Saturday, May 2, 2009

Back running, sort of

Chippewa took its toll on me both physically and mentally but I think I am almost through both.

First a quick update on the physical. I come away with no major issues although todays and yesterdays runs did show that I do have some work to do yet. I have a sore right ankle/foot/achilles and a tight left hamstring. I think that all of the right ankle/foot/achilles stuff is from where I stepped in a hole at Chippewa and the hamstring probably from overcompensating. I think some good stretching should take care of everything as running my way through it doesn't seem to be working. My wrist/hand that I fell on again, is ok. Still tender but I have no additional pain from Chippewa so no setback there.

About the mental side of me, that is more of a struggle but I think I am starting to get it all figured out. I want to run a 50 this year but I have had many doubts about my ability to do so. Heck, I have many doubts about everything when I think about it. I am one of those guys who acts like he can do it but in the back of my mind I am not always so sure, maybe a lot of folks are like that. Anyway, in both 50k's this year I have had issues that I didn't expect which have increased my doubts. It may be that my approach this year is wrong as in my mind, in order to do a 50 miler a 50k should be easy or at least predictable. I did 3 last year so I figured they would be easier this year and they seem harder. Where did this thinking come from as I have yet to do any marathon where I am good at predicting the end result nor have I found any of them easy so why did I fall into this thinking about 50ks? So back to reality 50k's are not supposed to be easy.

I was listening to a couple of podcasts this week which have helped me get things back into perspective. The first is called Endurance Planet and the episode was "Patience and Endurance - 4-28-2009" which was an interview with pro triathlete Heath Thurston. What I found interesting is that he talked about everyone dealing with a desire to quit. I thought it was just me, my belief is that everyone else runs a great race and never doubt themselves and only I deal with these doubts. Ok, maybe that's not rational to think this way but I have beaten myself up for having these low points. Usually a few days later, I accept that getting through them is good but I always have felt that these moments show my weakness.

The other podcast is called Running Stupid and Coach Ken is a lot like me except he seems like an outgoing social kind of guy where I am not. Although my wife reminded me on today's run that I can be when the topic is one I enjoy like running, computers, Bears football (have I mentioned the Super Bowl yet :-). Back to Coach Ken, his latest podcast was about his Mt Diablo 50 miler where he struggled to make the cuts. My fear as well for 50 miles along with getting lost and getting off course. Listening to this podcast helped remind me yet again of what it's all about.

So maybe now I have figured it out, any marathon, 50k and probably the distances beyond will have some bad stretches where I will doubt myself. Turns out I am not alone in these doubts. I just need to work my way through it as I usually have. That's why I added a quote that I have always liked on my blog.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
~ Theodore Roosevelt

My motto going forward, if the day turns bad, I will simply mentally refer back to this quote and deal with the situation I am experiencing and hopefully stop, smile and then continue on my way with the right attitude. No more beating myself up over everything. As many have said regardless of my times I am doing what a lot of folks have yet to do so I should just relax a bit and enjoy myself during the event both inwardly and outwardly.


Anonymous said...

During most of my races I go through waves of up and down in confidence. Generally after the first 1/3 I start thinking maybe I should have signed up for the longer race, A 50 mile when i am in the 50k or at mcnaughton the 100 miler when I am doing the 50. Then about 2/3's through I keep wishing there had been a shorter race to sign up for and what in the world am I doing. Steve L

Anonymous said...

The other change I nmade last year when I moved up to 50k's and was planning on the 50 miler was to change from my camelback to 2 water bottels and carrying powder. Its easyer to see how much you drink and if things change during the race you can change fluids. At the end of the 50 mile I had one with just water and scaps . Dont forget If you start feeling good during a ultra that feeling will pass Steve L

RunWesty said...

Nice to know I am not alone with the wandering confidence and good advice on the bottles, I am going to carry water bottles again as I agree its hard to monitor with the Nathan and it led to issues in both 50k's as I got behind in my hydration. Thanks for the input.

Matthew Patten said...

Hey Steve L, that is a great quote

"If you start feeling good, that shall pass" Isn't that true.

If it makes you feel better, I doubted my ability before my first 50M. I was afraid of what would happen after 30.

I was terrified the days before Superior 50 - I lived through it. And so on.

I mostly use hand helds for the same reason

Maybe consider switching the the theory "eat when you are hungry" instead of "eat before you are hungry" and get 20-30 oz of fluid in per hour.

Just a thought


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