16 October 2017

Glacial Trail 50k

Don’t look back.

That’s what I kept telling myself in the final miles of last weeks Glacial Trail 50 K. I had gone into the race with very little training or running in the past couple weeks, but this race is one of my favorites and with the beautiful forecast for the day, I couldn’t help but sign up and give it a go.

Considering my training, I wasn’t expecting to be as fast as I have been in the past. I have run this 50k race three times with a personal best of 4 hours and 6 minutes.  I had also done the 50 mile race twice.  The race starts and ends in Greenbush, is on the beautiful Ice Age Trail, and is a very "low key" event that I consider my "home race."  Add in the fact that a couple patients of mine were also running, and I came down with a bad case of "FOMO."  Fear Of Missing Out.

So I signed up and decided to temper my expectations a bit and see what the day would bring.

For the most part, it was good!  I felt strong and in control for most of the day.  With about 10 miles to go, then the legs started to weaken.  And with that, my determination and competitiveness did as well.  I was in second place and started to wonder that as my pace slowed...would I get passed by more runners?  

So I kept thinking two things.  First, I MUST finish, as my son, Edwin, would tell me to "Never Give Up."  Second, Dont look back.  

What are the possible outcomes if I started to look over my shoulder in the final miles of a race?  Well, if I look over my shoulder and don't see any runners catching me, that just re-enforces  the idea that it's "okay" for me to continue at a slower, less-than-100% effort.  That's no good!

What happens if I look over my shoulder and I do, in fact, see someone catching up?  Well, that's quite a deflating feeling and will almost guarantee that the pursuing runner catches me.  And chances are there are more than just one single runner who will catch me!

Because of these outcomes, I do my best to NOT look over my shoulder.  It's really hard though...and with about half of a mile to go in the 31.6-mile race...I looked over my shoulder.  Guess what?  Third place was gaining on me.  At this point the absolute last thing on my mind is running hard for about 4 minutes, but that's what I had to do.  I managed to hold on to 2nd place by about 30 seconds.  Then I found the closest patch of green grass, laid down, and didn't move for about 15 minutes.

The idea of "Don't Look Back" also works when it comes to our health.  Take some inventory of how you are feeling right now.  Both mentally, physically, and emotionally.  Are you well?  While the past, and "looking back" at the past can help you to understand why you're here right now, it doesn't help whatsoever in getting you where you want to be.  Improving your quality of life, your happiness, your health can only be improved by looking forward!  Take today and make a change.  Go for a walk.  Start a new healthy habit and then do it again tomorrow.  

We only get one 'go' at this life so make the best of today and strive for a better and healthier "you"! 

21 September 2017

Marquette Trail 50k

On August 5th I ran the High Cliff 25k Trail Run.  There was a super fast runner there who took off from the start in a full sprint.  I tried to keep up but it didnt take long and he was gone down the trail.  For the remainder of the run, I ran alone, in second place.  I never saw him again.  I would get updates from Edwin, Estelle, and Ellie on how far behind I was at each aid station.
"3 minutes."
"4 minutes."
"5 minutes."
Seeing a pattern developing here, I turned my attention to keeping a steady pace and finishing the race strong.  Eventually I made my way to the final aid station, with 2 miles to go.  Edwin ran up to me with a water bottle and said, "How did you pass him?"
Umm, huh?
"Yeah, you're in first place."
Considering I had never seen that first place runner, I guessed perhaps he went in the woods for a potty stop or maybe got lost?  No matter what, now that I'm in first, I don't want him to catch me!  So I took off and ran the final 2 miles hard, occasionally looking over my shoulder for an chasers.  As I ran, I thought of how great of a lesson this would be for the kids.  Keep working! Don't quit!  No matter the score, stay positive and keep working!  What a great life lesson they would learn, first hand!
I came to the finish and sprinted through, with my kids at my side...and was then informed that the aid station worker who told my son and wife that I was the first runner to come through...that aid station worker wasn't at the aid station yet when the real winner came through.  He was that far ahead of me.  Doh!
I, in fact, finished second.  9 minutes behind the winner.  So much for that life lesson...except for the fact that I DID keep working and trying, and my kids witnessed that...and once I bought them some ice cream they didn't seem to mind that Dad finished second, and not in first place.
Fast forward to August 19th, and I'm really struggling at my favorite race of the year, the Marquette Trail 50k.  I won the race last year in 4 hours and 40 minutes.  But this year, something I ate the previous night was wrecking me.  I had either thrown up or dry heaved 8 times.  I did a LOT of walking between aid stations.  And during those between-aid-station hikes, I told myself that once I arrived at the next aid station, then I'd drop.  I was done.  I'd quit.  I said that at Mile 16.  Then Mile 21.  Then Mile 25.  I'd walk in to the aid station...and then I thought about what I told Edwin and Estelle at the High Cliff race.  I decided I couldn't quit.  So I didn't.
Eventually, I did finish in the slowest time I've ever run.  But I finished.  I didn't quit.  Thanks for the life lesson, Edwin and Estelle!

Strava Data: https://www.strava.com/activities/1141496560

Devils Lake 50k

4:24.  4th Place.

Ran a steady pace.  Fueled well.  Just not in as good of shape as last year, apparently.