First things first - my workouts since my last post. I'm sure that all 3 of my readers are on the edges of their seats to see what I've been up to. Friday night, as planned, I did 10 x 1 minute intervals, at 6:40 pace. I could have gone faster, but the treadmill only goes to 9mph. After that workout, I went out for a nice dinner with my wife, my daughter and my wife's parents.
Saturday, I taught skiing. Sunday, I taught skiing. Conditions were OK, with lots of snow to be found, but also plenty of east coast ice to survive. The mountain was less crowded on Saturday than I'd expected, but Sunday was very busy. I had a large group on Sunday and two of the girls were feeling less than 100% late in the day. One of the girls had some sort of quad cramping going on that slowed her down and put her in a bad mood. Then, my daugher wiped out pretty badly and just wanted the day to be over. We called it quits a little bit early so the girls could go and participate in a Radio Disney broadcast going on at the mountain. They were all smiling and dancing when the day ended, so I think it was a successful day.
On to another topic: training and the "why" part of it all.
A fried of mine posted something on his blog and some running lists recently about his lack of motivation as a 100 miler approaches:
I saw some replies on multiple running lists but didn't respond for a while. On another running list where Ollie and I both reside, the talented and tenacious Dr. Andy had some interesting recent posts.
He commented on my training techniques and the muscle mass I told him I've gained over the past two years - about 15 pounds. I think Andy misread that as pure weight gain, which isn't really true. My body fat percentage is much lower now than two years ago at this point and my total weight is about the same. My BF% when I started lifting was just under 25% and it's closer to 17% now.
Andy also suggested that Ollie needed to "man up" or move on (my paraphrasing).
I found Ollie's post and Andy's recent comments to be very much related. I think in the world of long distance endurance activities, motivation is very important. I think we all derive motivation from different places. In my road racing days, I'll admit that my motivation came from beating others and impressing others with my times. Maybe that's why I performed relatively better at road racing than I've done at ultras. But, where is the real value in "impressing" someone? Even my most successful ultras have simply been long, slow slogs on very tough courses like Wasatch or Hardrock and I've never gone sub-24 in a 100. Ollie has walked 100 miles in under 24 hours and Dr. Andy has finished WS in under 24 hours, along with numerous other sub-24s. I'm not sure if I'll ever go sub-24 in a 100 and I'm not sure if I care anymore.
I think I've reached a point in my life where I want my workouts to be fun as much as possible. I told Ollie that I find myself thinking more and more abou the eventual "end" of my athletic career. I would like to run and lift and teach skiing for many more years, but I've been training hard for 25 straight years right now. I'm finding myself more interested in my long-term health and in how I can have the most fun when I train.
I have a lot of responsibilities in my life and my time is very tight at times between my family time and my work time. I choose to be this busy, but free time is precious. When I train, I want to do something that gives me pleasure. That doesn't mean it has to be easy. I love doing speed work. I love lifting heavy. I love running very long runs on difficult terrain as well. And, I love skiing and teaching skiing.
So, right now, I'm taking an unconventional approach to getting ready for WS. I may be doing more lifting than anyone else entered in that race. I imagine I'm doing more skiing than anyone entered in the race. I'm probably not running the lowest mileage of anyone entered, but my mileage is not very high right now. I'm doing more miles (at the corresponding time of year) than when I ran a 27:15 at VT100 in 2006, about the same mileage as when I ran a 26:04 in that race in 2007, and less mileage than I was doing last year when I was prepping for WS.
My first 20 miler of the year will be this coming Friday morning. My second 20 miler will be a snowshoe marathon on 3/7. I'll add a thirty miler in mid-to-late March, and then hopefull pace 50 miles at Umstead on 4/4-4/5. So, I'm planning long runs. I'm starting to map out some hilly runs as well.
But, I keep lifting and doing interval work. Is that appropriate work to maximize my results at WS, given the time limitations that I have? If I end up getting very lean for the race through that work, the answer might be yes. But overall, the answer is more likely no.
So, why train this way? Because it keeps me motivated to do the next workout, and I'm having fun and I'm getting more fit. It might not be race-specific right now, but it's fitness. By the time I'm done teaching skiing for the season, I'll be ready to focus my weekends on long runs. I think I'll have enough time to get to where I need to be. And if not, I will have had fun getting to where I end up.
I've simply decided that the only person I need to impress any more is me. If I spend my free time doing what others think I should be doing, then it isn't really my time at all. So, I'm making up my own rules and I'll see how it works out.
I wonder if any of that made sense at all.