Really nice run today. I took the weekend off and spoiled Whimsy & Delight all day on Saturday (and made sure to let them know they were being spoiled). Today I felt like getting after it. This run used to be such a big mental leap. It’s not that far, but it covers a lot of ground – it’s probably 85% singletrack trail through the fortress of solitude (FP). I’m not exactly sure when I decided to do the loop vs. a shorter out/back. I’ve done this one so many times that I have the entire mental map, every turn and climb and descent committed to memory.
During periods of intense focus on my runs I’ve noticed that I squeeze the thumb and middle finger of my right hand tightly, like I’ve caught some invisible thread and need to hold on to it with all my will. When I realize what I’m doing, I open my hand, roll my shoulders and try to relax my upper body. And then I catch myself doing it again. That invisible thread that pulls me along up and down mountains and through the forest. I’ve never seen it but I know it’s there.
There are books written about the mental side of running, the lessons derived from being in this active/meditative state. The one that I’ve been thinking about lately relates mostly to running ultras … but life as well (is there a difference?). If you’re feeling great, enjoy it and keep going, it won’t last forever. If you’re feeling bad, enjoy it and keep going, it won’t last forever.
I’ve been thinking about what’s next after my last race. I had a great run, finished strong – needed very little recovery (I took one day off) and took no Vitamin I afterwards. The only injury I sustained was a severe chafe/burn where my vest and bottle was rubbing my chest for 50 miles. That’s all healed up now.
I picked up a SPOT personal locator beacon last weekend and a pair of carbon fiber running poles. Plans are underway. Both items are really just safety devices. The beacon will allow me to send an email via satellite ping that I’m okay, or an email that I need assistance, or it can send an SOS that will initiate SAR if something goes terribly wrong. The poles will allow me to use my upper body to power hike steep climbs. And hobble out if something goes terribly wrong.
Feels good to be planning and training with a specific goal in mind.