Come And Get It.

Tomorrow is the Bear Paw 5k, and I’m crazy nervous. It’s my last race for the summer, and everything I’ve done over the past six months culminates tomorrow on 3.1 miles of pavement.

Earlier this week I emailed my mentor and friend Matthew Whitis for advice. See, I’m feeling good. My last couple track workouts have left me feeling like a caged animal, hungry for more. My threshold work has been solid, almost dare I say, “easy?” I’ve finally shed some of the extra muscle mass I was carrying around from the winter, and I feel lean and strong.

This is a strange place to be, this feeling of confidence. In two years of trying to break 17, I haven’t felt as prepared as I do right now.

But despite all this, there is a constant battle of internal wills. The weak me is full of doubt, second guesses, and negative examples. The strong me knows I’m ready, have been, and tells me I can do it.

Matthew’s email was great and closed like this: “Know you’re ready, execute the plan, and finish strong. Concentrate! Be present and don’t give in.”

Don’t give in.

Don’t give in to doubt, fear, or pain. In a small way, it echoes the message R4V pushes to Chief, Stacy Pearsall, and Nate Beard, folks who face a daily struggle on the road to rehabilitation. Don’t give in to the easy way out. You are strong and capable.

So in the name of our collective ideal realities, whether we’re racing for a PR, healing, or simply trying to get out the door for Sweet Mother of Mercy, another run; I say to our doubts and fears, “Come and get it.”

What we seek is already within us, and nothing can take that away.

Race Tomorrow

So I’m racing tomorrow, which should be fun. It’s the Mayors’s Marathon weekend, and there will be full, half, and a five miler, which is what I’ll be racing. It turns out it’s actually a 5.6M, which explains the slow results over the past years, which means the times were not so slow at all.

My training isn’t geared for longer races like this, but I have been doing longer tempo and threshold efforts, which should help me a bit. My long runs, which have been 13-15 will help as well. I do worry about the lack of specific pace work, though, as my stuff is either 5k pace or tempo (somewhere in the 5:50s), and little in between. I’ve got butterflies already, which is probably good. I hope this gives me a good feel for where my fitness currently resides. The course is in my hood and very familiar to me, but there is a burly hill a half mile from the finish. I figure if I can hit 5 around 28:30, I’m going to be pretty happy. After that, gun it for the finish as much as I can.

I’ll be sporting my R4V colors loud and proud, so hopefully I rep well. I feel pretty good. I’ve been holding steady mileage over 70 for the past month, and I’m recovering from some hard days earlier this week. Sunday’s long run was 13 @ 6:17 pace, and Tue was a little rough with HWT in the am; pm was 13 x 400 w/ 45s rest averaging 1:20. I scaled down Thu, limited the HWT to upper body, and just did 6 x 10s explosive steep hill bounds at the end of my run home. What does all this mean? I’ve got no excuses tomorrow. I’m fit, recovered, and ready to race hard.

Jen is running the Half, so after I finish, I’m going to turn around and run the last part of her race with her. She too is more fit than she gives herself credit for; on Wed she did 8 x 400, all around 6:40 pace! I keep telling her that with a good year of training, she could be a real contender. Convincing her has been a tougher sell, however 🙂

Well, that’s it for now. Wish us luck and stay tuned here and on FB for tomorrow’s results!

20120622-093450.jpg

Love+Hate

Yesterday afternoon, I ran home under a great big blue sky of spring Alaska sun. It was 50F and there was just enough breeze to remind you’re just a few degrees off the Arctic Circle. I will say, this was exactly the type of run I looked forward to around Dec 21st, as I pulled on layer over layer and prepared for yet another run into the inky darkness with only my headlamp for company.

However…

I also spent the first mile yesterday hobbling like a geriatric. There just is never a smartphone video camera around when you need it; I would have loved to capture that first mile. Honestly, I had to smile despite the morbidity residing in my quads. It didn’t get a whole lot better, either. Any stop or sudden deceleration was plain old painful. On top of it all, the fuel tank was a little low. 6.5 in the morning + 10.0 home in the afternoon = need for lots of calories. About a mile from home, the magnificent Tordrillo Range spilling sunshine and cloud break off my right shoulder, I stopped, stretched my tight calves, and honestly considered calling Jen for a ride home. By the time I made it through the door, all I could think about was food. I sat down in the pantry, ate half a bag of crappy snack mix, two handfuls of almonds, some kind of Japanese energy squeezy-thing and followed it up with a recovery shake. Gross.

If this sounds heinous to you and makes you wonder why I do this day after day, you’re getting it. The fact is, anyone who only has good things to say about running either a) runs less than he/she claims or b) is attempting to sell you something. Like fish oil. Or the “only running app you’ll ever need.”

Kneeling on the altar of the Great Truth Machine

The truth of it all: like John L. Parker put it in Once a Runner, running is “all joy and woe.” There are days when everything clicks and output is which despite effort being low, and those are the rare treasures. Everything else is the true substance of running, and it might hurt, but boy it hurts so good. Yesterday was just another reminder of why I love to run. It sucked starting a ten miler understanding that it was going to be a long, slow sufferfest. But man, it was awesome to be out there enjoying the vernal sunlight and to know that the more I hurt today, the stronger I become tomorrow.

I’m interested in what you think – leave a comment with a story about your most heinous/awesome run.