Sunday, February 04, 2007

Motivation and Demotivation

One reason I enjoy trail running is the solitude. Being out on the trails for 10+ hours will give you time to think. Letting your mind wander is a whole new ball game as it leads to loss of concentration, ergo tripping, stumbling, etc.

I did this particular run 2 years ago for the first time and had a goal this year to beat my 2005 time. Isn't that the point of doing the same race at least a second time? a thrid? a fourth? I wasn't sure what I was capable of the second half of the run, so I pushed myself. I raced. I had a lot of positives in my favor, as well as negatives. Here's a list of thoughts and wanderings - what helped me keep going hard, and some random thoughts of the "you've been on the trail too long" variety.

Thoughts.. aka what kept me going
- Time
- Fear
- Doubters
- Having a heart rate monitor that beeps ever 15 minutes and/or 30 minutes - I hardly looked at it, so I don't really know.
- My lengthening shadow - knowing sunset is nearing
- The voices behind me - if I walk, they might walk; if I run, they might be too tired to run with me.
- The sloshing of my water bottles - they eerily sound like the footsteps of someone behind me.
- The runner up ahead - the first sign that a race is actually going on as you haven't seen anyone, other than aid station volunteers, for at least 6 miles.
- Catching and passing that runner up ahead - pick 'em off one at a time.
- Mud - the thicker it is, the more fun it is to run through
- Stream crossings - you have to clean off the mud somehow.

Mental Wanderings
- Time - it's tough to do math.
- "What are those 3 RV's doing out in the woods?" - I thought to myself.. as I started to walk off the trail to get a better look.. at the downed trees, which actually turned out to be a brige I was supposed to cross.
- Get back on the trail
- "Deer!" - The red, brown colored 'animals' were actually reminents of a tree.
- The white tents up ahead = aid station!
- Frustration as those 'white tents' are just 'white rocks'
- It doesn't hurt, it's just sore.
- A heart rate that has dropped from 155 bpm to 120 bpm - should I be worried?
- Fingers and hands so fat they look like little vienna sausages.. can't see any lines, wrinkles, knuckles, or make a tight fist - should I be worried?
- Stopping. It's tough to get going again knowing those last 2 miles are a looong 2 miles.

Stopping is also a good thing especially when it's accompanied by a half dozen people. Yknow, the one's still left hanging around the bonfire and/or the volunteers. Those are the ones.. clapping for you as you follow the zigzag trail marked by the checkered flags to the finish line - the end of a fence. No Mike Reilly. No loud thumpa, thumpa music.

Just some hearty souls, good soup, and warm clothing waiting at the end.

That's what keeps me going.


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