In the previous post, I was very sleepy while typing it up and I really had not finished my thoughts before falling asleep. Any way I meant to finish up the post. After couple days though, I forgot what I was going to write.
There were some “insightful” thoughts while running the Devil Dog race. I really enjoyed myself out there. It was not just the race itself, but the days leading up to it and following it were so much “blessed” because of it.
*already mentioned was the race was harder than I anticipated due to the muddy/”hilly” terrain. It was not really hilly. We are talking about 50-100 ft and not thousands of feet. Maybe I was just not good at trail run. It was a race that took more out of me than what I imagine a 50K would. I believe it was even harder than the 50 miler Stone Mill I ran a few weeks back. I felt I needed more effort for this race than the previous one.
I think Eastern Divide was pretty tough. Morgantown Marathon was tough also. JFK50 too. JFK is in its own class. I just don’t have that much previous tough races to compare to. Devil Dog ranks just a bit below these.
*I already mentioned on lack of preparation coming in the race might be a factor in the previous post. It was not physical preparation, since I just did Stone Mill and I was still relatively fit. It was the mental preparation. I did not give the race much thoughts. I was going to just show up and wing it. I know I would finish it. I view 50k just like a “puny” marathon. By the way, no marathon is insignificant. I thought could finish one with my eyes close. Yet even in the first loop, I wish I could quit after one loop. Of course it was silly for me to quit as long as there is time on the clock. I did want to though.
Funny story was while in my second loop I tried to calculate the required pace for me to do to reach the end of the loop to start my final loop. But in my mind the race had 4 loops while actually only three. I was panicking that I would not have able to start on my fourth loop before the cutoff. Then somehow later realized that the next loop (the 3rd) would be my final loop and I would be an hour ahead of the cutoff. I was laughing my head off for the blooper.
What got me was the speed. In your mind, you have certain pace or time you expect yourself to be able to run. Like I know, generally, I could do 5-6 miles in an hour, depending on the terrain. Devil Dog terrain was not that technical. There are a few challenging sections but most of the trail are smooth and easy to run on. There was an expectation that I could do it in about 5-6 hours once I got started. However, the reality was much different. By the third loop, I was basically dead or half dead. My pace was 2-3 mile then. The jarring difference kind of caught me by surprised.
I am not that into my performance. To me, it was just a long run that I need in order to build my body up for the 100 miler. Yet, what is kind of telling is a 25 miler run is only the first loop for a 100 miler. So basically I was done running after 25 miles. What worry me is how will I run the remaining 70-75 miles and not DNF. I had a probably unrealistic expectation of my body to handle the recovery aspect both during the race and after the race. Yet even that, I need to get my body ready for the much tougher run.
I used the Devil Dog race as a limit test to see how far my body can take it. I saw my limit reached. We have limit tested it.
What I did not go into in the previous posting was the very next day, I went up to one of the mountains in Shenandoah National Park to do a hill repeat run with couple other people. But instead of running, I was basically walking it. I am telling you, it was super hard. My legs just would not move. I did 12 miles of it and gave up. But it was kind of embarrassing seeing my friends effortlessly running up the hill/mountain while here I was huffing and puffing walking up.
After I got home, I crashed on my bed and slept to the evening (then wrote up the Devil Dog race report and quickly felt back to sleep). I was completely knocked out.
I haven’t had experienced that totally drained of energy for a long time. It was fun but yes tiring. I had expected more from my body.
After a few days of rest I was finally recovered.
I really forgot what I was going to write. There were some insightful things I was hoping to bring the previous post to a nice conclusion instead of just dropped off and said that’s all. I’m not trying to that here. I only hope I can recall them.
Why I love running long races is – it takes my mind off things. I love the moment when it was just me and the woods. I could run forever carefree. Pure running. I wish and really deeply inside if I could have heaven be just running to eternity. I like Devil Dog for that doing loops after loops. Runners hate loops, I do too, but once you get into the motion you don’t want to stop. Races are good because I don’t have to worry about the essential things like ‘safety’ and food and water. Those were all provided. All I need to do is just run.
*There is eventually an end. Weird about a race is while you want to run ‘forever’, you do want to reach an end. I would be pretty disappointing if I fail to finish (DNF). I run with all my heart to reach the finish line. I was miserable on the third loop when in my mind the finish line is so near, yet took so long to reach it. It was like every step I took, the end was just been moved a bit farther away because my pace was slowly down.
*Another idea I observed is I hate mud and water, but usually the few ‘nasty’ races I did I really enjoyed it. Same with cold weather running. I hate the cold but once I am in it, I love it. Usually I run my best (a few of my PRs were) in nasty conditions. Is that weird?
Finally, hopefully kind of tying everything is when after all the dreads about running a longer race, is seeing you actually did it. This is more about the Stone Mill race but could apply to any. I was dreading running the 50 miler. Yet it was just one step after another and eventually reaching the finish line. Looking back, it was a cinch.
Addendum. For real, last thought, A race is so much more than a training run. I do a lot of training runs, but when you do a race, it has a different feel. You feel you accomplish something. A race gets to be memorialized.
That’s all. I ask you…what things are you dreadful of but find you enjoy doing once you are looped into it 🙂 hopefully not chores.