This is not one of my crazy, dramatic, intense stories.
No whiny excuses.
For the first time since I started running ultramarathons, I actually trained like a runner.
Not a weightlifter. Not a Crossfitter. Not a less-is-more, pathetic rationalizer; but, a real runner.
Someone who actually runs.
And low and behold, it works.
I ran the best 16.2 miles of my running life today at the GUTS Fat Ass event to cap off a 30 mile weekend, and 62-mile week. This is just the confidence I needed to feel pumped and ready for the Ghost Town race in New Mexico January 16th, 2011.
I’m lighter, faster and stronger than I have ever been before.
This is how I got there…
Step 1: lose the weight, fatty
Ok, so I’m no Kena or Kate or Bickelhaupt, but from November to January, I got serious about my training and stopped eating garbage and giant portions of food.
I lost 30 pounds.
I stopped eating to fullness.
I stopped snacking.
I limited carbohydrates significantly.
And, I stopped eating too much during long runs.
I eliminated soda, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners.
I started eating only live food …or food that was recently alive.
Nothing out of boxes…
And lots of water.
With each morsel of food, I paused and asked myself every single time, “what will this piece of food do for me?” – I didn’t always like the answer, but I paid attention.
Step 2: run, run, run
Ran with fast people. Better people. More experienced people.
Trained with faster-than-me, serious people who also wanted to get better.
Mixed it up, gauged progress, and tried to be better the next week.
Didn’t miss workouts. Didn’t shortcut them either. Didn’t bail for the short route or the easier day.
Pushed past the point of comfort.
Step 3: swim, swim, swim
Lane Vogel once told me, “swimming is the poor man’s massage.”
It’s too bad I gotta gun for him at the Keys 100.
For recovery, I swam slow and steady for the stretch and therapeutic effects.
For training, I swam the Masters workouts as fast and as well as I could.
I learned good form, and practiced it often.
Sometimes it sucked, but I got stronger.
Swimming contributes to better running.
For me, anyway. Your mileage may vary. (I hate that line)
Now prove it.
None of it matters without improved performance.
Ghost Town 38.5 in the Gila National Wilderness is the venue for me to prove it, and I’m shooting for a top 10 finish. Period.
6:30:20 for 38.5 miles was good enough for top 10 last year, so I’m striving for that finishing time this year.
That’s a solid, 10:00/mile which sounds easy, but not on that terrain; and not with ~5,000 ft. of elevation.
click the image to see the full Ghost Town 38.5 course map and elevation profile
The majority of the run takes place between 6,000 and 7,000 feet, so while its more elevation than I’m used to, it shouldn’t be crazy.
From the Race Director:
As for the climbs and the descents – their locations – there is really no flat stretch in this course. Maybe 10-50 ft. here and there, but for the most part plan on either climbing or heading downhill. The lowest point is at my place – just around a mile high. You will be just under 7,000 ft. a couple of times. For the most part the run takes place in the 6,000-7,000 ft. range.
I’ll like this.
Really fast people always smoke me on the flats, but I like running up and down hills, so bring it!
This is it.
No more excuses.
I put in the training.
I set my goals.
I’m gonna taper for reals…
The first race of 2011 is going to be my race.
I’m giving it all I have.
Once I’m actually in the high desert, no cell phone access, no Facebook updates, no texting.
Just me and the mountains and the runners and the course.
Please wish me luck.
*** 1/17/2011 update: I finished the Ghost Town 38.5 in 9th place at 6:44. While I really wanted a 6:30, and believe I had it in me, I’m more-than excited with 6:44 and pleased with the top ten result. Further proof that hard work pays off, and I’m not about to stop now. GET SOME!
(special huge giant “Thanks” to my wife, J. Hearns, L.Hill, A.Massey and Zombie Runner)