"Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not."

Elk/Beaver Lakes – T-minus 6 days

With only 6 days left until Elk/Beaver Lakes ultra, I thought it was perhaps time to give a little update.

How has training been going? Well, a couple months ago I was really struggling with motivation. My goal was to slowly ramp up to 100 miles per week. However, being only free to run 4 days per week, generally, this was essentially impossible without just doing insane long runs every weekend. Which I don’t think is conducive to actually getting faster. Plus it’s hard, and boring as shit.

So I took a step back and re-assessed and decided to tone my goals down to 115 km/week (roughly 70 mpw) which was enough to be motivating and still relatively high mileage, but not so high as to be retardedly unachievable. Remember, the rules of goal settings:

SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound

So running 115 km per week is pretty damned SMART, but 160 km/week was unfortunately a little too SMRT.

But anyway, it made a big difference. I often preach the value of a training plan as a motivator, but this little experiment of one showed that something grossly unachievable is no more motivating than this: http://www.danbarham.com/dinklage/

That is to say: super motivating but only for a few minutes.

(Props Susie)

So after making that change I basically ran for 8 near-perfect weeks, which bring us to last week, AKA Taper week 1.

I chose to taper for only 2 weeks, since my mileage isn’t too high, and I am uninjured (I think. I hope… More on this later.) Week 1 was 75%, and Week 2 is 50%. Well, I don’t really care how much I run in Week 2, prior to the race, but 50 % is/was the plan.

This weekend I didn’t run, as I was at a Schutzhund “Helper” seminar in the torrential rain. Not that I would have run in the torrential rain anyway. Schutzhund “Helper work” is basically where you learn to attack, catch, drive, intimidate the dogs in a trial, to test their mettle! Very interesting stuff, I learned a ton. Here’s a little vid if you wanna see a dude the World Championship working some dogs:

It’s repetitive, because it’s supposed to be, since you want all dogs to be tested the same way. I can say that what he’s doing is very much not easy!

Anyway, I spent the weekend learning that shit instead of running. Today (Monday) I did go out for a little tempo “tune-up” run. Did 3 km at Easy pace (4:55 min/km) then 4 x (800 m at Tempo pace + 200 m rest) (where Tempo pace is 3:56 min/km) and then ran home for another 3 km. Was good, but my right calf is pretty tight. Good to know though. It’s usually only an issue at faster paces, so I should be fine for my race.

I’ve been doing a fair bit of running at “Race Pace”, which for my 100k is a very optimistic 4:48 min/km. If you recall my goal setting session, I decided that running 5 min/km would be a good goal for 100 km, which is an 8:21, but that going sub-8 would be too hard (yet, for some reason, I listed 7:48 as my A+ goal?)

Well I later went and ran a 50 km training run at that pace, and realized 8:21 is very doable, and 8:00 is definitely within the realm of possible. So therefore my goals now look like:

  • A+ dream: 8:00 (4:48 min/km)
  • A goal: < 8:21 (5:00 min/km)
  • B goal: < 9:00 (5:24 min/km)
  • C goal: < 10:30 (6:18 min/km, aka qualify for Spartathlon)

So a slight shift, except that now my goals are more attainable. What happened to:

If this was a primary race for me I’d shoot for sub-8, but I just don’t think my fitness is there… I have to also keep in mind that I don’t really wanna thrash myself in this race. I wanna finish the race easily enough and get right into hill training for Fat Dog after a short recovery month. So I have to be kinda careful, and chill. Sub-8 is definitely not chill.

Still true, except I will play it by ear on race day, and I definitely believe I can achieve 8:21! I think my fitness may actually be there… I’m certainly faster than ever before…

But who knows? Perhaps the course is a lot slower than I think, perhaps the last 50 km will be more painful than I imagine (they always are!) or perhaps my goddamn right calf will continue to be a little whiny bitch and try to hold me back. Lots of possibilities, all easily overcome by running my guts out with no regard for my well-being, which I intend to do. It was silly of me to assume I could run any other way.


Update: Unfortunately I’m having some very slight but worrying foot pain in my right foot. Not sure when it started, but it feels vaguely reminiscent of the foot pain that put me out of commission for nearly 2 months the summer before Leadville! So I’m kinda stressing out. It hasn’t been bothering me when I run, but neither has it been going away. Still a couple days to go until race day so I’m taking it easy and will just stop running and we’ll see. If it is the same issue it’s a pure pain problem, possibly a nerve issue, so I should be able to run through it, if it does get to be an issue while running.

Should I try for sub-8? Am I underestimating the distance? Should I be conservative and stick to 8:21?

Perhaps I’m just scared…

“Saba! I’m afeared! cries Emmi.
If you are, you ain’t no sister of mine! I shout. Come at me agin!
I ain’t afeared of nuthin! She yells.
That’s more like it.”

― Moira Young, Rebel Heart

1 Comment

  1. fast eddie

    Have a great race!

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