I'm not known as a great decision maker, but this year is really taking the cake as far as getting myself in over my fool head.
Not the delicious kind of cake, either. The kind of cake that is made of layers of fatigue and soreness frosted with trepidation and doubt.
|I'd still eat it, because I'm always hungry.|
As I've intimated previously, I signed up for the Dirty Girls 12hr day race. Twice as long (give or take) as I've ever run before, with multiple climbs of the escarpment on each 8km/5mi loop. This was probably very stupid. I'm really too chubby and talentless to be anything more than a poseur ultrarunner, but here I am going to give it a whack anyway.
I'd already registered for the Seaton Soaker 25k, which is next weekend. This got demoted from "race" to "fully supported training day", especially since I'm running out of time to get myself in proper shape for the next event.
I had originally signed up for the 25k at Conquer the Canuck, which I decided to race instead of the Woodstock Triathlon (which I'd raced every year since its inception in 2010, except 2011 when I was injured). It's a hometown trail race at a beautiful conservation area at which I've run, cross-country skied and mountain biked in the past (not to mention doing some canoeing and open-water swimming in the lake).
It's also rather lumpy. I couldn't really imagine doing the 50k there, especially since it's an 8.33km loop, so you'd have to go 'round 6 whole times in order to get the full distance in. Remembering how difficult it was to go out for a 4th loop at Run for the Toad in 2013, that just seems like a bad idea.
Now it looks like I'm going to find out exactly how ill advised it truly is.
See, the thing is that I need to get a really long run into my legs somewhere around a month out from Dirty Girls, and we'll be motorcycle touring through Quebec from June 18-25th. That left me with basically no choice but to turn Conquer the Canuck into a huge training day, then hope like hell I can recover from it sufficiently in order to arrive at the start line for the 12hr with any hope whatsoever of getting through without a Vulture Bait 2015-esque total breakdown.
I am also currently running a heck of a lot, for me. Like my highest consistent mileage ever. I'm less than a kilometer away from breaking 1,000 for the year to date, and for the first time in my life I have the dubious honour of having cracked the leaderboard on Slowtwitch.
|Still a long way from the top, but..|
So I have to trust that the work is getting done and that I'll be able to show up at Dirty Girls with some small hope of blundering through.
What lends an extra-thick layer of trepidation frosting to that cake of queasy doubt is just how exhausting the training is proven. I've dropped all but the easiest and shortest cycling - a lunch ride and after-work trail jaunt to my mom's, or a quick Saturday-morning spin down to the farmers' market if weather is amenable - and I'm down to 2 or 3 weekly swims instead of 4.
I'm still so bloody tired, though, and that isn't exactly confidence inspiring considering that my weekly distance at the moment - which I will be endeavouring to increase as the weeks go by - is just a little more than I'll be attempting in a single day at the 12 hour.
My sense of duty is the only thing that gets me out the door most evenings lately. It's not as bad on Saturday long run days since I've been visiting lots of interesting trails and the arrival of spring is finally bringing the forests to life...not to mention it being right after my one day off.
|The snow is finally all gone!|
|Moss and budding leaves|
|The first trilliums were even in bloom last Saturday|
But by and large, between sore legs, beat-up joints from my remaining pudge - which is diminishing, but dammit it's hard not to feel justified cramming a cupcake in my face (along with anything else in arm's reach) after traipsing around in the woods for 3 hours - and general fatigue, I still spend most of my time lacing up my shoes wishing I could just go to bed instead and sleep.
|Just a quick nap - 10 or 15 hours ought to do it.|
I can only hope that as I continue to slowly build mileage I'll hit some kind of break point where it all becomes a bit easier, but I know I'm not likely to start miraculously getting more than my usual 5-ish hours of sleep per night and I am pretty pants about recovery diligence (my foam roller is very lonely). I often question my judgement in attempting this at all - I mean, there are 32km and 6 hour options at Dirty Girls as well, both of which are safely within the boundaries of things I've successfully done in the past.
The thing is, though...how do you really know what you're capable of until you try something of which you're not?