long races:  a crew, pacers, support people, training partners, massage therapists, drug dealers (kidding), etc.  What a great lesson and metaphor for life, we cannot do this, or anything else amazing, alone!  So, now the process begins to find others to train with and, more importantly, pace and crew me through the night, I do not want to be alone from mile 50 on so this will be interesting……..Just to give you an idea of what this will be like, the cut off time is 30 hours!  Yes, we start at 6am Saturday and the cut off is noon Sunday!  Most people (who finish, a very high % drop out) finish between 24-30 hours…over a day on your feet!  This will give you an even better idea, one of the popular blogs on this suggests a great training run that will give you a small idea of how exhausted you will be:  Work a full day on Friday, no nap, have dinner with your family, say good night and then run through the night till Saturday morning!  I know this sounds crazy to some, inspiring to others but personally, I cannot wait, it really sounds like an awesome adventure to me and I thank the Lord daily that he has given me the gift to even attempt this; if I have the gift to finish is to be seen in 7 months……….

Blessings to all,

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