Tuesday, October 5, 2010

the last hurrah

let's be clear on this one, in case you were wondering:
the whole experience, while i would count it as life affirming and positive, was traumatic on my body. you'd probably question that because i am actually going to race again this weekend. how traumatic must it have been if i am well enough for more so soon? well, let me put it to you like this - the reason i did not publish a video about the experience was because of the absolutely horrifying way that i was moving my body at the end of the race. i know what it felt like, but to watch it on screen - the slow pan from pasty, tear stained profile down to my feet, one which dragged along as if it were only an accessory or i was victim of a stroke or palsy. (what caused that was my pelvis being completely misaligned and rendering my left leg much shorter than normal.) the footage is so ghastly that i don't dare show it to you, you'd think i was a lunatic, masochist or really really stupid and stubborn.
what i realized is that it doesn't matter that i've run 1800 miles this year, or that i've done a run over 20 miles 8 saturdays out of every 10 for the last 2 years, and it doesn't matter that i ran multiple 50ks and one 50 mile in the 6 weeks leading up to this race - i was just not prepared. averaging 50 miles/ week, the building and maxing out at 80 can get you there, but it won't be purty. it simply wasn't enough. and frankly i have neither time nor desire to do more right now. someday, maybe. but for now i am very happy to run races that end at or before the sun goes down on the first evening.
i don't want to discourage you, dear friend. you should be encouraged that i really am not very talented, and that running didn't take over my life in order that i prepare. it can be done, you can go race for 24 hours if you like.. but i am very hard on myself and expected relentless forward progress. there were many, even elite runners who had naps and sit outs for multiple hours, but i would not stand for that. i came to run, not sleep in a tent. i am too hard on myself to feel good about taking extended breaks and averaging 3 miles an hour for the duration. i have decided that i will not be tackling such a distance again until i am fully prepared, because what i was doing (running, yoga, weight training, biking, speed walking for hours every week) just wasn't enough.

oddly, though it was only a few weeks ago, i feel healthy and strong and am ready for one more go. the one thing i may be lacking right now is endurance. which is hard to fathom because my "last long run" for this weekend's race topped 90 miles, but i can sense that fatigue may be my foe. we shall see. i'll be taking on the canlake 50k, which is exciting and daunting. i have never run a point to point ultra before, a race that "goes somewhere", as it were. where it goes is 3/4 of the way around canandaigua lake. the weather looks good, it is some nice road running. my pelvis is in place, my legs are strong and i am ready to go and have one last hurrah. i may completely blow up, but i am glad i am doing this. something felt left undone, and i was not ready to throw in the towel for the 5 month off season. since the race is local i can sleep in my own bed, jim and the girls can drop me off, go have some fun nearby and come back to fetch me when it's all over. this is a UM club race and it has a huge turnout this year, and of course i couldn't be more pleased to see people embracing ultrarunning in WNY. we have some great races round here, if i do say so myself, and i am very much looking forward to toeing the line on saturday and having "fun like it matters"!
of course my race report will be available sometime on sunday or monday, so be on the lookout, friends.
run on!


Bobby B said...

Good luck this weekend!

Angie Bishop said...

Best of luck to you this weekend and do enjoy yourself!!

Ewa said...

I am wondering if you are not TOO hard on yourself. Progress takes time (I should remember that) and you have achieved so much. Gosh, you inspire so many of us.
Have a wonderful run this weekend. Hope you have a fabulous fall weather. I am so looking towards your report.

megatomic said...

I hope you have a blast running around Canandaigua Lake Shelley. We were going to do that one also but my son needs to take SATs so we decided to sit it out this year. Maybe next year.

Oh and I agree with Ewa on all accounts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post Shelley. Have a great time this weekend.- Angela S.

Johann said...

I’m new to your blog and must still read about your 24 hour run. I love those races and any form of circuit race. I’m a well below average runner but enjoy the mental challenge. My best for 24 hours is 173km (107.26 miles). I’ve done 3 x 6 day races as well where my best is 689km. All of these were on circuits of about 1km (not track). I find training for these is more a matter of running ultras for a few years in a row and then throw in one of these some years with no training specific to just that race. That said, I’m so slow I just keep moving forward from day to day. Good luck with the 50km!

Anonymous said...

good luck at CanLake- don't underestimate the distance and enjoy the scenery- a great distraction!