Trotting Hotter at White River

I sat around for days after the White River 50-mile wondering how clever I could be with my race report.

Nothing developed.

And sneaking up on me was the Hot to Trot 8-hour, the following weekend, where at least my wife was going to be chasing her first official ultra distance, so I expected to have something clever there… but again, nothing.

The stupid race report title, which makes no sense, is all you get.

Races as Training

It took an “outta the blue” email from another local runner to make me realize why I couldn’t put together an experience report like so many other times…

It’s cuz I wasn’t racing.

I was still training.

Eye on the prize.

Sure, I had a goal to beat the Mad Mexican at White River, qualify for Western States, and snag a personal course record; but I went into it with a bunch of confidence, and solid training, so I wasn’t too worried. Interestingly enough, I only got him by 30 minutes, and in the ultra world, that’s but a mere blip.

Even better, dude closed the lid on a previous DNF there, and surely gained some confidence for his hundo at Cascade Crest in a couple of weeks.

Respect.

Feels Funny

Why didn’t I push?

Because maybe I am finally learning.

The prize is UTMB and I do not want to reintroduce over-training, and certainly not rhabdo, into my life ever again. What I went through in April haunts me. Its a devil that sits on my shoulder and reminds me daily that I’m just one stupid, ego-driven mistake away from throwing almost $10,000 in international race expense out the window. I’m not Anton or Roes – this one is on my dime completely.

But more than the money, I have something to prove.

To y’all? admittedly, yeah, because I’d like to show the world what I can do; but more so, I have something to prove to myself.

Scared Shitless

I don’t mind admitting that I am scared.

I’ve never been to Europe. I’m a complete scatter-brained, silly southern freak who, from what I’ve heard, will probably appear very odd to most Europeans. I imagine myself asking for help and being laughed at and misdirected around every turn and thus putting my race attendance in jeopardy.

I’m travelling alone. Staying alone. Racing alone.

I have no crew.

I don’t know where I’m staying, what it looks like, or even how big or small it is.

While I am studying the course, I don’t really get it. All I know is that it’s hard, the terrain is hella’ gnarly, the climbs are long and treacherous, and the descents even more so. …oh, and I will be crossing into and out of three different countries along the way.

Sound familiar?

Well Trained

But the one thing that I have going into this is that I am well trained.

I let myself be coached, by someone far better than me, and I listened to her.

I didn’t skimp on workouts, nor did I unnecessarily push beyond what she wanted me to do.

For the most part, anyway :)

One Last Hoo’raw

Laurel Valley is this weekend.

Somewhere between 35-40 miles of stinkin’ hot, self-supported, rugged trail bliss in the South Carolina Foothills.

Each year, I get better, and each year I strive to shave a bunch of time off of my Laurel Valley finish. It’s one of my biggest goals of each running year, but this year, it’s not bigger than UTMB.

Still, I keep rationalizing to myself that I can still PR the race, and still chip away at my time. Last year’s 7:40 was good enough for a top 5 finish, but it won’t be this year. Not with Shatterfield, Fejes, and other speedsters showin’ up, so part of me wants to take this fitness and try to run with the big dogs…

But, I can’t. …Right?

Someone please confirm so I don’t do anything stupid.

Eye on the prize.

Today’s Mantra

You can picture me right now, like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction standing in front of the mirror at Mia Wallace’s house, trying to talk himself out of having sex with her… And, while I’m not as handsome, nor as nicely dressed, and the content has nothing to do with sex, you get the point:

You will not go out hard. You will not get over-excited and internally misdirected by playing “hey spike” with the big dogs. If you do so, you will seriously jeopardize your chances in Europe. You will throw all that money away. You will throw all this training away. You will look like a fool all because you could not control your ego. Be a man. Make smart decisions.

And That’s It

Sorry I wasted your time. This isn’t a report. And most likely, you’ll ask me for the 10 minutes back ‘cuz you really didn’t get anything out of it, but I did.

And, I need all I can get.

p.s.

My wife did tackle her goal of going beyond 26.2 miles, and I couldn’t be more happy for her. As she grows in this sport, you’re going to meet a beautiful person and find out just how cool she really is, and along with that, wonder why in the H E L L she is with me.

Cheers!

…off to South Carolina.

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Comments

Good luck at the UTMB Christian – it looks tough and I’m sure it will be the experience of a lifetime.

I hope things go well in Europe Christian. You are more concerned over this race than I have ever seen you. Don’t worry about looking foolish to the French though. They hate us. They think ALL Americans are foolish. Go over there and kick ass!

Christian!

I am reading this AFTER the fact… Nice job at Laurel Valley of doing just what you said you would. Hello UTMB!!!

Congratulations to Babette on her 8 hour run! I just saw the results today. I already see how great she is :) . You two are so cute together!

That “ego thing” is tougher for men, for some reason. The important thing is that you are learning and making progress Christian. Not every decision is going to be good, but it is what you do about it that counts. You are cookin’! Good luck at UTMB! I know you will rock it!

Juli
Lovin’ how you two are supporting each other :)

Hej hej Christian,

Don’t worry to much. UTMB is not only in France: guys in Italy and Switzerland are more “normal” ;o))))
No problem for directions: UTMB is very -very!- well marked; everything is made for unsupported runners because not many have a crew; and just enjoy the last weeks, it’ll be alright. You’ll not be a foreigner but a runner: this thing has more power than everything else! And there’ll be many foreigners along the trail this week-end.

See you in Chamonix (Ultrafondus booth from Wed. to Fri.) and during the race (on the “journalist”‘s side) for cheering,
Stéphane-I’ll have a Hardrock tatoo for certifying my US-addiction :o )

My two cents..even though you get it non-stop: You can always run Laurel Valley next year. UTMB ia a rare thing.

Be a man and make smart decisions. I like that. Will put it on the fridge for you. :-)

luvs,

b.

p.s. just keep reading what YOU wrote here. read before you run tomorrow. and thanks for the nice words!

Smart – This is a training run. You can still run strong and set a PR. Just don’t take chances, be over aggressive, and get injured. Save yourself for the main event. You will need all cylinders firing for UTMB. You will love Europe!

Thanks for the post! I am training for my first 50 mile race – JFK 50 Mile – that takes place in November. I am running several marathons to prepare and this was a good reminder that I am NOT to race them. Thanks!

Christian:

All the best wishes to you in the SC woods this weekend and for the “big one” later this month. Cheers!

Rob

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