Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stay the Course!

So I decided that my first race of the year would be this low-key event called Moab's Red Hot 50k+. What I didn't realize is that the + could mean more than what was advertised as a 34 miler (50k's are about 31 miles), it would have many meanings by the end of the day.
I was really anxious to to run on solid ground and have some decent footing for a change. I have been running on so much ice, snow and mud this winter that I have forgotten what dry dirt feels like under foot.

Everything was going well for the first part of the race, legs felt great, feet were fine, and my stomach was stable. I was in about 5th position at the 20 mile mark with 2 other guys when we decided that we didn't like the current course that we were on. We didn't make the conscious decision to go off course, but we did ignore the red flagging that indicated it was the wrong way. A mile and a half later we decided it would be better to stay on the intended course. I later learned that we weren't the only runners who got off course as it was sometimes difficult to know which way to go on the long sandstone sections. I guess I'll just say that I really got my money's worth after my GPS showed a total of 37.7 miles instead of the standard 34. I will also notch it up as a good learning experience on a great course. I recorded about 4600' vertical for the day over the 5 1/2 hours that I was out there having a great time.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Flashback - There is no Finish

Anybody remember this poster from the late '70's early '80's?

I did a few weeks ago after being on the trail for about 2.5 hours I could definitely feel the fatigue in my legs as I made my final ascent of the day. My mind started drifting as it normally does, when I remembered this poster my Dad had put up in my room when I was about 9. I could remember the title, but I could not remember the phrase that went with it. Of course the phrase is not exclusive to running, but I remember that it was at a time when runners would speak of the "runners high". I probably read that poster a hundred times trying to comprehend what it meant. The ironic thing is that I already knew what it was stating. It felt good to push myself to my limits... (the fine print is below, minus the Nike marketing stuff)

There is No Finish Line
Sooner or later the serious runner goes through a special, very personal experience that is unknown to most people.
Some call it euphoria. Others say it's a new kind of mystical experience that propels you into an elevated state of consciousness.
A flash of joy. A sense of floating as you run.
The experience is unique to each of us, but when it happens you break through a barrier that separates you from casual runners. Forever.
And from that point on, there is no finish line.
You run for your life. You begin to be addicted to what running gives you.
Beating the competition is relatively easy.
But beating yourself is a never ending commitment.