The North Face CCC Minus 3

I saw amazing Ultra marathoner Scott Jurek running this AM as I walked my dogs on the trail in Chamonix and felt guilty, but on the other hand inspired. I knew he was out to do the big Ultra (158km) but didn’t think I’d see him a few blocks from my house (and me with my hair a mess, ha ha). A few days earlier I saw the fittest looking girl runner I’ve seen in years – not sure who she was, but she had an amazing body – her legs were solid muscle – as if there was no fat on her body and amazingly cut/sculpted, also clearly practicing for the Ultra. She was also an inspiration, but made me feel guilty 😉 Seems to be a theme.

Apparently Scott was out doing a tempo run (or so it apppeared – he was moving at a fast pace and not wearing water bottles, so it could not have been a long run, and this close to the race I can’t imagine doing anything but a short tempo run). I myself have not run for a week, but don’t intend to. I want my muscles to heal up and be fresh for Friday – I am not a pro, and don’t do this every month like Scott does. And I am not doing the big race – I am only doing the little one and am supposed to run 86km through the mountains up and down 4500m in a few days. So far it’s been raining here for the past several days, and snowing at altitude. Should make the trail nice and muddy.

I am nervous about the run – just as nervous as last year if not more so, which surprises me. I feel I have not prepared as well as I could have, but on the other hand my longest run this year was longer than my longest run last year – last year I did more shortish runs to build up to the distance, and I guess this year I didn’t have to or something. I did a super slow 21k uphill race (where I had not trained at all and finished close to last) in June and then in July ran 42k by myself through the mountains as a training run, like it was nothing and felt great. But more recently, I did a 28k run that had every intention of being a 40k run, and I had to stop due to the heat and a sore foot – so I guess that’s scared me, that something like that will happen again while I am racing.

But then I am not a professional athelete and should not get worked up – my goal is really to just do this as it was last year where I put little pressure on myself to do a certain time. I really enjoyed it last year – there is something odd about that ‘sophmore attitude’ though and I feel I’m going to disappoint myself if I don’t equal or beat my old time and yet in all likelihood I will not meet it because I have not done enough speed work … but it still irks me somehow deep down. A bit stupid to expect considering how much less training I’ve done this year (schedules, weather, training partners etc.). I can’t seem to let me give myself a break and just say that this year was an off year for training due to various circumstances, and move on and figure out what I want to do next year (shorter races that I have more time to train for or an even longer Ultra or what).

Though I am not a mom, I am considering signing up with a local chapter of ‘Moms in Motion’ to train a bit harder this fall for a shorter distance (21k) and see if being in a more organized team coach situation helps out. Last year, there was a girl I trained with most weeks, but this year we had very different schedules and it didn’t work out. So those days you would maybe not run due to weather, we pushed each other to go out. This year I did not push myself on such days and it happened to rain a lot this summer. There is a running group I went to a lot last year, and again less this year because the schedule for the group changed and it did not fit in with my work hours. The new group meets for 2 hours on Friday mornings starting in Sept, and that is overall better for me. But it’s a bit pricey … I will have to consider.

I also hope it’s not miserable weather during the race and given all the rain it will definitely be muddy and treacherous in some sections (another reason I can’t see going as fast, in fact is that the conditions are going to be worse on top of it all). I honestly don’t have the greatest running bottoms for rain/snow. Anyhow, I have taken off the next three days to get some rest before the race and might spend a bit of time seeing if I can find a pair of good water proof running pants. Last year it took me 20 hours, running through the night and I figured I must be at the end of the pack – but I found out that I finished in the middle of the pack overall, but in the top 1/3 of the women last year. It turned out most people slowed down a lot more than I did over the course of the race (many also dropped out) while I had managed to keep running all the downhills and flats until the bitter end (albeit a lot slower than I had gone at the start). Let’s hope it goes the same at least in that department this year.

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