I had planned on doing my long (”long”) run this morning, but when I woke up I was pretty hungry and also I ended up having plans at 11:30, and I’ve found that my runs aren’t very good if I go immediately after waking up, which I would have had to do. So, with some uncertainty, I opted to run later in the day. Now, we all know that when we postpone a run for later, there’s a 50% chance it’ll actually happen – if that. So I got some chores done and watched some tv and ate mac and cheese and was feeling sleepy and content, but only about 50% content. So with some snapchat motivation I headed out into the glorious end-of-September evening and had an excellent run.
I did a 10.3-mile loop that covers a mix of trails, dirt roads, and regular ol’ pavement. I’m sorely (pun!) in need of new shoes, both road and trail, as I’ve been running in the same 1400s for quite a while now and my knees are starting to notice. Plus, running downhill on trails is terrifying in them – they’ve got shallow tread to begin with (being a road racing flat), and I’ve worn out all but the tread under the arch. I brought a light but didn’t need it, except for extra visibility on the last stretch of road. I brought water but didn’t need it; it was weighing me down so I dumped it with about three miles to go. My pace dropped below 9s for the last two miles; I felt like I was flying. I felt new. And I felt like my old self again.
With this run under my belt, feeling as good as I do about it, I’m beginning to feel the tickle of a 50k in my heels sometime before the year is up. No race in particular, just me and the trees. I think this is how it needs to happen. After these past few years of injury and illness and doubt, I think I need to run 50k alone on the trails to prove to myself not only that I physically can, which will be a feat in of itself, but that I can do it without external motivation. To be successful at ultras – not winning, just completing – the drive first and foremost has to come from something within you. External motivation can help, obviously, but if that core nugget is absent, then you’ll be in trouble.
I’m still approaching cautiously, since the threat of a flare is constantly hovering around me, so playing it at safely as I can while making progress is the line I need to toe… for the foreseeable future. But as long as I stay on the healthy side of the line and can run, I’m happy.
PS. Hit 25 miles for last week, highest since in June, before I got sick over the summer. Aiming for 30-35 this week.