Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My 50 milers

After my DNF at Palo Duro, I have been reflecting on my ultrarunning record.  I'm slowly crawling out of my post-DNF depression, but still rather disgusted with myself for quitting.  It especially hit home after reading about Bart Yasso's race at Comrades in South Africa and his long history of running through pain (article in Runner's World here).  He has lyme disease yet has continued to race and to inspire others.  But I got a little hot and discouraged so I quit. Wah, wah, big baby.

So here is my illustrious record of 50 milers:
  • October 2009, Palo Duro: finished 13 minutes before the cutoff.  I probably would have laid down on the trail and quit if I hadn't met up with Brett, who was also running his first 50 miler.
  • February 2010, Rocky Raccoon: finished in just over 11 hours.  Not a bad finish, but my ankle hurt so badly I went and had it x-rayed the next day.  Nothing there, I'm just a big baby.
  • February 2010, Cross Timbers: a tough, hilly course, especially compared to the relative flatness of PD and Rocky.  I finished in about 15 hours, close to setting a course record.  The only slower time was set by a man in his 70s.  I probably would have quit this one, but I had to keep going to get back to my car.  I was probably not recovered from Rocky, 2 weeks before.
  • March 2010, Grasslands.  I quit after about 19 miles.  It was cold, wet, and muddy.  I still felt like a wimp, even though only 7 of the 70 starters finished.
  • October 2010, Palo Duro: quit 1/2 way through.
 Not exactly a steller 50 miler resume.  Part of my problem out on the course is the gradual loss of motivation.  I start thinking, I gave up a whole weekend for this?  I could be hanging out at home, playing with the kids, watching college football, working in the yard or around the house.  I missed soccer or football or judo!  I could take Kelly on a date!  And what's the point anyway? 

So, contrary to a recent post, I'm not going to plan on the 100k in Bandera and the 100 miler at Rocky.  I'm not saying I'll never do another 50 miler.  Part of me still wants to run a 100 miler, to try Western States or Leadville.  But part of me says, too, I could just go someplace pretty and run.  I don't need to pay a fee and get a number just to experience a nice trail.  The trail at Palo Duro is great; I love to run it, and it's got some great views.  But one lap gets you all the views and trails.  The next 3 are more of the same.

I'll start running again soon, and I'll probably sign up for another race soon.  I'm still planning on running White Rock since I'm already registered, but after that, I'm not sure what I'll run next.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sign on the trail

One trademark of the Palo Duro Trail Run is the signs posted along the course with witty and/or inspiring tidbits.  Toward the end of the loop, just before entering the camping area where the start/finish is located, one sign reads: "Adversity doesn't build character; adversity reveals character."  I guess a little of my character was revealed Saturday.  I encountered a little bit of adversity and quit.  I didn't have any particular physical reason for quitting, just a general fatigue and overall malaise.  I didn't see the point of continuing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

2 weeks! 100 miles?

Wow, I don't think I've ever gone 2 weeks without posting.  I guess I was letting a milestone sink in: my last post, the Run from the Ducks race report, was my 100th post!  Balloon drop!  Fireworks!  Party!  OK, so no big deal.  It's also closing in on a year since I started the blog.  I started it after Palo Duro last fall, and this weekend is my second shot at the Palo Duro 50 Mile Trail Run.

Last year's Palo Duro run was my first 50 miler.  I finished a few minutes before the 12 hour cutoff.  I'm heading up to the canyon this weekend again, hoping for a sub-11 hour run.  I don't know that I'm in much better shape than I was this time last year, but I'm hoping that the experience I've gained will help me in the latter miles.  This will be my 4th 50 mile race.

Speaking of multiple 50 mile races, I have decided not to pursue the Texas Style 50 Mile Grand Slam this year.  You may recall that last year I ran three 50 milers of the 5, then on the 4th I DNF'd, so I didn't finish the Slam.  In fact, the Slam had no finishers last year.  Palo Duro is the first race for the Slam, but they have changed the format this year so that instead of the 5 races from last year, runners can choose 5 of 7 possible races.  Due to my own scheduling, after Palo Duro, the next 4 I could choose from will be in a 7 week period, with 2 weeks between each race.  I don't think I would do very well with those so close together, so I'm going to try something different.

After Palo Duro, I'll return home for some hard training for the White Rock Marathon, the first weekend in December.  I'm aiming for a Boston Marathon qualifying time (3:20).  I'm feeling pretty good about it, but I need to lose some weight and crank up my pace on long runs.  After that, I've got some new races on tap.
On January 8, I'm going to run my longest run yet, a 100K (62 miles) in Bandera.  But that will be a mere training run for my next goal: my first 100 miler.  Last February, I ran the 50 miler at Rocky Raccoon at Huntsville State Park, so I'm familiar with the course.  Next February 5, I'll find out if I have what it takes to run 100 miles all at once.  More to come. . . .