WEEK 8 – Fear, Self-doubt

For the most part, I am happy with this week’s training. I logged over 50 miles of running this week with yet another brutal weekend of back-to-back, 3-hour Saturday and 4-hour Sunday runs. I continue to be amazed at my body’s ability to adapt to this extreme running. It’s Monday morning and after a little hot tub soaking, my muscles feel rested and ready to go. Well, maybe not “ready to go”, …but I’m not nearly as sore as expected.

This week marks the halfway point in my training and I’m scared.

The Mountain Masochist race is no joke. If my only goal was to simply finish 50+ miles, well, I feel confident that I could do that today. Unfortunately, I had to choose a 50-mile race initiation that not only is longer than 50 miles, but has very strict cut-off times. During the Masochist, I have to maintain a strict pace, and at the halfway point at mile 25, my pace will be judged there, and at each additional aid station from that point on. All race participants must finish in less than 11:59:59 and I could be pulled from the race if it does not appear I will finish in under twelve hours.

Imagine running your heart out for 25 miles only to be pulled from the race; or, being o-so-close, but crossing the finish line in 12:03:00 and still getting a DNF. It happens. In fact, It happens frequently, and even to veteran ultrarunners at this particular race.

I have been reading every race report I can get my eyes on. I have been studying the course map, the elevation charts, the necessary splits, other previous runners’ performances, and planning my constantly-evolving strategy; and it all points to one thing – I need to get faster.

I have the endurance. I am pretty good at enduring a tremendous amount of pain and continuing to push forward; however, what I need is to add some speed to that equation. It’s a simple fact – If I do not get faster, I will not complete this race in under 12 hours.

But I refuse to let negativity in.

Am I in a little over my head? maybe.

Can I overcome it? Beat the odds? absolutely.

It just fear. It’s just my mind creating self-doubt. Why should I be afraid of something that doesn’t really exist? Fear and self-doubt are manufactured in my own head. Participating in fear and self-doubt won’t change the race date, nor will it make the race distance any shorter, nor the course any less difficult. All those feelings can do is get in the way of my training and cause me to perform less than my best.

Why should I allow negative thoughts and feelings that can do nothing but cripple my training?

As hard as my race training is, as well as all the self-doubt I am trying like heck to fight off, it’s nothing compared the self-doubt that the homeless kids from Project Kids Eat must feel every single day. Here I am, concerned about internal and external perceptions regarding whether or not I can triumph over this race, while there are young kids out there wondering where they might be living next week …or whether or not they will be eating today.

All of a sudden, my worries seem rather trivial.

I’m glad I have this cause. It always brings everything back into perspective.

If you’d like to help me in my quest to raise $2500.00 for Project Kids Eat, please donate.

Please remember, I don’t use any of this money as sponsorship. I pay for all of my own training and race day preparation and travel. Every penny donated is used to provide healthy meals to the kids of Project Kids Eat.

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Thanks for the support. It’s nice when other ultra runners share the stoke because it I know they understand a lot of what I am enduring both physically and mentally/emotionally.

Good luck at the JFK 50-mile. I see that race also has some strict cut-offs… but, it seems towpath will provide an opportunity to attack the clock.

Again, good luck and please let me know how it goes.

i have been reading your blog and live in atlanta too. it’s great what you are doing. i’m going for my first 50 miler too…the JFK 50 in Nov.
your concerns are real too. and your perspective is great. keep it up

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