|The third ascent out of 4 at the 30k mark|
In the morning I felt a little better, luckily ultra runners have terrible memories and so most of the exhaustion and mental fatigue had gone. In the real race I would still have another 16 k's to go plus another 1500 + feet of climb! This UTBA is going to be a nightmare 9 hours plus, methinks. Hopefully this and other tough mountain training runs will help but with 4 weeks to go, who knows ? I must be careful not to 'burn out' and overdo it or it really will be extremely hard......maybe thats why they call it 'Endurance running'.
I've just been reading some of the blogs of Dakota Jones, a young elite runner, and I'm happy to say he goes through the same pain and mental torment that I do......What a relief, I was beginning to think it was just me.
On these long runs I am often asked, 'what do you think about?'...well to be honest I'm just thinking of the next aid stop or the next hill, my quads, salt balance, energy levels etc......or where's the next bit of shade? Sometimes, if I'm lucky I can drift off, but most of the time its a real 'in the moment thing' and I am totally absorbed by the task. This can be quite a strain mentally as well as physically because you know what you have to do. I can't kid myself that its easy because it isn't. Many ultra runners talk about 'flow' where you are moving effortlessly mile after mile, I would love to experience this as it must really help but so far I've not been that fortunate. What I do is break the race down into segments and as I finish one and start another I feel a sense of moving forward. I try not to think about all the big climbs to come because I could just become despondent and negative. As I've mentioned many times before its the negative thoughts in ultra running that will stop you, not the physical pain.
'Why am I doing this to myself ?' is a question that keeps popping into my head, and at 8 hours into a race, with a huge mountain climb ahead and no sight of the finish, its sometimes difficult to find an answer. But thats the challenge; to overcome the mental, physical and emotional barriers in order to reach your goal.......A physychiatrist would have a field day if he cared to run along with us all....then again he'd probably quickly work out we were nuts, light up a cigarette and chill out on a rock in the sunshine.....
But life is full of suprises and you never know, he may just sit on the rock where Mr Viper lives!
|The UTBA in a storm|
We had a big storm here yesterday and somehow I found myself up in the mountains right in the middle of it and with no rain proof gear........which was slightly worrying.....in the end though I quite enjoyed it.....a kind of alone in the elements thing. (Very Alan Bates in 'Far from the Madding Crowd'). I even got a picture and video just before it all turned nasty!
Finally, on a sadder note, Micah True (Caballo Blanco) who was made famous in the cult ultra running book 'Born to Run' died a few days ago doing what he loved. An inspiration to many.