The last few months have not been ideal training weather if you needed to be highly motivated. Below freezing temps, layers of ice, and inches of snow have been the normal for several months now in what seems to be a winter that will not let go. Just last night a bit of snow fell and dusted the ground causing us to almost forget that we were enjoying the sun on bare arms in the 70 degree temps just over a week ago. Luckily I have been highly motivated.2013 was a bit of a bust when it came to running. With the exception of a fairly well executed Big Horn 50, I do not have a lot of fond memories of my training or racing when I look back over the calendar. My year started off with a bad case of shingles that took several months to get over then some minor symptoms of upper abdomen cramping that hung around the majority of the year and I still deal with from time to time. I have mostly learned to deal with these and can spot them as they are coming on, but it took a bit to figure out.I am fortunate enough to hang with some really good runners who had excellent 2013 seasons. I was able to train with them and in some cases crew or pace them in their respective victories. Watching them excel and move beyond what they had been the year before while I failed to progress as planned was humbling.I sat back an took a look at things. What was I training for? To go through the motions? To say “I’m an ultrarunner” as a group to fit into? No, it’s because I love it. I like putting my head down and grinding it out. I love the scene, the scenery, the people, reviewing gear, putting on races. I want to keep pushing when the normal response would be to stop. I don’t just want to run, I want to race!
A junk 2013, two great friends pushing their limits, and a rekindled love of going long is why I have been highly motivated. With the garbage weather so far it would have been fairly easy to find the excuses to back off a little or skip a long run because it was 10 degrees at the start, but I didn’t. I held myself accountable to being better not just staying the same. Next Saturday on April 5th I’m going to let it fly at the Potawatomi 100. A highly familiar venue. A course where I ran my first ultra (30 miles), my first 50, and my first 100. Weather is always a toss up but I’ve dealt with the winter snow and the bone chilling temps for months and I’ve seen this course in every condition over the years from heat to speed sapping mud. I’m as mentally focused on this as I can be and my training is there in terms of quality and quantity.
Last week was my highest volume training ever at 101.4 miles and close to 10k of climb in a hair under 16 total hours. I’m feeling great as I go into my taper. I’ll be making food, sleeping, and hydration high priority as I try to not bounce off the walls and irritate my wife while anxiously waiting for that start gun to go off. I was highly motivated to train. I did that. Now I am highly motivated to race.