Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ancient History

So here's the backstory about why even making it to the startng line at Umstead was a big deal.

I essentially started training for the Umstead 100 last summer. My friends showed up for long runs on Saturdays with water bottles and gels, I brought Mt. Dew and cheeseburgers. After we'd run 5 or 6 miles on Sunday they would go home, I'd go put down 40 miles on the bike. I went to a 24-hour race, intending to run 20 and see what it felt like to run in the middle of the night when I was tired - I finished with just over 50 miles. I had a really good 40-mile trail race in October, finishing nearly 2 hours faster than what I expected (my theory on expectations is a long story best told elsewhere).

And then I got imjured.

My mileage went to hell, I got a DNF at a huge race in November that was supposed to be my qualifier for Umstead, I landed in physical therapy and wasn't allowed to run anything uneven, hilly or fast. The mileage went further into hell, dragging along with it my hopes of getting to Umstead.

In January I landed another pretty little DNF. I tried to console myself with the fact that I *did* manage to get in close to 50 miles despite my pathetic weekly training of 20-25 miles a week for 2 months. It didn't work.

In February, I finally finished a race - the Uwharrie 40-miler. Impressively, I managed to finish faster than I expected (my goal was beating the cutoff, but I met a great friend along the way who kept me moving). It was cold and wet and crazy fun.

Things got better. After a week off, my mileage started to go up. I was back on trails, and hills, and all the other stuff I hadn't been allowed to do. I came out of my antisocial rut and started running with friends sometimes. I went back to running during lunch at work. My training peaked over a three-week period of 50-65 mile weeks (last year, this kind of mileage contributed to the injruy). My very last really long run of that training was a ridiculously hilly road marathon. I set a new PR and won my age group. WTH?  That was enough to convince me I had a reasonable shot of making it some distance at Umstead.

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