Friday, July 12, 2013

I Realized I Was Too Tough To Kill

That hill had a purpose. It showed me I was too tough to kill....

If you missed my blog entry earlier today leading into this one about my past 10 weeks sleeping in an altitude tent, the reaction of people to it, why it's not cheating in the slightest, how my metabolic efficiency has improved during that time, then check it out here!

I had an awful weekend of running. I just had an awful weekend! I was lethargic and just felt really off. Even though the heat wasn't really much worse than usual, I felt like I was absolutely melting. It was not my weekend.

I've been training well, but my miles, eh, they never look that big. And then crewing Western States, and the added stress and lack of sleep of American Airlines screwing up our travel, losing our luggage, and running around making backup plans did NOT helpful. The whole week after being home, my resting heart rate in the morning was a little high.

Based on all of that, Coach Jeremy gave me Monday off, which meant I didn't get to do hills with my running group, the North Texas Runners. I would have to do them alone on Tuesday. I admit my faith in myself was feeling a little off at this point too.

The Workout

Coach's assigned workout was 24 hill repeats on a 60 ft gain, 0.15-mile long hill. That's a solid 12% grade. It's a darn good hill. So 6.9 miles (not counting warmup) on ONE hill. And a total of 1,440 feet of uphill and downhill.  So I would get about 1/7 of the gain/loss I would experience next Saturday at Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Mile, in a little less than 1/7 of the distance.

This translated into 1 hour, 45 minutes ALONE. 100 degrees in Allen, Texas when I started at 7:15 pm, and I finished as it was just finally totally dark at 9 pm.
Just a portion of the big hill, from another NTX Runners hill night

I kept consistent splits the whole way. Powerhike hard the up (which is what I, and many ultrarunners, would be doing on the mountains at Tahoe Rim Trail), and run easy all the downs.  Only short stops at the bottom on occasion to refill my water bottle from the water cooler I brought or take a drink.

And 18 repeats into it, the mantra entered my head, and I stayed strong the rest of the way:
I will finish Tahoe Rim Trail 50M. It might not be pretty. I might be the last person in my distance. Let's face it: most people my pace are no doubt doing the 50K. But the hill served its purpose. I knew I could beat all the ups and downs that Tahoe will throw at me because I'm determined to finish. Note that this includes the kitty litter sand hike of 1700 ft gain in only 2 miles at Diamond Peak - the climb is legendary. Yeah, you're climbing a freaking ski slope basically.
It's a wide elevation profile, so click on it to see it big!

So let's get ready for a 15-ish hour party at Lake Tahoe next Saturday. I'm hoping to find some blogging time before I travel next Friday to document more of my mental state so I can come back to it before future races. And my mental state I mean, yes, I know we're all insane in the the ultramarathon field, but the psychology of what will get you to the start and safely get you to the finish is completely fascinating to me, and I continue to learn so much about myself!

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