Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Know What Will Cure Me of This Running Funk! Signing Up For More Races!

About $350 worth of races in a single day; can I really afford this? Hell no! But if it gets me on my feet and training again, it will be worth it.

I haven't run a single step since the OP-50, 2 weeks ago. I gave myself one week off as a reward, then when I came to the end of that week I decided I deserved another one. If a marathon gets a week off, a 50 should get 2 weeks, yes? Yes. Anyway, my foot still hurts. I did something to it that I didn't notice in the race but that I have been noticing ever since. Nothing big, just a little pinch on the top that hurts when I flex my foot -- like when I step on the clutch or pivot around really fast to yell at a dog or something. It's finally better today. Also, I have a new puppy and they keep you very busy. I feel supremely guilty for making her stay in a crate all day and then making her stay in one during the evening too. Annie and Dylan just started obedience class in a very untrained condition; sick 3-week-old kitten is clinging to life tenaciously and refusing to die, thus requiring bottle feedings and lots of medication; I want to get a pair of Hokas to cushion my wimpy feet from the ouchy sharp desert rocks on the trails but I don't want to spend the money or drive to Phoenix to try them on; I want a schedule with lots more cross-training now that the weather is perfect again but I can't find one that has high-enough running mileage and writing my own schedule doesn't compel me to obey like a "real" schedule hanging on my fridge does... I could go on with the endless excuses but truthfully I just haven't wanted to run. Still don't, really.

But! Today was the opening -- and closing -- day of registration for my all-time favorite race EVER -- the Pikes Peak Marathon. I have been looking forward to this day since last August, when the PPM thrilled me so much I knew I would not only come back, I would come back and do the Double next year. (The Double is when you do the Ascent only on Saturday -- run up Pikes Peak and take a shuttle down -- and then do the Marathon on Sunday -- run up AND down.) I loved Pikes Peak so much not because of the beauty, but because of the pain. It's hard to run up that mountain where the air is so thin and the trail is so steep, really hard! And if the marathon hurt, well, the Double has to hurt more, which means it is... better.

There are lots of other masochists just like me. The Pikes Peak Marathon fills up fast. Registration opened at noon and closed when it reached capacity, I think around 4:00. Needless to say, I had my fingers on my iPhone the second registration opened. I shamelessly ended my class early -- veteran-centered care is no doubt very important, but it is NOT as important as Pikes Peak Marathon registration; nothing is -- and then walked around feeling high all day with the joy of the Double to look forward to. I halfheartedly tried to figure out why the anticipation of so much suffering filled me with such euphoria. Couldn't figure it out. It was a gorgeous spring day today and I finally decided I didn't care why.

Then I came home, caught up on the Pikes Peak Marathon message board, watched my favorite YouTube video from last year's Marathon, and was in the mood to serve up some more pain for myself so went ahead and registered for that 50-mile race in Bishop May 19th that I have been flirting with since, oh, about the second day after the OP-50. My reasons for picking that one: 1) I can drive to it, 2) it's open, 3) its aid stations are never more than 4 miles apart, 4) practically all the elevation gain is in the first 20 miles, 5) I grew up in the Sierras so it's only fitting that I should do a race there, and, 6) I've always wanted to go to Bishop. Seriously. I am intrigued by it because I always see signs pointing to it when I am out in the middle of nowhere, like driving from Mom's house to Las Vegas out in the middle of some barren, empty desert, coming up to an intersection with Highway 395 and a sign saying Bishop some impossible distance like 300 miles in a direction that leads directly away from civilization... I don't know why, it's just always seemed like a place I wanted to see. Well, now I'll get my wish.

As far as me saying I'd never do another 50 again, well, everyone was right to correctly spot that for the BS it was. Oh, I meant it at the time but in hindsight I can see that OF COURSE I have to do another 50; I can't let that crappy performance stand as my 50-mile "best". What better time than now, when I'm already in 50-mile shape and don't have to do anything but maintain it, to strike while the iron is hot and  sign up for another one?

Now all I need to do is for the love of God dredge up a schedule from somewhere and get it up on my fridge, and stop eating like a pig (one more Shamrock Shake before they're gone and that is IT!) and run this stupid 50-mile race in under 12 hours and then do the Ascent of Pikes Peak in under 4:15 and the Marathon in under 7:00. That's not asking so much, right?

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