Another year, another double. Yes, I did it again and it was hard, again. The double this weekend of a 50k Saturday and a half marathon Sunday isn’t easy but it’s actually next weekend’s UROC 100k that really frightens me. I’m ok with up to 50k right now but 100k is further than I’ve ever run and the last 50 miler (a couple years ago) was one of the most painful races I’ve ever had, and that was a flat one. So, I’m not sure how this is going to go.
I’ve put in the training this summer as best I could and best that I know how with several long races that really tested my endurance, with a lot of elevation gain that I’ve been finding helps the most with endurance, and with probably not quite enough really long runs but as many as I could muster.
Usually I don’t like tapering for a race as it means feeling out of whack with my legs and the uncommon feeling of not getting in enough training that I feel like I’m getting out of shape, but sometimes it’s a bit of a taper that gives you the chance to really just relax a bit and find some other things to do that you’ve been neglecting, like work. With a taper, it’s important to relax and know that all your training is behind you and there’s nothing you can do in the coming week or two before a big race that’s going to make you any better, the only thing you can do, as my coach used to say, is screw it up. So you rest more than you think you should, run less than it feels like you need to and get a few more things done that weren’t likely to get done if you’d been training hard, like dishes.
A week in between two big races (or three) really takes some patience. It’s the hardest time to be a hard charging, always motivated, competitive athlete. Trust me, all you Type A runners know exactly what I’m talking about. This week (or what little there was between travel) was spent occupied at work and at home with very little running involved hoping that I would be recovered and ready for this coming weekends 100km. Saturday immediately after the 50km, I was quite selfish and took a long 45min turn in the Recovery Pump that was available courtesy of Mark DeJohn (awesome ART guy). Squeezing and pulsing compression on my legs right after that hard effort was exactly what I needed before hopping on a plane to SLC and Ogden, UT. Of course, to continue the recovery I made sure that I got two large burritos down at the race, some Hammer Recoverite prior to that, and back into full length Reco-Fit Compression Sleeves.
Limited recovery sleep was all I could get with a late night arrival into Ogden and an early wake-up for the Xterra Championships Sunday morning but the legs didn’t feel too bad…until I started the warmup. No offense to anyone senior of my years but I felt like I was 90 and I’m guessing that this is what every run will feel like when I show up to a race and there is only one participant in my age group, and oh yes, that will be me. My last race will be the one right before my wife murders me for being gone every weekend.
Once I got moving with no serious injuries my legs started feeling better and knew the competitive racing would take over and give strength to my legs. The rest you know the story to and I don’t see a reason to go into details, except to say that Paul Mitchell (not the real guy) gave me some sweet racing stripes for this coming weekend. Lets just hope they do what they’re supposed to.
Recovery is the name of the game this week and we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out how well I played this game these last two weeks. It’s always somewhat of a crap shoot as to how well you taper or peak. Everybody accepts a change in training load in different ways and I’ve been finding that tapering for an ultra is unknown to me and seems to be much different than tapering for a 3km Steeplechase. I’m scared out of my mind of the 62 mile distance but know that, barring any injury or rogue roots and rocks, that I will finish.
Oh, and by the way, I got hooked up with a twitter account finally. @MaxKingOR Follow meeeeeee!