Half Way To 100 Miles!
I get asked all the time about my training and I have to admit it has been rather inconsistent and I am not following any specific training outline. Really when it comes to the world of ultra marathon running there is as many strategies as people who run them. I run, that’s what I do. Sometime I run far and other times I go for a short jog just to keep the legs moving. But more important than the run itself is the mental preparation. I always know I can make it. That’s how I do it. When I set a distance I burn it into my soul that I have to make it. If I don’t, it gives me the opportunity to quit at the first moment of adversity. And I’ll tell you when you are running for hours on end something always happens that is a good enough reason to quit. I’ve had to run through floods and crippling knee pain. I won’t get to descriptive of the various bathroom stops…. I’ve miscalculated my water and considered drinking out of mud puddles. Had close encounters with dogs, stray bullets, and a cougar.
When I go out I envision the man I want to be is sitting at the end of my run. If I fail to make it, I can’t become that man. I think of who I want to be for my wife and kids. How I want to show up for clients. I think of when I am at the end of my life when I am looking back and accounting for my life and choices and wanting to feel satisfied in my accomplishments.
This is something I am doing not for my love of running but because this is the one thing I didn’t think I could do before I started. Every goal I make on the other side of Zion will be that much easier to accomplish. Life is hard. We go through trying to make the most of the time we have and are constantly faced with choices that determine our future. Often times the right choice is much harder than the comfortable one.
These are the things that I think of when I’m running. I don’t listen to music and rarely run with a partner. I just let me mind wander. That’s whats turned out to be my favorite thing about distance running. I have nothing more to do than throw one foot in front of the other and it feels like I have all the time in the world to think about all the things I want to do or want to do better. I try to keep my mind off the finish line. I find that once I start doing that my head gets filled with all the comforts that lie at the end and I start to dwell on how much better its going to feel when I’m done. Instead I tell myself there is no finish line. Nothing exists except the trail ahead. That seems to allow my thought to go back to future goals and what things I want to accomplish. I’ve learned that the mental discipline is as important if not more than the physical conditioning it takes to run long distances. Any negative thoughts have to be cast aside or they fester and grow like a blister until you can’t go any further. Even in circumstances like growing joint pain when I’m out I have to remind myself it is just temporary and will go away. Amazingly I seem to be able to reduce physical pain through positive thinking. (I know this is getting a little out there but bear with me.) I’ve actually experimented with this while I’m out and let the pain take hold of me for a short time and without fail it increases. But, when I visualize it reducing and going away it gets better. I’ve been studying this within cancer patients and there seems to be a lot of evidence in the success rate of overcoming cancer within patience that refuse to give in to the disease.
I say it all the time but I’m really not the kind of guy that should be able to run 100. But, I can tell you without a doubt that I will. When I went out for the 50 mile run it was no easy task but I didn’t give myself the out of ‘trying.” I was going to run 50 miles, period. And I did. So, as for my training, I will do 3 more fifty mile runs before Zion with a lot of short to mid length runs in between and eat as much good food as I can and that should have me ready.
I really want to thank every one that has encouraged me along the way. I created this blog to share the experience and have really appreciated all the support. I hope its pushed you to expand what you think you’re capable too!
I also need to thank my wife Emily for all the help she has given me to pull this off. It has been no small task on her part. I couldn’t do it without you Hon!
Happy Trails~ Joe