July 27, 2010

Post-race blues (back to 2005)

In 2005, a friend was looking for a volunteer to take part in the 100-kilometre Oxfam Trailwalker in Sydney, Australia, as one of his team members withdrew because of an injury. It was four weeks until race day.

After checking whether the team planned to run or walk this event, and he confirmed they would do the latter, I volunteered to take the spot, paid my share of the entry fee, bought a three-litre Camelbak and a reliable head lamp, and joined the team on their final big three training sessions to get to know my other two team mates.

Having finished three Ironman races and a slew of other triathlons and running races within the past 15 months I thought my fitness level was good enough for walking 100 kilometres on the trails of Sydney. And it was. It did take, however, my three team mates and I an exhausting 23 hours and about 45 minutes.
Recently I came across a note on my laptop which I wrote shortly after finishing that first ultra footrace. Needless to say, I hadn't quite recovered from the race at the time of writing this and felt a little, errrrm, lost.

As much fun as endurance training and racing is, it's not unusual to feel a little down after completing a big event. You're exhausted and the big race you had been preparing for has come and gone. Now what? The answer, most of the time, is rest and then a fresh exciting new goal.

Six months after walking the 2005 Trailwalker, which left me in more agony than any other race I've done including five Ironmans and 12 marathons, I ran the 45km Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains, Australia, in a little over six hours. And loved it. (Except perhaps those last 2km down the hill to the finish line, which my quads did not think a good idea whatsoever and simply refused to cooperate.)

As I am 11 days away from running 80km on the trails of Squamish in the 10th edition of the STORMY, I hope (and expect) that my post-race frame of mind will be better than it was after walking that 100km five years ago. One reason is that I am much better prepared with five more years of consistent run training under my belt and another is that I have already planned my next goal, the Bellingham Marathon in September.

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