Thursday, July 29, 2010

El Scorcho Cu4tro

Another year in the books.  Special thanks to all of our volunteers and congratulations to the runners.  Only had to give out one I.V. this year!

And seeing the suffering seems to have stoked the inspiration.  While I'm not exactly looking forward to tomorrow morning's pre-dawn 18 mile trek, I am not utterly dreading it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Sometimes you give it all you got and it ain't enough."

I watched the video first, then I read John's post about Hardrock.  Inspiring isn't the right word, but resonating might be.  A story about lack of motivation, too much beer, not enough training--how can that be inspiring?
Despite my apparent optimistic nature, I can relate to the pessimism John speaks about.  Running ultras--especially 100s--is hard.  The training is relentless.  Getting up at three in the morning to run for six hours before putting in a full day as at work and as a Dad takes its toll, mentally and physically.  Eventually, the darkness takes over. 

As John said:
I’m not real sure where my drive went. I looked for it behind the couch, at the bar, and under the bed. It was no where to be found. I lost my “why” and in the process I quit believing in myself.

I've been there.  Hell, I feel like that all the time.  Since Heartland, my motivation has come and gone repeatedly.  I've become manic-depressive about endurance.  I'm either gung ho or out of the game--sometimes within the same breath. 

Again, John's words resonated with me:
In my mind I started making all the compromises that we do when things get tough in our lives. Compromises like, well when I go home I’ll just say that I gave it a shot but the race was just more than I could bear. Or, it will be okay, no one will think less of me if I quit. I told myself those little white lies with which I could justify quitting. Like, I didn’t train properly etc… In my heart, as we all know at these times, I knew I was lying to myself but I didn’t care. I remember... thinking, “There is no way... no way.” I just wanted to stop. I decided that when I got to the aid station I would quit. I knew that by quitting I would deal with an even greater sense of regret and pain, but that would be later.
Been there too many times to count.

And what happens when you do get up and finish one of these races?  When you put aside the pain and the depression and just get 'er done? 

Well, here is what I felt at the end of my first (and only) 100 mile finish:
There was no runner’s high, no sense of euphoria during or after the run. It was hard. Plain and simple.
 John's Hardrock trek ended much the same way:
I had always expected that there would be a feeling of elation and I would be light on my feet with a spring in my step. I thought that my heart would lift a little, knowing that I was going to get this thing done. Well, none of those things ever happened. It’s not like in the movies, this shit is for real.

So what's the point of this depressing post?  I'm not sure.  Maybe it's just another one of those posts that needs to be out there.  Another point of view.  Like Matt Samet said:
If you're an outdoor athlete and good at it, you're probably like I once was: a selfish, self-involved son of a bitch. It's always more, more, more and me, me, me, and I was no different. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to do the hardest... to be the boldest....
We're all teetering on the edge, folks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Howling at the moon.

Good times at last night's Better Than Ezra concert, but I'm getting too old to run 18 miles, play with the boy, drive to a show, and rock out past midnight. I am feeling the pain today.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another year in the books.

So begins the next track in the album of life.  Yesterday, I turned 33 years old.  A smile creeps onto my face when I think back at how much life has gotten better and better over the years.  Eight years ago, I was cramming for the Bar exam and getting ready to move to Houston.  Nell and I were engaged, but Ezra wasn't even a blip on the horizon.  I'd run three marathons, but going a mile over 26.2 seemed not only excessive, but borderline pyschotic.  I never considered the pain and enlightenment of the ultra. 
And now here I sit, sipping coffee at 4:19 a.m. and preparing to cruise 18 miles around Fort Worth at the very early stages of my training for the Mother Road 100.

Clearly, I have lost my mind in my older age.

Vaya con Dios, amigos.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Long... Ride???

Cycling has become a much larger part of my routine as the mercury has screamingly ascended to triple-digit temperatures.  I've got a great spinning class I hit twice a week at lunch, and for the past 6 weeks, I've been joining a group on Saturday mornings for 40-50 mile rides. 

I picked up a heart rate monitor from Steep and Cheap and was somewhat surprised to learn that the beat is much higher on the bike than when running. 

There are two probable reasons for this: 

(1) I have been running for over a decade now, and my body has become more efficient on two feet than on my Felt

(2) I don't push myself hard enough on the run.

It's probably both.

And so now, at 4:42 a.m. Friday morning, I will hurl myself out the front door and down the street on a 16 mile, pre-dawn shuffle.  Summer running in Texas sucks--er, I mean, rocks.


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