Tuesday, January 28, 2014

From Clarity, Commitment - Going Long in 2014

As this part of the world endures an especially long and unforgiving deep freeze, 2014 is nearly 1/12 over.  Hopefully, this dreadfully cold winter is making its last great stand, before yielding to more historically seasonable temperatures and a blessedly early thaw.

The last post about diet hinted that big things were coming for me in 2014.  Momentous things.  Things requiring preparation, dedication, and focus.  Things that took a lot of thought to decide to undertake.  Things that will likely change me forever.  The decision to pursue these things came from cutting through much of the emotional, physical, spiritual and other fog in my life and finding a clarity of vision which let me see clearly not only my goals, but also - more importantly - how to achieve them.  Notably, each of these what-I-deem-noble pursuits had to start with a full-blown commitment, and each will demand the full force of that commitment throughout its duration.

One of those things involves running, and it should take about a full day.  The other involves the most important of life's decisions, and should - with a lot of luck - take decidedly longer.

Last September, after finishing the 200+-mile Reach the Beach Relay (where we first met 3 years earlier), I asked Meredith to marry me.
  The standard responses to that question include two short options: a three-letter word (highly preferable), or a two-letter word (completely devastating).  The desired three-letter Y-E-S eventually came out, but it took a lot of reflection, emotion and patience . . . on both of our parts.  Now, we're planning a June wedding just outside our beloved Richmond, Virginia, the primary locale of our courtship.  And, while marrying my great true love is itself most appealing, realizing that we will all again someday soon be able to ride inner tubes down the James River helps get one through this winter's deep, dark doldrums.

The other major endeavor of 2014 will happen about 6 weeks later.  In what my friend Barb and others have termed BHAG (Big-Hairy-Audacious-Goal), I have registered for the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run
Yes, this guy.  The guy who's struggled to run 35 miles-per-week for the past couple of years.  The guy who's never run more than 90 miles in a WEEK.  The guy who DROPPED OUT of his first attempt to run 50 miles.  That same guy is going to train himself - physically and mentally - to become an uncompromising plodding machine, never going fast, but perpetually beholden to the ultrarunner's mantra of Relentless Forward Progress.  And, you know what?  I'm completely "terricited" about it, equal parts scared and excited.  Actually, that's not true . . . I'm far more excited than scared.

It is a great comfort to be back to having a clear purpose above beyond attending to the prosaic details of everyday living.  And, while some aspects of planning are expectedly less enjoyable than others, figuring out a wedding, a honeymoon, and how to get through a 100-mile footrace, all in the company of my favorite adult person, makes virtually every moment of every day wonderfully purposeful.

There's so much to figure out.  So many options to weigh.  So many attendant sacrifices to make.  But, sacrifice need not equate to burden when it's for reasons which mean so much to the sacrificer.

And, um, soooooo ... about that . . . it's been a while since I channeled the selfishness inherent in pursuing a running BHAG into benefiting a good cause.  That said, though, I'm not going to run for a cause this year, either.  I am going to run for FOUR CAUSES.  On Friday, July 18, 2014, I will run 4.8 miles.  Added to the 100 miles I'll run starting at 4:00 am on Saturday, July 19th, I will have run the equivalent of four full marathons.  And, so, I have chosen four causes which mean a great deal to me personally, and I will ask any like-minded folks to support them.

Since I'm setting up fundraising sites and finalizing other logistical details, I'll share the details soon.  Save your charity money just a little longer, then, won't you? ;-)

And, finally, partly for old-times' sake, and partly because it will keep me accountable, here is my training from the past two weeks.  I may or may not keep posting training recaps regularly in the months ahead, but I welcome thoughts, opinions, and insights, especially from the knowledgeable ultrastuds and studettes out in the Interwebz.

Monday - 5.3M (coming off my first long-run stack of 15M Saturday, 20M Sunday)
Tuesday - AM: 4.5M easy;      PM: 90 mins Indoor Soccer (fun!)
Wednesday - 5.2M
Thursday - 7M
Friday - 13.1M (ran to work)
Saturday - AM: 6M group run (for #megsmiles) PM: Indoor Soccer
Sunday - 14.3M

WEEKLY TOTAL (counting soccer estimates) = ~63M


Monday - 5.1M
Tuesday - AM: 5M      PM: 90 mins Indoor Soccer
Wednesday - 6.7M
Thursday - 9.4
Friday -5.8
Saturday - 20+M
Sunday - 10M

WEEKLY TOTAL (counting soccer estimates) = 67+M
January 2014 is shaping up to be my best month of running/training since March 2011.  In terms of the overall training arc I've begun to map out for myself, I'm right where I want to be mileage-wise.  My legs and hips are certainly fatigued, but my energy is good (high-fat/low-carb/ketosis!), and I seem to be managing the higher volume well.  Of course, other than a few pickups on the treadmill and the short bursts which inevitably happen in soccer, all of these miles are quite slow.  As I realized during my most recent 20+-miler, where I was dragging and at times even walking up steep hills: When training for a 100-miler, running slow and walking *IS* race pace.

As I settle into this most excellent journey towards adventures and rewards both known and unknown, I'm glad that YOU (yes, you, reading this), are choosing to come along.

Thanks for reading. -Ron

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