Four weeks ago, I called my friend and quit. I told him that I’d still come crew for him at the Vermont 50, but that I just wasn’t in shape to run it.
My training since my first 50-miler had been spotty at best: I hadn’t run more than 14 miles at once during that time. While the heat in July and August had made it tough, my own lack of motivation was really to blame.
But then a funny thing happened: As soon as I made my quitting official with that call, I realized how completely wrong it felt. Impulsively, I decided I had to run this race. So I figured out a plan to make this thing happen—a 20-miler and a 30-miler in the next two weeks, then two weeks rest.
Somehow, it worked, and here I am, staring down 50 miles of trail in the mountains of Vermont two days from now.
I’m not trying to turn this into some feel-good, “behold the power of focus and determination in the face of quitting” lesson for you all to take and apply to to your own training. In fact, trying to run a 20- and 30-miler so quickly was probably stupid and risky. But I guess I got lucky, and I’m actually feeling pretty good about this thing now.
I know this won’t be the most satisfying race I’ve ever run. No matter what the outcome, I’ll know that I could have run it faster or felt better if I’d have trained like a normal person (i.e., not back-loaded it all into what amounts to two hard weeks of training before a two-week taper).
But I’ve noticed that often when I’m not in great shape to run a race, it ends up being a lot of fun. There will be no expectations for me on Sunday, only the challenge of finding a way to carry myself 50 miles. I won’t be stressed about mile splits or worried about dilly-dallying at an aid station to make sure I only eat vegan food. (Remember? I’m eating vegan this month.)
And if somehow it ends up that with five or ten miles to go , I realize I have a chance to beat my previous time (after all, it was 95 degrees that day and it’ll be 60 this time), then I’ll have something to shoot for and a little bit of that thrill that comes with a normal race day.
But that’s not my goal. I’m running this race because there’s something about running for that long that feels good. What I want is to finish this race and enjoy every bit of it, and if that happens, I’ll be happy.
No NMA Monday?
Since the race is Sunday and I’ll be traveling Monday, it’s very likely I won’t have the time (or internet access) to write a post for Monday. But hey, if you show up and there’s no new one, you could always catch up on Thinking Bettor, my gambling blog. (Do it, do it!) But I’ll write my race recap and have it ready to go by Tuesday at the latest.
Finally, I got a big shipment of No Meat Athlete shirts yesterday. Most of the popular sizes have been out of stock for weeks, so if you’ve been trying to get one, now’s the time.
Alright, I’m out! If all goes well, I’ll be back next week with another 50-miler finisher’s medal, and probably a story or two.
Have a great weekend!