Shoot for the moon!

If you’ve been around the Internet these last few years, you’ve likely noticed the following inspirational quote:


I suppose this could put you on some type of trajectory. But, really, how terrifying would it be to completely miss your target of the moon, and just end up somehow floating “among the stars,” which are unfathomably and increasingly distant from one another?

I will never be content simply landing near my target.

I plan a lot and work hard to make my dreams come true, whether running or otherwise. I won’t throw my rocket toward the moon without knowing exactly how much power it will take to get there. If I fire one and miss the moon – then I’m coming back and trying again. I want that moon, dammit.

I’m currently 500 miles into training to “shoot the moon” in the form of a 50 mile trail run. It’s a big, hairy, audacious goal. I’m trying to work as hard as I can to make sure that when that rocket launches on November 12, I’ll hit the moon right where I’m aiming.

So, I say – don’t be content with missing your target. If you miss, then it means get back to the drawing board. It means the challenge of trying to achieve your dreams isn’t over. It doesn’t mean you’re not strong enough or good enough. I means you’re going to be stronger and better soon.

My dog is the most inspirational dog.

The varieties of trailrunning experiences.

But first…
I went to the doctor because of some lingering soreness in my hip. Nothing serious, also not something I wanted to become serious. So now I’m on some medication for reducing inflammation, and I’m not supposed to run for at least three days, possibly six. It’s not really a big deal, but it’s a bummer. I have some great momentum going with my training, and I’m beginning to come in to some serious mileage, which I’ve been looking forward to. Tuesday was supposed to be a 7-mile run – on a beautiful day, nonetheless – and I had to skip it.

Coach says it’s a bummer, but it’s not the end of the world. I have some solid training behind me, and it’s early enough that we’ll be able to bounce back pretty easily after a break.

I’ll be able to run again soon, maybe in as few as three days. Quit complaining, right? Right. Lemme just take my bedtime dose of Prednisone and tell you about last Saturday.

The mud and the muck.
This past weekend was beautiful. The first we’ve had in a few weeks. The sun was shining, and the temperatures reached an unseasonable low 50s. It was great, and I had a 12-mile long run in the schedule, so we went out to Harmonie State Park, which seems to have become my go-to for long runs for now. Great trails, great mileage, and free entry for the season.

But the prior weeks of freezing temperatures mixed with the sudden warmth and sunshine caused the trails to become unsavory. I didn’t think about it before I got out there, but I quickly found out that the trails were nearly impassible due to the mud. It was almost impossible to get any traction. I slid around corners, surfed down hills, and face-planted a few times. Luckily I was wearing the GoPro, so you could join me!

At times, I ran directly into trees because I’d lost control of my speed and couldn’t make any sharp turns (aim directly for the tree, and put your hands up!). A few times, I had to grab hold of roots and other anchors to get myself up slick hills. It was frustrating and tiresome, not as much physically as mentally. I knew I needed to get 12 miles, but the stop and go of running in this mud was grating. It would take me all weekend to finish!

It ended up not being that bad. I did need to run a big loop on the road through the park, but it had a few nice hills, and I was still in the woods for the most part, so it was vastly superior than being in town.

Hill conditioning in a hill-less world.
I’d love to be able to run hills all week long. Not only would it be more beneficial for my training, but it’s way more fun. I like hills a lot. So the challenge is creating hills in an area that resembles an ironed shirt.

It's flat here. I don't know how well this metaphor works.
It’s flat here. I don’t know how well this metaphor works.

Last week, I arranged my short runs to go into the soccer stadium at UE so I could run up and down the stairs. It’s not much, but it feels good. I even did a three-mile track run (suuuper boring), doing the stadium stairs whenever I passed them. Garmin didn’t register any elevation change, but my calves did. They were pretty sore the next day. That means it worked! More of that, says I.

Gnaw Bone is going to be a pretty serious event for a number of reasons.
1. I’ll be running 31 miles. This alone would make it a big deal.
2. The race is run on trails. Trails introduce variables – some that can be anticipated (hills), others that cannot (trail conditions).
3. The hills, the hills…the hills. Last week, I printed out the map and some detailed descriptions of the course. I’ll be studying those pretty closely leading up to this event. 90% of the race is mental. If I know what’s coming up at any point on this course, it will help me prepare for it and not be surprised on that day.

The Mystery of Missing Motivation

This week’s training was at once successful and frustrating. My short runs were great and surprisingly strong. Thursday I ran tempo again, and when I felt like I was slowing down, my Garmin told me I was going faster – while I did not feel like I was pushing too hard to maintain the pace.

Despite strong training during the week, I hit the dreaded wall while out for my 6-mile run in Audubon on Saturday. This was perplexing at the time, though hindsight has revealed a few things that could explain it.

  • Difficulty recovering from last weekend’s race and tough trail run.
  • Choosing too intense of a course for what should have been an easier run.
  • 94% humidity, no wind in the woods! Ick.

With that in mind, I am taking this week off from running so I can fully recover from two weekends of tough, failed runs. I realized it’s quite a blow to my psyche, and emotional/mental training is all part of this process, too. I’ll be back next Sunday with a post on motivation! Because that’s what I’ll be focusing on this week. I’ll still be going to the gym during the day, working on building and maintaining a solid core. My evenings, though, will be run free.