Ok, so I really do have runs/races where I really just nail it and they go just as planned. Runs where I think I might just be pure awesomeness..well...not quite ;). But those aren't nearly as interesting, no do they teach me nearly as much, nor do they occur as frequently.
This weekend running agenda was for 5 hr trail run today and 3 hr trail run tomorrow. Closest trails for me are an hour and change away. Since I had a double header, we opted to come spend the night in Tulsa, near Turkey Mt where I planned to do both days running. We arrived in Tulsa yesterday. There was also a 50 mile ultra run going on right next to the trail system I would be running...Midnight Madness 50 miler. Started at midnight last night. I stopped by the sponsoring running store..quite by coincidence ;)... and was struck by the serious (and seriously delusional) desire to run it. The temps were going to be unusually cool and in my pea brain I thought maybe I could pull of some magic and have an awesome finish...he he he. I started doing the math and reasoning in my head that doing a 50 mile race in one night would be very similar to running total of 8 hours of trail over 2 days...Coach wouldn't mind, right? He'd agree..right? He's on vacation and wont be back till next week.... I contacted the race director...I COULD still sign up. Never mind the fact that I just came off a 50 mile-san juan and have been pissing and moaning all week about how my runs were lack luster and I seemed tired when running, struggling a bit....This story would be much more interesting if I had actually gone through with it. Fortunately, a heafty dinner and finally sitting down for a while subdued my delusional thinking and I opted not to go for it! I realize now (post 5hr trail run) that a 50 mile race would have ended in pure disaster for me. Soooo on to today's run....
I think part of the reason I wanted to do the 50 miler was because I REALLY was not looking forward to a 5hr trail run on turkey mt. It's a 2 mile square hill with trails that zig-zag all over the place. It's fun for shorter runs and races, but you feel a bit like a mouse in a repetitive maze after a couple hours and unless you are running with someone it can be insanely repetitive. Plus, I've about worn out those trails, I know every square inch. I opted to go predawn with a with a light to avoid the heat of late morning/noon. Grabbed a small cap light that I would hand carry since I knew I would only need it for a few miles. Bad choice. It was such a tiny and dim light I could hardly see the trail. I picked my way gingerly over the technical trails praying I would not fall. Then came the spider webs. I'm used to spider webs, but usually I can see them first..and usually it's just like a few stringers across the trail across my chest or brushing my arms. These were the Charlotte's Web kind.. big wide meshy webs..in my face with no warning. I must've been a sight. About every 50 feet I'd run through one smack in the face, let out an uncontrollable scream and wave wildly with this tiny little light...no longer shining my way mind you but shining all over the place like laser lights in a disco. If I weren't so terrified it would've been more funny. Sun finally came up and 3 miles of trails cleared of spider webs for the rest of the hikers that would be out today.
My agenda was for this run to be "a walk in the park". Getting my heart rate in the upper middle zones going up hill and recovering in the low zones going down. The problem was, nothing felt like "a walk in the park". The first few miles were easy. Then easy was zone 1-low 2 only. even uphill, downhill, flat. When I'd try to increase effort/heart rate above mid zone 2, fatigue and serious desire to quit would kick in. I struggled with this the whole run. I had a near constant desire to quit. It played over and over in my head. I tried to make what was left...4 hours not sound so long. I played all kinds of mind games. I tried slowing down, speeding up, nothing removed the seemingly overwhelming desire to quit. I took a few walk breaks. Walking was even worse, when I'd walk I just wanted to sit down and cry because I couldn't run. And I actually felt more tired walking than running. I finally quit trying to push anything. I was mad and sad and tired. At 3:45 I just melted down. I walked, I kicked the dirt, I was mad, and I decided I was done. I would quit just as soon as I got off the trail.... I walked over to the aid station that was set up for the race and ran into a friend. He was working the aid station, he would've been running, but he had broke his foot. I was so self absorbed and oblivious that I had the nerve to whine, saying I was struggling with motivation to finish. He raised his cast and said, "Here's your motivation". Shocked right back into reality. I nodded. and I ran. I finished my 5 hour run/pity party.
Tomorrow is a new day, another run, a fresh start....