The idea came to me back in February when I was putting together my training plan to prepare me for Western States. I wanted to be building up mileage to peak about 6 to 8 weeks prior to the race. The idea was to get a hundred mile week in the first week of May and to run my age in miles on my birthday, which was the last day of that week. 45 miles was the goal . Following that I would maintain and try to work on heat, strength and a bit of speed training.
I've been over it enough times but the miles after the winter races have felt slower and harder than in the past. It has improved as I expected it would. The Lumberjack 50 showed me that I will be just fine this summer, however, I always want to be faster and better. The discipline of putting in the work and time required is not one of my strengths. I've noticed some complacency has set in. I've finished 100s multiple times and start to just expect to finish every time. This is is positive, yes, but I'm also afraid this can lead me to taking things too easy and getting a rude awakening at one of these races. Then again, the list of things worse than a DNF at a race is about as long as possible. I can't take it too seriously. Its just running.
My peak week thus far had been 60 miles so jumping to a 100 allegedly carries the risk of injury or getting "over trained". I came up a little short on my miles leading into my birthday run on Sunday. I don't care because, after all, what real difference is there between 95 and 100 for the week? It is not going to change anything on June 24.
The morning was very cool but the sky was clear and it turned out to be a beautiful day. A member of the Dirtbag Runners met me and we ran the first 8 or 9 miles together, which made those miles go by very quickly and easily. After that it was just me and the constant stream of mountain bikes. I tried to keep the pace slow and comfortable but often find myself going faster than I should. I was often to lost in thoughts and reflection as you tend to be on long runs.
Running repeated loops is harder for me than going from one point to another. Between miles 9 and 18 I kept thinking about the fact that I had to do the loop three more times. I'm not going to lie and say it was no problem. It was overwhelming and I started thinking that I didn't want to do it. It was too much. What the hell had I been thinking? In other words this was perfect practice for a 100 miler. Eventually the end comes and it was a huge relief. I was happy with the way it turned out. Even though I walked some of the last loop, my pace overall was just fine. I could tell myself I was ok.
The next week I took it very easy. I ended up only running 3 days for a total of 22 miles. I knew getting a weekend run in would be tough due to my plan of attending Dark Lord Day.
What is Dark Lord Day? Turns out it was what I though of as an ultra for craft beer. One day a year, Three Floyds Brewery releases their Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout. They hold an event at the brewery that has lots of beer, food and metal bands playing all day. Tickets sell out in a matter of minutes. I finally decided to go this year and enjoyed it immensely. You are allowed to bring beer in and most people do. There is an atmosphere of sharing rare and desired beers with strangers around you, which starts in the line to get in and continues all day. These aren't any light beers either. Most we tried topped 10% abv with many going higher. Just like an ultra, it was all about a slow pace.
|My first taste of Dark Lord|
|Nearly $400 worth of beer|