You know the saying, “The hay is in the barn.” Well, I am stuck in the position of praying that it the case. Rocky Raccoon is in less than 3 weeks and there is no amount of training I can do at this point to improve my fitness.
The week before last, I hit my peak mileage with a 72 mile week. On the last day of that week I ran a trail marathon and felt pretty strong the whole time. I had no major issues besides the congestion & cough I have been fighting since before Christmas. When I look back at last year’s training with the stress reaction in my leg which kept me from running for 6-8 weeks, I feel like I am much stronger this year.
And then the past week I have felt like crap and haven’t run very much at all. I had planned another solid week before starting my taper towards the race. But my body had other ideas. The cough and congestion have decided to try to put me in a coma. Lethargic has become my new middle name. And with the lethargy has come all the wonderful doubts and concerns.
So that brings me back to the hay and the barn. Is there enough hay in the barn? I think there is. The speed of my long runs has been much faster this year which is an indication of strength. I have run many back to back long runs with little to no lingering fatigue as well. Physically, I am much stronger than last year. And I am fully aware that “physically” I would probably do more harm than good if I tried to push myself.
Unfortunately, only a small portion of this race is physical. Physical will get me through 2 or maybe 3 of the 20 mile loops. The remainder of the 100 miles will come from my heart and the void between my ears. So that is what I will work on for the next 3 weeks: getting my head straight for this race.
- I will have to deal with the fact that I pass the finish line 4 times and have to go back out again.
- I will have to deal with seeing my family and friends for a minute and then heading out for more pain and “alone time.”
- I will have to deal with the unavoidable pain that can show up late in the race or early and often but will show up.
- I will have to deal with the concept that a lot can go wrong that I have no control of, so I need to just roll with it.
- I will have to deal with the idea that I may be “running” for 30 hours if that is what it takes.
Fortunately for me, I have a few aces in the hole. Every volunteer on that course throws all of their energy at you to keep going. I think they would give you a piggy back ride if you asked. And then there is my crew…….an obnoxious bunch of over-achievers who would just as easily tell me to “suck it up princess” as they would “Go Tim!” Actually I think they prefer telling me to suck it up.
From a mental perspective, I know I will be able to feed off their energy especially in the last 40 miles when one of them will be running with me. I just have to make it the 60 mile mark in one piece and preferably not wearing what Susan calls “skin socks.” So that is what I will aim for. Until then……..
Let the taper begin! (Actually already did……)