A lot of runner friends and acquaintances...
- ...are doing their first triathlon (the bug has bit people hard this season).
- ...are going further and harder in the triathlon world than they have before.
- ...have taken up cycling.
- ...are running 50 milers for the first time.
- ...are running 50 milers for the hundredth time.
- ...are doing their first marathon in the next year.
- ...do a few marathons a year and have one scheduled for the fall like they do each year.
There's a good chance that if you read this blog, and I count you as a Facebook friend or Twitter tweep, that you may fall in this boat.
I'm not doing a distance for the first time. I've done 20 miles before. Oh, but not 3 days in a row. Not on technical trail.
But I can accept that this is different than a lot of friends' goals right now. But it sucks, yes, that's the word, sucks, when the thought that dominates me isn't covering the distance. It is the obsession with time.
And not a time obsession the way, again, a lot of runners get to have it - "Oh, I want a new personal record." "Oh, I hope to break 3 hours on this course."
No, it's a time FREAKOUT to not get pulled off the course. And Twitter friend Gene tried to console me with thoughts that the race director will be kind (which I certainly hope so), but he also made the comment that there were many more people my pace than 10 minutes per mile on technical trail.
And no, actually, that's just not true. This race gets FAST people. 250 of them. At last year's Day 2 of 22 miles, 90% of the finishers were a 12:35 min/mi pace or better on hard trail. WHAT?!?
I know I'll be last. I don't even mind that part. I'm on that cusp of the time limit and know that a lot can happen in 60 miles to cement making that cut each day or to burn that chance completely.
But right now I feel so alone. I really don't know anyone else in this situation at this kind of distance. I know it can't be, but I look at the fast times for this race last year, I look at my almost dead last place at Gorge Waterfalls 50K, my almost dead last place at Wild Hare 50k, how did I get here?
I've run 615 miles in the last 5 months. It's not like I attach lead weights to my legs. I've dropped 17 pounds in the year. I've gone from 30% body fat to 18.5% body fat in that time. I regularly strength train 3 hours a week with my trainer. And I am still one of the slowest people I've ever known out there in the ultrarunning circuit!
Am I doing something wrong? None of that stuff sounds wrong. Does no one my pace do what I do truly? Basically no one my pace tries to do 50Ks or stage races?!?
I feel like I don't belong. I feel out of all the circles of runners with those other goals. My awesome is defined differently at this moment than their awesome.
Yes, I sometimes feel like maybe I don't deserve to be there, deserve these goals. Then, I smack myself in the forehead and kill that thought.
It's looking as hot and humid as I feared it could possibly be for all 3 days. It's going to be a rough battle. How many people do you know trying to run 60 trails miles in 3 days and make it all in 16 hours max?!? This isn't a brag of "look what I'm doing"; it's a forlorn "what the hell am I doing here?"
We'll see as it all unravels starting June 15.