The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
I’m usually pretty good at learning from my mistakes. At least most of them. After DNF’ing at the Leatherwood Ultra in 2016, I knew the changes I would have to make to finish this time.
Pretty simple change to my flat-lander style of running. So I am doing things differently this time. Of course, in this area there are no hills even remotely similar to what I will face in North Carolina. So I have had to adapt. I have added the stair climber and incline treadmill at the gym as well as trying to do some additional leg strength exercises.
Unfortunately, because I am also trying to build up my base miles at the same time (the race is 34 miles long), my long runs have been more flat than hilly. And then I ran the Thonnica Khills trail run last week. On a positive note, my climbing legs were greatly improved. But on the negative side, my descending muscles were non-existent.
Time for another change. Now bear in mind that I only have 11 weeks until this race, so the opportunity for changes are getting thin. But this week I did two things different. I added in some additional leg strength routines to work on my hamstrings and descending muscles. And then I sacrificed my body during my 16 mile long run to work on the descents.
It was supposed to rain this morning. Or at least be overcast. So when I arrived at my old racing grounds, I was not prepared for bright sunshine, heat, humidity and 4000 high school cross country runners training. But I stuck with the basic plan anyway: DESTROY YOUR LEGS.
I meandered around the outskirts of the park for a bit before heading across the street to find a clear area and an unoccupied hill. And then I ran up and down it 20 times. By now, I am about 6 miles into my run and my legs are feeling it. My bottle is also empty and the heat is increasing. So I run back to the truck for a refill.
Another pass around the outskirts and I picked another hill to abuse myself on. Another 10-12 repeats, and my legs were angry. It’s now very toasty and my bottle is yet again empty. I come across Christine who is doing an 8 mile plus walk and I walk with her back to the truck.
I still have 6 miles to go and my ability to really run is severely diminished. And then all the excuses and CRAP starting filling my head. It’s hot. I shouldn’t have thrashed my legs early in the run. I am probably dehydrated and may die. I can run the other miles later.
That was all bullshit. The first 10 miles or so of this run is exactly what I had planned. Make my legs hurt by running downhill. The next 6 miles will just be plan B: work on how hard headed you can be. So I did. I kept going and going and going and I finished. Hard Headedness accomplished!
According to Strava, I ended up with 744 feet of elevation for the run. Here is the graph:
Here is the graph for one 8.5 mile loop of the race. They look just the same don’t they????
Yeah. I already know it. I’m gonna die. But before I do, donate to my fund raiser for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation!