Following big races I often find myself lost amidst a deep ennui, aimless without a goal to work towards and bored with all of the extra time associated with race recovery. In such a state I found myself aimlessly flipping through Ultrarunning’s race calendar, just checking out upcoming races to see what’s going on. This, my friends, is a story of how post-run ennui mixed with race calendars can be a dangerous combination.
I clicked on the Razorback Endurance Race, mostly because it has a cool name and stayed to peruse the web-site, mostly because it has a cool logo. That’s when the lightning bolt high – I’ll be in northern California the same week this race takes place in San Martin. To Google Maps! Turns out it’s only a one hour drive…
I did a bit more research and became increasingly intrigued. Based on the web site and Facebook page, Razorback seems like a great race with a bunch of fun people in charge and an awesome spirit. Also, some very serious runners. How do I know they’re serious? There are nine people signed up for the 72 hour race. Think about that for a moment. If you show up at 6 AM on the 28th for the start of the 24 hour race (which is, in itself a crazy thing to do), there will be nine people who have already been running for two days. Nine CRAZY people. As far as I can tell, this is the only race in the world where you get an inferiority complex for only entering the 100 miler.
As I kept reading I became intrigued. And really, what’s the difference between a marathon and a 50k? Not much, right? Imagine you’re in a very crowded marathon field and you have to do lots of weaving in and out of the crowd. Then maybe you make a wrong turn and get lost somewhere towards the end. You’ve probably done a 50k without even realizing. Right? Right? Okay, maybe not, but you get my point.
Thankfully I’m married to Awesome Wife Kelly and she quickly agrees that the best way to get over a mediocre performance in New Orleans was with a 50k in San Martin. Despite there being far fewer perks involved for her, she was in. Sometimes she earns her moniker.
And then I got to thinking. Running 50 miles slowly really isn’t so much more challenging than running a marathon for speed, is it? And aren’t I in at least as good of shape as I was the last time I ran 50?
Awesome Wife Kelly calls this re-trading. Though Awesome, Kelly is not a runner and thus doesn’t always understand these things. But at the end of the day she’s a softy and we are on for the 50 miler.
This leaves me in a bit of a jam. I’m still recovering from the New Orleans Marathon yet am theoretically supposed to be hitting peak mileage this week ahead of a taper that starts next week for a 50 miler in three weeks. Taper-race-recovery-taper with no hard training for 7 weeks seems like a bad idea, so I decided to run through soreness and hit it hard this week. And that is how I came up with the idea, late last night, to run a 50k today, 11 days after the marathon. Hit it hard, test my muscles, verify that there’s a chance I actually finish and then rest for a few weeks. Just like the instruction book says.
But truth be told, the run went really well. My left hamstring is still tight from New Orleans – really more of a “hurt” than an “injury” – and I’m obviously not in peak shape, but I managed without issue, pounding out consistent 9:30 miles over the course of 5 hours. And while my muscles tightened and cramped and my body fatigued, I finished the run with the conviction that I’m ready for Razorback. Just like that, the ennui has disappeared.
So I was just perusing the site again after registration and realized that at 100k – only 11 more miles – I can get a fancy belt buckle. Oh Kelly, can we talk about something…