August 7, 2013

Finding my Peace

I am having such a great time lately.

Training numbers are up way up. I’ve been killing it volume-wise since licking my emotional wounds from mid-May’s sub-standard, mind-bending Three Days at the Fair showing. Dude, after skyward performances of 183 miles and 189 miles, this year’s 167 miles was a serious lesson, a spectacular ass-kicking and a mighty fine wake-up call all wrapped up in one compact package.

The message screamed at me is pretty simple …

Slow down. Have fun. Be at peace.

Leave the serious number-chasing jazz to others. Splits and pacing schedules and charts and graphs and training schedules and speed work and the like. Glad that works for soooooo many runners. Absolutely glad for them. All that stuff is not for me. Once was. Now, not so much.

So how have I bounced back since 3 Days 72? Dramatically. June featured a steady diet of 19 long runwalks for a total of almost 41 hours. July saw me throw down with 20 long runwalks and a total of 57 hours. Rock solid for me. So far in August, I’ve gone 2 hours five out of seven days. And there are a buncha weekly 5-hour possibilities on the August and September horizons.

Seven weeks and counting until Hinson Lake 24-Hour. I’ve kinda laid a whole basket of eggs there across the past five years, always shooting for a number way over my head and then coming away feeling empty. I’m betting this year, I come away full. Keep reading.

This most recent two-month block looks a lot like the one back in 2005 when I fired off a super-duper-strong-for-me showing at The Fellowship of the Ring. Plus, I’m a whale of a lot more physically fit these days than then. So, the table is being set. The work is being done.

Such an interesting turn of events this year.

Went into Holiday Lake 50K with the primary goal of focusing on The Push and not giving a rat’s ass about the final number. Results: 5:21 and a seriously giddy me.

Entered last minute my beloved Shamrock Marathon – Shamrock No. 28 for me – with a focus on doing a 9-minute run/1-minute walk routine through 24 miles, running in from there and taking what the day had to give. Went through the half in 2:00:00 and came back in a for-me-beastly 1:50:10 by focusing on Steady, Relaxed and Move Up To That Next Group. Results: 3:50:10 and then 3x10 pull-ups on the 20-minute jog back to my brother’s place.

Rolled up to Three Days 72 all tapered and rested and loaded for bear … and locked down on punching out 210 MILES OR BUST. I had my No. 2 pencil all sharpened up and I was ready for 80 miles Day 1, 60 miles Day 2 and 70 miles Day 3 or else. Yeah. Right. Problem with that set-up for me is that, well, I was kidding myself. Why? Because deep down at the very core of my being, I don’t care about how many miles I do. So that makes the whole charts and graphs and pacing plan and all that pretty worthless for me. And remarkably counter-productive. It turns those numbers into a tailor-made recipe for surrender for me. Yeah. Weird. And really, really unusual. Yet, absolutely the way it has been for me for a lot of years recently. Results: Day totals of 70, 45 and 52. See Bill overheat Day 1, miss all opportunities to hit big number and then go ka-boom …

 … and yet a really cool thing happened at the end. I super-duper rallied for those final 10 hours and managed to crank out the final 3 miles in 7:22, 7:03 and 6:49, respectively.

Why? Two reasons. I always try to rip the final 3 miles in honor of my dear friend Sabrina Little, who ran some fast laps with me two years ago and who also, by the way, is the current American women’s record-holder for 24 hours with 152-plus miles. (Yay Sabrina! You are amazing!) And also because I got my head screwed back on right for those final 10 hours. Because I woke up from a nice long nap at 10:54 p.m. Saturday night and had found my peace. Renewed – especially in that mostly empty cavern that exists between my ears – I smiled and laughed and hiked and eventually blasted my way through that final 10 hours.

So, what’s my goal for the 2013 Hinson?

Slow down. Have fun. Be at peace.


ultrarunnergirl said...

I am so excited for you. What a year so far, and sounds like you are in the perfect frame of mind!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Bill! You are rocking it!