Training for my ultra begins today, and these are the thoughts going through my head pretty regularly:
Can I do it? Am I trying to bite off more than I can chew? I’ve never run further than a half marathon on the trails before, and that took absolutely everything I could give. What am I doing? Is it too late to go to a shorter distance or cancel all together? I can’t run hills like that. This is insane.
I could talk myself out of this, there’s time – but I would never forgive myself. More than that, what’s interesting is that these questions aren’t the only thing floating around in my head. I have a million questions, but they are wiped away by one response every time – one that Jason Fitzgerald sums nicely in a tweet.
I know I am capable of much more than I’ve accomplished in my short time as a runner. I’ve come a long way from “I can’t run a mile,” and there’s more, and I’m headed for it – but I’m going to have to work hard to get it.
I went on a nice 5-mile run on Tuesday night. It was very cold, and it took me a mile or so to fully warm up. My left pinky finger was the last holdout, but it too was soon overtaken by warmth, despite the constant wind.
The highlight of this run was not the furnace of my body, though. At around the 5 mile mark, I picked up a stump from someone’s yard. They had taken a large tree down, and I spied what I thought was a manageable segment. I picked it up, tucked it in my arm, and continued my run. Perhaps it was the cumbersome weight of the slightly-too-big stump, perhaps it was my desire to remain unseen while running with it – either way, I soon abandoned my pace and settled for a brisk walk down the alleys so I wouldn’t be seen.
We’ll use the stump to make an ink print of it’s rings. Not all was in vain. I had a reason for carrying the silly thing.
This Christmas season has been a busy one for me. I have been involved with the Christmas programs at two churches, and I’ll finish up soon with a marathon set of Christmas Eve services lasting nearly the whole day. I’m enjoying it a lot, but the rehearsals and at-home practicing has taken time away from training, especially in making sure I get long runs in. So for the last two Saturdays, I’ve run to one of my rehearsals that takes place not only in another city, but also in a different county. This sounds more impressive than the reality, which is that it’s an 8-mile run in a straight line to get from my house to the church, where I can shower and be fresh. It’s hilly, which makes it a very enjoyable run. The first time I did the run, it was great. I took my time and felt great after.
But this past run took a lot out of me. I did run slightly faster, but not significantly so. There was a slight cold breeze, but that doesn’t normally cause me any trouble. I didn’t feel right for the rest of the morning, and never fully recovered until I took a nap.
The nearest I can figure is that I made a mistake in eating (cheeseless) pizza and breadsticks the night before. This was not the most nutritional meal I’ve had before a long run, and I think the consequences of that was digestional unrest. This doesn’t normally happen to me, but it’s a bit of a wake-up call. While I generally eat pretty healthily, I’m going to need to be even more mindful of my nutrition before long runs and hard work outs in order to be able to keep up with training for the next 20 weeks. The pizza was cheeseless and veggies, but perhaps not the best decision to ultimately fuel an 8-mile, early morning run.
2015 should be a great year. I’m really excited about everything I have planned, and I am thrilled to have this platform to tell everyone about my adventures.
What does your 2015 look like? Do you have goals? Is this the year you’re actually going to __________ ? If it is, tell me about it in the comments below!