Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oil Creek-my mistakes to fuel the fire, my season is over.

     Well, I didn't strike oil this year, but it was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had.  First, I cannot even begin to say enough good things about this race. It was so well organized, and there was never a doubt about being lost on the course, or missing any turns. The pink reflective flags illuminated the entire way and kept us moving through the wee hours of the night.
    I could not imagine a better experience.  I met great people along the way, had my parents and partner crewing me, and my brother pacing-it was truly a fantastic experience.  The course was an amazing 50k loop.  No matter how many times I read and re-read the course description it was certainly more technical than I was expecting.  It had a bit of everything to offer-single track, mud, gravel, good climbs, and rocks and roots.  Tom Jennings is an amazing race director with an amazing race, the volunteers are just as amazing.
      I could go into a full write up on the time I spent on the trails, but that's for me to keep and use to fuel me for next year.  I'm already counting down the days until registration.  I know I need to get more dense calories in, take care of blisters when they first pop up, and keep re-applying body glide.  Rookie mistakes, all of which I am ready to keep in mind for next year.  I honestly cannot wait.  I keep planning and re-planning my race schedule for next year.  I love the planning, the building of a plan to culminate in Oil Creek again...adding longer races and planning on keeping them in the schedule just continues to open more and more race opportunities to explore.  I love running, I love trial running, and I love that deep down burning pain that makes you figure out how your brain keeps your body moving.  I can't wait to get back into it!
       This year was a good running year; I took on two new race distances, had  a new personal best in the 50k distance and still came out ready for another year of running.  In the past year I have dropped almost an hour from my 50k time.  I want to keep dropping those minutes this season; same goes for my 50 mile time; and that 100...that will be mine.
       I am taking time off from a running schedule to give myself a break and focus on strength training.  My only miles until January will be through my part time job as a dog runner.  It'll be about 15 miles a week, and that sounds pretty good to me.
    I admit I'm looking forward to the changing season, I love cold weather running gear, and plan on posting plenty of reviews.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oil Creek. Less than a week until my first 100 attempt.

     To say that I'm nervous would be an understatement.  I have been having dreams about running a 100 miler almost every night.  In one dream I was at an aid station trying to change my socks, but every pair just kept ripping in half and I couldn't find any more to put on.
     I feel quite guilty with the time and thinking that the lead up to this race has consumed.  I know that there are pieces of my life and day that have suffered.  My goal is to return to those aspects and rebuild them better than before, refocus my attention on the things I've been putting off changing.
     But...until then, the race.   I ran my first ultra, a 50k in 2008.  During my training and lead up to it, I decided my five year goal would be to run 100.  I was fascinated with the people that ran them, the community that surrounded them, and everything in between.  In my mind I made a deal to do it...three or five years I'd think.  The next year, I stopped running.  I'm not quite sure why I stopped, but I did very shortly after that first 50k.
      I decided to let other parts of my life take precedent and would occasionally still run, but without a goal in  mind...the kind of running that is really just wandering around the neighborhood at a slightly faster pace.  I wandered to see the area, get some exercise and just get out of the house for a bit.  Somewhere in all that wandering I decided to run another 50k.  I ran and trained and amazingly crossed the finish line in the exact same time I had finished my first.  Then I ran another...and another.
      In the last race of the season, I managed to drop 43 minutes from my fastest 50k.  It was a good way to end the season.  Shortly after I met my running partner.  I made the decision to up my run distance and try out a 50..I had registered for one in the past, but do to work obligations was unable to be at the start.  We had talked about the 100 and Oil Creek and distances in between.  He was training for a 100 and I jumped into the training with him.
      I volunteered that day for his race, the same day registration for Oil Creek took place.  I watched a lot of people drop out, the cold took down many...but something about making grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for the runnners' in the middle of the night caught up with me again.
     I went home and registered for the 100.  I trained hard all summer, running two 50 milers (my first 50) and another 50k (dropping another 11 minutes off my time).  The 50k happened to be the very same race where I ran my first 50k.  It was on the drive home that I realized, low and behold, my five year goal to run a 100 was indeed coming true.
   Now, four days out....all I have to do is get there.  My bib number has been assigned, my gear has been packed, and plans have been laid out.  In two days we hop in the car and head across the state.  I four days, I will toe the line and find out what I'm made of.
   For me, it's not just about covering the distance within the cut off.  It's about accomplishing something I set out to do a long time ago.  It's proving that I can succeed when I put my mind and effort into something.  Whether I cross that finish line on Sunday morning or not...I got myself to the start, and am fulfilling a goal I set out.  That is what I will take through the race, and into those things that I have let fall to the side.
  No matter what happens, I feel like I will leave the trails a different person.  Fingers crossed for good weather, a good stomach, strong legs, and a good mindset. I can't wait to find out what's on the other side.