Newton was right. My body at rest will stay at rest. I'm a big believer in off time, especially after a huge effort like say running 100 miles or racing 50. Three years ago my "off season" was two weeks of doing absolutely nothing, packing on the pounds (something I also think is important, in a moderate way), getting way out of shape, then trying to force myself back into the shape I was previously. I ran my first ultra in February of 2011 , and after about 15 of them I started to think differently. You hear the logic from everyone: when you first start ultrarunning you don't want to stop. You're afraid to take off days, or just make excuses to not take an off day. After a couple of years, you welcome breaks, and maybe even take them for too long, as is my case.
Don't get me wrong, I still love ultrarunning. I like the exploring part the most, and the pushing yourself second. If I don't push myself I can still live, albeit crankily, but if I don't explore I'll go crazy. Ultrarunning has changed. It was changing when I got in the sport and it's continuing to change. Living in San Francisco where change starts, I'm honestly jaded on the sport right now. I'm not a fan of prize purses, of special elite treatment, of sponsors (admittedly because I don't get any of that and I know plenty of friends who do). Not a fan of blow up banners, too much media, self promotion, or even talking about PEDs. If any music is blasting, it better be gangster rap or EDM from my friends dancing around my car in the dark at 5am. Call me a curmudgeon. It's just one guys pessimistic opinion.
But anyway, sports move in ways that I can't change. I still love seeing my friends smash races. Plenty of smashing of late. Varner crushing the Quad CR, EZ getting second, running 50 miles the next weekend, then beating me by a 90 seconds in a 10k the following weekend (what?). Dbo, Jorge, SFRC crushing TNF50. My hella suave lady breaking into the national scene at TNF (!). Good old UltraVT folks Darren and Jordy Chang getting that 2/3 at special Hellgate. So many positive things to report, and for that I am thankful even if I'm not currently finding success in the sport. Outwardly OR inwardly.
I'm not finding any success because I'm not trying. I haven't had a good race since Lake Sonoma back in April. My best friend Wyatt Earp once told me while doing a track workout, "you know, you'll run faster if you just try harder." Well shit. He's quite right. Just try harder. It's actually that simple. I'm stuck running all my easy runs too easy, I don't do drills or strides anymore, and I get sick of talking about running after about fifteen minutes.
It's like my little-known swimming career. I was quite the dolphin, but stopped trying after I got fast, then just burnt out and quit. Please God don't let that happen to me in running. I've feared that from day one. Telling friends in New Zealand that ultrarunning is just one of my mental flings and physical obsessions. I'm not the person I was growing up and I'm not the person I was in college. I'm a whole hell of a lot more cynical and realistic, to my detriment. I don't like being an adult. Don't get me started on how overworked I think our nation is.
So I've decided that something's going to change. I'm going to give it the college try, cause I like who I was in college a lot better than who I am now (I was running 3,300+ miles/year). I signed up for Black Canyons 100k which is too soon, Valentines weekend. Actually pretty stoked on that, although I don't expect much in terms of numerical success. If just running that race jumpstarts some stoke and I'm in good shape and training in a disciplined manner, it'll be a success. Keely and Ezra will be there, so it's bound to be a party no matter what happens in the running aspect. I'm going to run some damn mileage and stop puttering around 60 miles a week. I don't expect to put up anything big for Black Canyons, but next spring someone please slap me if I'm not above 85/week. I like running high mileage, and I was a very optimistic person when I was running triple digits. I want to feel good, run good, eat good, look good, live good. So that's what I'm set out to do.
(Laughable year end numbers post in the next couple of weeks)