Today I had to delve into my treasure chest of inspiration to force myself out of the door to run. I find this only happens when im in the middle of a proper training programme, where everyday Im putting in the hours, Im tired all the time when I wake up, get to work, get home and I eat all day long, craving food right before or once Im in bed even because I need it for fuel or recovery.
And I do HAVE to run if Im going to finish. I actually don't think 135 miles non-stop is the hard part of this insanity, its the heat I cant get my head around but what i don't want is to get to 80 miles and think HOLY SH*T not only am I dying in this heat but the running part is over beacuse my legs are cooked. I don't plan to be on that road for 1 second longer than necessary.
Subconsciously Ive been training for Badwater all year. Ive been running regular races (about a dozen marathons and ultras in 2010 so far) and building up the weekly mileage but I only actually started visualising Badwater about 3 weeks ago. Since then Ive upped the game significantly.
Ive never been good at running crazy miles in training. Even for 100 milers I wouldn't get over 50 miles a week that often. In fact Id only get to 50 miles a week if I was racing somewhere. The only time I have logged proper miles was in the run up to the Atacama Crossing in 2008. For that I regularly ran 65 - 75 miles p/w with a 10kg pack getting up to 96 miles p/w at my peak and with a 10kg pack that is a goddamn long painful way. For me that is a truck load even if I do read Antons blog and quake in my asics when i see his logged mileage.
So this time Im going big. I mean I plan to go as big as I can without f*cking it up. Upping training over time to massive mileage is a bit like running down a road that gets narrower and narrower as it gets longer. In the past where Ive gone from a 40 mile week to an 80 mile week with no in between, I have toppled off of the edge of that path where its gotten too narrow. Because Ive logged decent numbers this year ie. 60 miles+ per week I started 2 weeks ago with a base week of 60 miles then 85 miles. For me thats as far down the path pretty much as Ive ever gone. This week I intend to clear 100 for the first time but already I can feel some shin splint action brewing down my right leg and if that gets worse the mileage is only going in one direction.... Im on the path still and its stretching out into the distance. Much better to back off in the direction the path gets wider before trying to go any further down it.
Back to the inspiration. So Friday I got up with a hangover having run 80 miles since Saturday, been to a Third Eye Blind gig on Thursday night (7 pints of Guinness and a midnight home time), worked all day, ran 5 miles at lunch and then played the drums for 4 hours until 11pm, getting home with no food at 12:30am. I got up this morning after sleeping for 12 hours, I haven't slept for so long since 2001 when we came back from travelling and I hadn't been to bed for ages (14 hour sleep my PB). I had no inclination to run anywhere today. I had a massive breakfast and then sat around waiting for the inspiration to come. Today it came from three places:
1. Scott Jurek. Scott Jurek is one of the greatest runners ever to have lived. The man has been through a lot over the last few years and having reached a point where he had won all of the worlds hardest races (Badwater, Hardrock, Spartathlon, Western States) multiple times, he fell off of his pedestal just a bit, not posting wins at things he entered and DNFing a few. A lot of people wondered if that was it for Scott. Well on Thursday at the IAU 24hour champs he broke the US national record logging 160 miles in that time. That is pure testament to grittty determination and a love of running. I was absolutely delighted to see him back at the top.
2. Jens Voigt. If you ever feel weak or tired or think can i be ar*ed, type Jens Voigt into Youtube. I have never seen anyone bury themselves physically in any kind of sport like Jens does in cycling. What makes it more impressive is that he doesn't bury himself for personal gain, he does it to help slingshot his cycling teammates into a position whereby they have a chance of victory or even simply protecting time in an overall classification. The man literally sacrifices himself almost every time he rides. I love him for the way he talks about it after "I get paid to hurt other people. I get paid to make other people suffer, how good is that?!" . If Jens kills himself 200 days a year, you can push yourself out of the door for an easy jog. In fact you can push yourself out of the door for a 3 hour interval session on the steepest hill you can climb.
3. Pearl Jam (the best gig I will ever go to). What is better than running down a trail with a carpet of leaves or pine needles under foot with the sun blazing and a nice cool breeze following behind you? Or making it over the last long muddy climb a mile before you get home in the p*ssing horizontal rain and wind?
Doing it listening to Pearl Jam Ten.