Our summer is over and the race season is just beginning. Another October is upon us and I've already been completely taken over by the incredible weather and forgotten completely that it was 110 degrees just a month ago.
What miserably hot summer?
It's perfect out.
And running has never been easier.
No water bottle.
No dry mouth.
No getting back to your car after the run feeling destroyed and then five minutes later your body catches up and sweats through the cloth seats.
No more strategically planning your week of training around the sunrise because once it comes up it's like the Chronicles of Riddick...it's overbearing and ever present in the rest of the run. A monkey on your back waiting to pop you in the ear with those stupid symbols (that can't be spelled right....) I can run in the heat and I know many that actually enjoy it. Many go out at noon in August. But that doesn't mean it's smart or fun. In fact...I hate it. It's bearable through mid-July but the last month plus is always rough for me.
Now, you can run at any time of the day or night and it's perfect. I ran this morning at 5am without a shirt on, just a headlamp, shoes, shorts and the Disco Biscuits. It was incredible. Running up hills I've always walked in the past, cruising along at a solid pace without the interruption of walking to get my core temperature down to under 201 degrees. Running the the fall in Phoenix is a rejuvenation.
To test the rejuvenation I'm running my first race since the Mesquite Canyon 50K way back in March. March. Seven months ago.
It seems odd that I haven't raced since then, but I skipped Zane Grey this year, didn't run a 100 all summer and was focused on the Monster up until a few weeks ago. I ran a ton of marathon or longer training runs on the Mogollon Rim and a 85 mile jaunt on the Mogollon Monster course in May but nothing with competition.
So this will be fun. 18 miles up in Cave Creek Regional Park at the Cave Creek Thriller 30K, the first of the Aravaipa Running DRT Trail Series here in the Phoenix area. It has some trails I know, some I don't. But it's 18 miles and it'll be a good test of my fitness after putting in a couple decent runs the last couple weeks and one strong week last week. I'm still way short on training and being where I want to be in having a focused training plan but comfortable enough that I'm ready to head up north, run a few trails and hang with the fast guys. We'll see how long it lasts. Bret Sarnquist, Jay Danek, Tony Delogne, Jules Miller, Jeremy Schmuki and as usual in running and ultrarunning...a whole bunch of people that will come out of the group and crush a bunch of us. It's not a Dark Horse in running, it's a Dark Herd. So many unknowns that can pop up and put down a fast time. Which is part of the intrigue in running a race, especially one where it's around 50-100 runners. Just enough to know who is going into this with you and not so many you have zero chance of competing for a respectable place.
So I'll for the first time give it a shot up front of the pack and see where that takes me. I'll shoot for a spot in file behind Jay Danek as I know he's in the fastest shape of his life and after 10 miles see where each of us are and go from there. Eighteen miles is a perfect distance but I've never ran it without thinking I had another 13 to go. But as my races typically go, 18-20 miles is usually where I have a low spot before rebounding for the last ten miles of a 50K. Maybe for 18 I can hold a much faster pace and remain up front. If not...
I'm sure my ego will survive it.
R2R2R - 2012
November 2nd I'll be taking another trek down to the Canyon for a Bright Angel>North Rim>Bright Angel Double Crossing. I haven't done it since last fall and aside from a trip this February for a 50K route off the Tanner trail I haven't seen the Canyon since. So I'm totally oblivious again as to just how difficult and challenging this trip can be and always is. Jay Danek is going for his first go of the Double Crossing and of course Honey Albrecht who always makes it when it involves the Grand Canyon. It'll be my 5th double and probably Honey's twentieth or something. It's great to have done it and a once a year trip. Not sure I'd be up for multiple attempts in a calendar year. It's a lot like Zane Grey. Always sounds like a great idea until you hit about 30 miles and you're staring down 8 miles of switchbacks...
Either way...really looking forward to it and starting out at night Friday night we'll be up over 24 hours before we even start climbing back up. And we'll catch the sunrise which is worth a thousand gels.
Running 100 Miles is Hard...
Obvious? Of course. Yet still true and never more so until you think back over and over again at what you went through for that 100 miles and what you go through in the recovery stages afterwards.
I wrote a full post on how my body broke down, got really sick and how I refused to go to the doctor for 12 days of a bad chest cold and then I hit something on my keyboard and suddenly it's 1995 and you just lost your entire history paper and you have to start all over again. By no means does that make me want to take this computer, lift it straight over my head, and slam it off my desk until it shatters into 900 pieces of crappy Chinese manufacturing.
So here's the gist of it lacking in the humility, hilarity and overall excellent readability that I presented it in before:
-Ran 100 Miles.
-Felt great afterwards. Physically and mentally.
-Ego drove me to run 6 miles 3 days later.
-Immediately got sick. Body was pissed. "I hate you Jeremy. You are an a-hole for doing this to me." -my bodies inner monologue said through it's typical British accent.
-Refused to accept that my running was responsible for my immune system filing for unemployment and giving up on me. Tried to get better by running sprints on a baseball diamond, running faster and with more hills and drinking beer.
-Above recovery plan failed. With epic proportions.
-Recovery Plan B: Run 20 miles in 5 hours at elevation in colder climate over extremely rugged terrain. Follow this up with 4 hour scream fest at Diamondbacks game along with copious amounts of American made beer and processed food.
-Return to misery.
Recovery is Bliss
Luckily God created Man so he could then create Woman who then could tell Man he was being an ego driven idiot and should stay home an actually rest. Man listens to Woman. Man recovers. Woman smarter than Man.
So in the end it still rings true. Running 100 miles is hard. One way or another it's going to get you. Either the anxiety before the race, the beat down on the trail or the aftermath afterwards. Had I just gone to the doctors office say...after 3 days instead of 13 I probably would have had much less of an aftermath but that's pretty standard for me. Oh, that's a compound fracture on your arm? Neosporin and ace bandage. Be healed in 3 days. Idiot.
So after a couple weeks of feable running attempts, weakened body, and generally not any interest in running I'm back to my old ambitious minded self. While I'm going to be out of town for the Man Against Horse 50M on October 1st I still plan to run the Running on the Moon 50K as well as one of the races for the Cave Creek Thriller on October 29th. We'll see what else the month holds but at least I'm back in the seat. Looking forward to sub 100 degree temperatures and a return to the Arizona weather we all suffer through the summers to enjoy.