Monday, June 15, 2009


This one's for Gary...

When I started blogging, I titled this based on my experience (none) with the ultra-distances. To date, I'm quite comfortable with the rookie tag for several reasons. First and foremost, I find the elites and pluggers like me (and everyone in between, for that matter) blogging about the same set of circumstances surrounding their latest personal bests...or worsts. The heat, the terrain, the incline, the food that stayed down and the stuff that didn't. New gear. Lost drop bags. Distance does not care whether you've stumbled through one ultramarathon or 200. It is the perfect vehicle to humility.
I also still feel like a rookie for a few reasons related to my own running. Am I made for 100? How fast can I run one (a ridiculous question, in that the speedwork I did ten days ago strained my hamstrings and threatened my ability to pace for Western States, but one still wonders)? Where is the balance between running for so many hours a week and still being a well-rounded individual? If running defines a large part of me, how will I deal with it if I ever can't run due to age, injury, etc? While I want to live life to the fullest, I don't agree with that whole concept of beating the crap out of yourself just to be able to proclaim "Wow, what a life!"

Of course, there is never really a final answer as to what accomplishment really is. Gerry Lindgren was once quoted as saying "If you don't know why you run, you'll never be a good runner." I don't know if I agree with that or not, but if I find out why I run I'll let you know.
Finally, the word "rookie" was so battered around during my days with EOD MU5 that it became a constant way of reminding me that everyone has stuff to learn. Anyone who tells you "do it this way, that way won't work, I know, I know..." is full of shit. It's different every day, every run, every runner. In that sense, we're all rookie.

Sometimes the running gets control of me. Too many miles with no quality, too many times declining dessert, too many missed glasses of port. Too much doubt about my potential. And sometimes I'm in complete control, striking perfectly the line between training and living. Feeling capable, I can do it all. But not often enough. When I'm satisfied with my evolution, maybe I can change the title. It won't be because I have crossed a certain number of finish lines. It won't be if I get the hard-to-earn buckle. It will be when the balance I seek between running and the rest of my life is more defined. While I do have some long distance goals, I see a lot more 10k's in my future than ultras.

The rookie is out...Peace.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Road shoes

Nice hodge-podge of stuff going this past weekend:

Friday pm I took off from work early to go to Outback. Big meal, followed by ice cream and brownies at home. Saturday I had to work until 10pm, and when I got home I walked into a raging party. Big booze fest...Saturday was my birthday, and nice to know somebody could party since I had to work.

Sunday was the most fun, as I got to go on a longish run with Willie and MK Thompson. When we started it was about 93 degrees out, and I felt fine. For the first ten miles or so. Then the heat, or maybe it was all that pavement, started wearing me down. I have been running nearly exclusively on treadmills/trails, and definitely wasn't prepared to do eight hours on pavement. My whining worked, and we cut the run short and back at Willies house for 21.3 miles in just over 4 hours. Willies post-run analysis: "I knew we were in trouble when I saw those white shoes...I don't think I've ever seen Lee in a pair of road shoes." Willie and MK went back out for another few miles: I dug around in the cooler and grabbed a post-run beer. Felt good. Shower and bed immediately...I know, supposed to refuel but I wanted a pillow worse than food. Woke up this morning 5 pounds lighter and way dehydrated, go figure! It's taken most of today to get enough liquid back in the tank.

So, two more weeks of around 50 miles, then a week of 25ish before heading out to Cali. I have been practicing my singing for Western States, and it is still awful...should make it easy for Willie to stay awake!