I had a crappy "last run" before this weekend's Pacific Rim 24-hour Run (AKA Longview). I never peaked my mileage above 45 mpw, and just for a few weeks at that. I certainly would have run more but I just can't find the time. Work is keeping me busy, which is NOT something I am complaining about in this state of the economy. I am self-employed, have my own business, so if I need to work harder, well then, I simply need to work harder. I do what I've got to do.
Ultrarunning is my hobby, my recreation, my avocation. Yet, it is also somewhat a way of life because it is an extreme hobby. I takes lots of time to train and plan and perform and recover. Much of what I do hinges on how it will affect my running. Diet, sleep, illness, injury, time, social life. Of course, this is what I choose and I can change it at any time, but I really love my ultrarunning hobby and will continue to do it for now.
I have had to modify things a bit this year, however, and much of that is because I work a lot, and my work is very very important to me. I am exceedingly pleased with the scope of my speciality as a Physiatrist and I care very much for my patients. As long as I "take care of business," I am free to play by running, from training to traveling to exotic places to race.
Given the state of the economy (and a few other factors), I have decided to train and race more locally this year...at least until the Fall adventures that are in the planning! There are so many wonderful local races here in the Northwest.
First up is the Pacific Rim 24-hour Run. It's a 1-mile loop, and you run around it as many times as you can or want, and the runner who accumulates the most miles wins. Simple. And yes, fun. I ran this last year as a training run for Umstead 100-miler, which was just a few weeks later. I ran 50k, then went to sleep, and came back out on the course and ran another 50k. Tim Englund, who I helped crew a bit when I was not running, won the race with 121 miles. That's a pretty darn good amount of mileage! Even more appealing is that there were many high mileage (100+) tallies at the end of the 24 hours. It was a highly competitive run!
The other appealing thing about this race is that it is marketed as a RUN and not a RACE. It prides itself on providing a stage for mostly local runners to convene and share performances. It's not talked about in ultra circles like other well-known runs. There is no website, except for the entry form that must be printed and mailed in with a check. There is no Entrant List to review so that we can see who will be there. Only word of mouth and personal emails will give you clues as to who is running. We will find out on race morning. There are no formal results that get posted anywhere, not even to the ultralist or to Ultrarunning Magazine...unless you want to collect the data and present it yourself.
These are the things that I really LOVE about this race. It is laid back and just a run. It just happens to sometimes be a competitive run, but I would even dare to say that most runners go with a certain mileage goal in mind as opposed to "win" or to "beat" someone else. The casual atmosphere just doesn't promote this.
I am looking very forward to this run next weekend because I want to go "to my happy place" and leave everything else behind temporarily while I am out on that 1 mile loop for 24 hours. How simple! How uncomplicated! How pure! It's just me and my shoes (and clothes, yes), and my friends, and my own mind. It's a pure sport. A good run or a bad run depends on my ability to adapt to conditions, whatever those are. There are no guarantees about what food or drink will be provided, though surely there will be lots. But if it's not what I tend to need for fuel, then I will rely on my own foods and fluids.
And then there's the weather, which never promises to be sunny and 60 degrees with a light breeze. No, there is surely at some point during the 24 hours to be wet gloomy rain that muddies parts of the loops. Sometimes the sun will peak and dry your clothes, but usually not fully before it rains again. This is typical weather, but you just can't predict. My plan is to try to stay warm since I don't tolerate cold and wet at the same time very well. I can take one or the other, but together it is tough for me. So, I do my best to plan but also just need to convince myself that I can adapt to anything.
I am mostly looking forward to the social part of the run. Yes, it's very social, kind of like a party or a family reunion. Many runners do Chuckanut, a 50k Saturday morning, and then drive to Longview (which is still going on through the 24 hours) to get in some extra miles. Why? Because it's fun, a bit crazy, but in a fun way. I look forward to seeing the Ellensburg runners, the ultra veterans from whom I have learned so much. It'll be great to run with Tim, David, Willie and Ethan. It'll be great to see Jeff Hagen, Michelle, Tim, tc, Rob, and sweet Olga. There will be new friends made including Ben Blessing and others I'm sure. ..Only I don't have an entrant list, so it will be a nice surprise on race morning who gets to share the loop through the day and night.
I don't really have a strategy. I think a strategy would work against me because I've only dabbled in training miles and have aches and pain that I am managing rather than curing. So, I'll be flexible. I'll run and walk, and try to stay steady as I can. I hope I don't wimp out in the rain and cold.
So, my last days in preparation will focus on rest and sleep and preparing my own fuel and fluids. Tim and I will head out Friday night and we'll be there to hear Fred say "Go" at about 9am Saturday. And we'll wrap things up at 9 am Sunday, make the 4-hour drive back home, and we'll call it another notch in our ultrarunning calendar. There is no fame or fortune or even recognition. But we runners know and we admire each other. And that's good enough! In fact, it's fabulous.
So, I'll work this week and try to rest and catch up on sleep so that I can run for 24 hours over the weekend. There. I like it. Sounds like a delightful plan. I'm satisfied already.
I'm looking forward to seeing you all out there. I know many of you that are running, but it would be fun to gather a make-shift entrant list here if you want.
Good luck and fun to all of us! See you Saturday.