Monday, March 23, 2015

Rudderless

I haven’t written here in a while, because frankly, there hasn't been much going on.

The first two races on my 2015 Calendar were both rescheduled due to weather and each got moved to dates where I was unavailable to attend. So, the last time I ran a step in “anger” was 16 weeks ago at the TARC Winter Classic 50k, in early December. Which is probably the longest non-injury break I’ve ever taken from racing. And, even then, I was kind of going through the motions at that race as I was still recovering from Ghost Train.

In the absence of racing, I’ve been doing my normal amount of training this year. I’ve averaged about 60 miles per week (all outside) during one of the coldest and snowiest winters I can remember. I’m not injured, and I haven’t gotten sick. So, I guess I can’t complain too much. Still somehow, on most days lately, I feel rudderless. Adrift on the training ocean with nothing to steer me or guide me home.



 

One of the things that I’ve tried to do this year to shake things up and help reduce the monotony of training primarily on pavement is something I’m calling my “weekly challenge”. A workout that occurs at least once a week, which is designed to push me out of my comfort zone and help break me out the training rut I’ve seemed to have fallen into.

These weekly challenges have included…

A First Morning run of the Boston Marathon course, a long road run with pick-ups on the hills, a run on the new Gate City Marathon course, a 3-hr run on snowmobile trails, a 20 mile Pack Attack run, a run up Mount Kearsarge North, a run up Mount Monadnock and a tempo run every other week, or so. The tempo runs have improved slowly over the course of the last couple months, but they are still a far cry from where I was 2 years ago and where I need to be if I want to improve my leg turnover and lower my race times this year.

I’ve also been snowshoeing. A lot! At least twice a week and sometimes every day during the week. I’ve done fast stuff and I’ve done long stuff, including a snowshoe half marathon in January and a snowshoe 20 miler last weekend on the TARC Spring Thaw course. 4 ½ hours of running on snowshoes was a great workout and made me feel a little like I did during much of my Ultra Training last year.

However, unlike last year, I don’t feel the same fire I did while gearing up for the 100. It’s almost like the motivation for last year’s goal race burned so hot for so long that it extinguished any and all flammable material in my possession. Leaving a charred and barren motivational landscape. I guess the goal of running shorter races (only faster) just doesn’t hold a candle to the motivation of running a hundred miler for the first time.

I hope to re-kindle a little bit of that flame this coming weekend as I'm gearing up to race for the first time this year at the Eastern States 20m. It’s been 10 years since I last ran this stalwart on the Spring long distance racing calendar. Last time I did it, back in 2005, I ran an out-of-my-mind 2:10 (6:30 pace). This year, if I come within 20 minutes of that time (or about one minute per mile) I’ll be happy.

After that, it’s the TARC Spring Classic 50k where I was originally hoping to follow up last year’s 4:29 with a go at sub-4. However, with the Winter we’ve had (and with just 4 ½ weeks til the race) the trails will probably still be covered in snow and ice.

Oh well. Good thing I’ve been working on my snowshoeing!

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