Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Grindstone That Never Was

1,420 miles
258 hours of total training time

Those are the totals of my 100% focused Grindstone 100 training that started on June 1st, 2013. All for...the government to shut down and therefore cancel Grindstone. Because Grindstone is a race in a national forest, a special permit is required and a ranger has to be present at the event. The shutdown furloughed all available people who could oversee Grindstone.  So, technically speaking, I trained a whole effing lot and spent enormous amounts of mental energy and monetary funds for nothing, no race. Sort of.

Initially I was extremely frustrated, way more emotional than my fellow UltraVT gstoners. I got the "suspension" email in class, and I stood up and left. I called Glove and my mom, venting. I spent the next few days hoping desperately that the government would resume. I thought I'd go run 100 miles anyway. I came down with a cold which was undoubtedly stress-induced. Test week, presentation week, and supposedly running 100 miles is a busy week.

After spending way too much energy trying not to be mad (but lets face it, you can't not be frustrated/mad/angry/sad/irritated when your goal for the year has been crushed by outside forces) I eventually became fed up. Grindstone wasn't going to happen anyway if Doucher John Boehner won't even let the House of Representatives vote.

I'm over it. I'm not running a 100 miler this year. I'm exhausted after training so hard and not being satisfied with the end result. To do it well it takes a lot of literal energy. I put in the miles and the taper already. I'm over it, I'm not motivated to do that again soon. I walked down a mountain this past Sunday. That says a good bit.

I'm looking at the positives

I recall one long training run with Glove this summer where we spoke, "no matter what happens at Grindstone, this summer was a success." I got in the best shape I've ever been in. I saw tons of trails, I explored new places, I ate a lot, I lost body fat without losing weight, drove a lot. I had a purpose and lived my purpose. I was extremely satisfied with my training. I stayed healthy, uninjured. I went for 30 mile training runs that became routine, no big deal. It was incredible and so much fun.  Every day was magical.

Even though I didn't achieve my yearly goal of running Grindstone, I can't change that. So there's no point in fighting it.

What now? Well, that's a tough question. I'm in 100 mile shape which means I'm good at running really long and really slowly. Since there aren't many 100s in the fall and I don't feel like putting in that effort anymore I have to change my expectations for this fall. No competing, just running and having fun. I'm not going to fool myself that I can run quickly right now. My motivation to "train" is nonexistent, but my motivation to get outside and run is still high. Which leads me to my plans. I'm still going to run when I want to run, but I'm not going to make myself get out there because I feel like I have to train. I nixed a 10 miler on Thursday to bike with my roommate instead. I want to race something, so I'm signed up for the New River Trail 50k which is an extremely flat 50k, the opposite of Grindstone. Next Sunday I'm going to run Tussey Mountainback 50 miler, again a flat course mostly of road. I'm intentionally not going to try Mount Masochist cause expectations exist within the Lynchburg Ultra Series that I don't want on me. Hopefully I'll clock PRs at the 50k and 50mile distance and boost the confidence by that. HELLGATE is the second weekend in December, right smack dab in the middle of exams. I've looked at Hellgate as an end-of-year celebration, and I'll be partying all night long. Just running races to enjoy the comradeship and outdoors. Who knows, I'll probably even sign up for a local 24 hour race as a supported fun run.

Here's to the positives!

Stepped on this copperhead  (foreground) Sunday! Photo: Jordan Chang

New tunes from one of my fav bands:

1 comment:

  1. Way to put a positive spin on the whole thing (Even though I'm sure its damn tough...) - That's the true mindset of an ultra distance runner. My heart broke for all of the people who poured so much time, effort, energy, and heart into training for Grindstone.

    ~Some random dude who follows your blog