After a big race, I need some time to reset. A bunch of thoughts colliding inside or still fermenting that are not ready to put into words yet.
Life for me is hopping from one high point to another. Now it is like I’m in a peaceful valley.
My mind is still pretty much being still in the race. It was one of the best race I had. I say this almost for every one of them I did. I rarely had a bad rotten race. They were all great.
Racing for me – running in general, brings so much joy and goodness. I think of it as a feast. I was anticipating it months ahead. First the idea of doing something I never have done before. There is the unknown. I was wondering whether I can do it. A lot of them, the first thought is no I cannot do it. I am not there yet. Not even not there yet but it is impossible. Thinking back three years ago if you would say I will be running a 50 miler, it is just incomprehensible. It does not matter how many miles I could train for it. It just cannot be done. Even last year after having done it, to do it again in a year, you got to be crazy. That was pretty much how I felt this spring.
In my Bible Study class, the leader said imagine what heaven is like a feast. I couldn’t really grasp it at the time. I ate good meal before, but nothing bring me more joy than being outside and run, esp run in a race. It is not so much about the competition but just knowing it is preformance time, just kick things to the highest level! I wish if heaven can be anything, I like to run and hike/camp all the time forever.
For me, racing is testing the limit. Yet there is the idea of let try it. It is hard but let overcome that fear. I did not say that just to prove myself. No it more like it is going to fun. I signed up somehow. The excitement only built up. By then I knew my ability that I could run it but whether I could do it within ‘spec’ that is within the required time for the course, that is a whole other issue. I did not know that even on that day I stepped on the course. Too many factors in play. I mentioned before that to finish within the 13 hours I needed to run near perfect race. Meaning, having good race condition, not tripping over roots as I am frequently do, healthy, and not getting lost. They all came together perfectly.
I know my body. I know my speed. I did many test runs beforehand. Usually it is not as good as I wanted. I was having the feeling of not able to do it for weeks leading up to the race. You feel the body just does not want to run. Also it has become colder and night comes earlier. The week before my race, my right hip was causing trouble and my right knee was also showing sign of weakness – I had hard time climbing stairs. Not good for going into a race with a lot of hill climbs. But all these problems evaporated on race day. I ran my strongest ever. I was amazed how strong the body was. I could run up hills while people around me were dying/walking up. Even toward the end I was still full of energy. At no point I was out of breath. I did hit the wall around mile 34-35, but it was quickly passed. It is amazing because usually my wall comes very early like mile 15-16. Quick is a relative word. It took me an hour to chase down people who were around my pace. There were only few low points. My finish was strong. And I am ready to do again.
I love running races. Thinking back to couple months ago, I was debating between running the JFK 50 versus the Seneca/Stone Mill 50. In the end I chose Stone Mill. It was not a wrong choice. I don’t regret it.
Someone suggested that I should do both. At the time I said no way. No way I would be recover back to peak condition within a week. Stone Mill was a big enough project. I am not tackling two of it. But guess what. A few days before running Stone Mill , I was itching to do the JFK as well. I said I will decide once Stone Mill is over. The last few days I have been agonizing over it. This time it is not so much whether I have the ability to do it. I feel ready for it! My body almost completely has recovered by now. This would be a first – to do a 50 miler back to back!
In the end (well I could still sign up for it) after a good night sleep, I decided not to run the JFK. It was more due to worry over COVID spreading in our area. The race will have over a thousand people, probably around 2000! This includes volunteers and crowd there even though spectators are not supposed to come – yet people will going to show up anyway. Events having 200 people such as at Stone Mill are already nerve shaking, JFK is 10x bigger. Of course there will be mitigation measures such as social distancing and wearing masks, but I really don’t know how to gauge the risk of attending to such large crowded event. This is all with Thanksgiving being so close too. If I come down with Covid attending the race, I would be bring Covid home too. So in the end, I did not pull the trigger.
It does not mean there won’t be running for me this weekend. I am going to try a new training run call 48×48. No it is not a piece of wood. It is to run 48 miles in 48 hours (two days). The twist is we only do a run of 4 miles every 4 hours. This means little to no sleep. My friend told me this is a good training for the 100 miler. Because it testing the body ability to reset.
That is so true. I am good with long run. I could run 50 miles withput pause. But if you ask me to run 4 miles and then 4 hours later to do it again, yike! So 48×48 means doing it 12 times. (I am thinking of adding 13th to it to make it over 50 miles, to compensate missing the JFK.)
My goal is to start on Friday night after work, with my first run probably at 5/6 PM. The graveyard shift will be tough. I will try to catch some snooze between the runs. Saturday-Sunday night probably the worse. I have to do it till Sunday 5-6 pm for my last run. Oh this starts tomorrow!
Hopefully I have some time to tell you guys how it was next week.
Other things on my mind I hope to jot down in the future because with post being too long already, is the news of my grandmother’s passing during my Stone Mill run how that effected me and my thoughts on death. It is a lot to think about. Still too much to wrao my head to it. My brother in law said death is like a race, actually life is and death is the finish of it. I see it too, I like that, because death is not sad, but a celebration of life. My greatest joy in a race is when I finish it – the moment stepping over and celebration that follows. I am still festive.
But I know this weekend, there won’t be time for much thinking. 48×48 is a tough one.