I was running a race last week when it occurred to me that I had no intention of racing this race. I have tried to treat a race as a training run before but was never very successful doing so. This was quite a revelation to me. I was enjoying myself, stopping at the aid stations and chatting, when I decided that I was going to be done running. I felt ok and all but I just decided that I had run all the further that I wanted to on that day. So, I stopped. It was weird because I didn't feel bad about it, I didn't feel like a failure or a looser. I felt done.
I am amazed at how much I have learned about myself through running. I have learned that I'm tougher than most yet certain things will make me cry. I've learned and dialed in my nutrition and weight. I've learned what makes me faster and if I neglect certain things I will get slower. I am in tune with my body enough that I really listen to it. I learned this summer that I can't race and race and race. I get burned out, tired, wasted, apathetic. This happened not long after the Voyageur 50 miler, so, I took a break. I didn't stop running, I just stopped running with a purpose. I left the watch at home and just ran. I ran with the dogs, I ran with the kids, and I ran alone, in peace, not thinking about pace or distance or time. I then ran Zapp's Loop (the second NMTC race). I tried to race it but I was tired, and apathetic. So I took more time off and went to a few more NMTC races and forced myself to run with my injured husband (uninjured, he is faster than me) and my 9 year old son. This was really fun. I started feeling better so I did what any runner would do, I signed up for a 100 mile race;) The H.U.R.T. 100 is 100 miles over five, 20 mile trail loops on the island of Oahu. There is over 26,000 feet of climbing and it is reported as one of the tougher 100 milers around. What better way to spend a nice January day than running in Hawaii? Now that I have an upcoming race I have started to run with this in mind. I tested my fitness doing the Lester NMTC run and took 3 minutes off of my best time there, which brings me to my most recent race. The race I DNF'd.
I signed up for Surf the Murph 50 miler treating it as a training run. I had to be in the cities anyway to take my son out for his birthday (he's 22) and I needed to get in a long run as well. We started the race in the dark with many people clad in Halloween costumes. I saw Fred Flinstone, a bumble bee, Pre and others. I started out at a reasonable pace and felt ok. My legs hurt, likely from my lack of long runs lately, but I was able to keep running at that pace for 2 of the 3 loops (34 miles). I decided somewhere along the second loop that I needed to be done and so I came into the start/finish area and told them I was done. The race volunteers tried to get me to go further, but I didn't. They even gave me a medal for completing the 50k distance while trying to cheer me up for DNFing. I called my husband to come and pick me up, I grabbed my bag and started walking. I have no regrets. It was a fun run and I still got to see my son later that evening without being too beat up.
I did learn, however, I need to do several more long runs before January;)