Monday, August 31, 2009

I came across an open letter to Dean Karnazes that encourages the "Ultramarathon Man" to take a break from running. Far from the usual Dean-bashing that takes place in the darker corners of the internet, Byron, the author of the letter, appears to possess sincere respect for Dean. He lauds Dean's past competitive achievements, but cites Karnazes' three most recent races (two of which resulted in DNFs) as evidence of Dean's "problem"--racing too much. Byron concludes his letter with this passage:

No one will think less of you if you decide to bag your next however many races. Seriously, you've established your running credentials and they stand for themselves. If anything, continuing to race in the face of your current adversity could be a detriment to your reputation as a runner. You were a big man to drop when you needed to at Western States and even bigger man when you let Helen Cospolich tow you at TransRockies. Be an even bigger man and say enough is enough... for now. People will respect you for your discretion.

Anyway, I sincerely hope you seriously consider taking some time off from racing and maybe even some time entirely off from running. I'd love to see you roaring down some single track more like your former self come next spring.
Dean's not the only one going through a rough patch. Mark, the seemingly unstoppable Welshman, is also dealing with a running funk.

I don't know that I've ever been guilty of overtraining, but definitely over-racing. I think "The Quad" exemplifies that. 4 ultramarathons in less than 4 months was too much. By the time Rocky Raccoon rolled around, I was burnt out.

So this time, I've gone the other way. Minimal training. Long runs, yes. But that's it. No pushing it if it doesn't feel right. I guess I'll have to wait 6 weeks to see if it works.


Reese said...

Rough patch? Second in the Canadian Death Race after finishing Badwater a few weeks before? Unless this guy knows Dean personally, he should probably mind his own business. But since Dean has cracked his ribs, it may be a moot point.

Bryon Powell said...

Hi Ryan,
I'm glad you found my note to Dean sincere and self-applicable, which was largely the intent of the message.

Yes, Dean's run the 50 in 50 and lots of other high-mileage accomplishments, but what is over-racng can vary between individuals and even for the same individual depending on the many non-running factors in one's life.

Best of luck in your future racing... and breaks from racing.

Happy trails,

Mark said...

Hey man, thanks for your comment on my blog. Appreciate the advice, and I'm pretty sure we'll keep up our reunions at several Texas ultras this winter.

Take it easy. I'm sure you'll do great at Headlands, and I'll be rooting for you.

Ryan V. said...

Thanks for the responses to my post.

Reese, I think Byron's comment on this blog sums his sentiment (i.e., sincere in his respect for Dean and generally self-applicable).

Byron, thanks for stopping by.

Mark, I'm glad you and I will run together again (at least at the start of the races--before you jet past me). I plan to run Bandera again and will likely pace Miles at RR.


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