Monday, February 27, 2012

Training Hard

So yet again I find myself looking ahead to an ultra with little to no training.  The Delano 12 approaches, and I'm almost in good enough shape to run a 5k.

Come to think of it, I've only managed to be in decent shape for Delano once, and that year I was too dumb to only run for the prescribed 12 hours. (I just like to say I got a really good warmup that year... for a bit more on that, check out the Delano Day)

In any case, I was wondering if maybe some of you could tell me how an out-of-shape novice such as myself is supposed to run a 12-hour (or a 5k, for that matter).

Maybe one day I'll learn how to really train. 

Maybe not.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blast From the Past: Ultra Experience From My Pre-Ultra Days

The gravel road passed quietly and relatively easily underfoot; the silent stillness all around struck me as a stark contrast to the rest of life, but experience had shown that the trail gets that way, especially when the run intrudes upon North Farm's typical 1am slumber.

Miles had come and gone, and there were yet miles to come and go, but the distance already covered was promptly forgotten, and the distance to come had not yet been brought to the fore.  The entire effort was encompassed completely in the now, although this did not erase the steadily growing fatigue in both the legs and the mind.

The steady cadence of leg turnover seemed the only consistent aspect of reality; even the moon and stars changing more noticeably than the organic, yet mechanically cyclical sound of foot hitting rock over and over and over and over.

Little did I know at the time that such a serene experience could be found, almost paradoxically, in the competitive fire of a race spanning days just as well as the simple late-night 12 or 15-miler in which I found myself.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Maybe This Is Obvious...

This might simply be a commentary on a concept that most understand well, but in my humble opinion it bears reiterating from time to time...

I think one of the simple joys that ultrarunning allows us is a typical willingness to do stuff.
(I know.... "doing stuff" is a far too specific and technical term...)

Albeit indirect in most cases, something about an intentionally trained ability to rise to the occasion is a necessarily versatile quality.

This was illustrated to me in a running situation on Sunday; I had run a half (don't laugh...) that morning, and while eating afterward, when a friend mentioned wanting to go for "12 or so miles" that afternoon, I didn't even have to think twice (even with ulterior motives aside...).

Obviously, this example is a direct effect of the distance-running-specific training, but after contemplating it a bit further, it seems that we can extrapolate quite a bit from such training.

Just think of the last time a friend or family member asked you to come along for something outside your normal routine.  What might have been an intimidating prospect to most was just "something else" or "something new" for you.

I also think it goes beyond the oft-mentioned dictum of "Well if I can run XXXXXX Epic Race/Run/Event, then I can do anything..."
I think it's more of a newfound outlook than a comparative look back.

Yes, success breeds success, but with the type of sport we're in, seeking out that next challenge or simply taking the blows as they come is ingrained in us.

This is something we all innately comprehend, but perhaps it's worth thinking about from time to time.  It's got some pretty cool implications...