October 06, 2010

Getting in the ultra groove

Another gorgeous autumn morning in Squamish, so it wasn't hard to head out the door for an easy 85-minute run with my dog Luka. We took a fire trail that runs from Valleycliffe to Quest University, which has very little traffic.

My legs felt good and I very much enjoyed the run - as did Luka - and I am starting to get very excited about the 100km race I am registered to run on November 6.

Often a challenge can seem overwhelming if we allow it be, consciously or subconsciously. By committing to putting our best foot forward, by breaking the big task up into smaller chunks, and by keeping an open and positive mind we can feel very different about approaching it.

I think that in the past four weeks I allowed myself to be intimidated by the prospect of running 100km on the road. As of yesterday, I am refocusing on the fact that I will cover that 100km in 20-minute chunks at a time while enjoying the journey. It's a fun adventure of my choice, and I feel fortunate to be able to make that choice.

I have reminded myself of all the training and racing I have done, both in the past 14 years and especially in the past five years as a runner focused on marathons, and of the 80km trail race I did less than two months ago, which was tough but not anywhere near as hard as I had imagined it to be beforehand.

Besides I walked 100km in 2005. I am sure I can do it again, hopefully running mostly this time.

When it comes to racing ultras, it is very important to remind yourself of the cliches such as:

It's about the journey, not the destination
One step at a time
It's all in your head - so make it positive and optimistic
Focus on the effort, not the outcome

With the beautiful autumn weather, I might try to do a second 85-minute run this afternoon. My body feels good and that would bring my running time today to 2hrs and 50min, similar to the run I did yesterday in one go. Breaking up long runs in two sessions is much easier on your body, and mind, while you still get the training benefit.

I have more experience with doing a 2 1/2 to 3 hour run in the morning, followed by a 30-minute effort in the afternoon which I always enjoy, than with splitting a long session in two. For today the latter seems the right option and I am sure Luka will be game for another run.

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