Since Clear Lake Tri, I have been faced with beginning the focused running training that will hopefully prepare me for Cactus Rose 50.
Truth be told, I have really struggled with whether or not I honestly want to do this race. I have not felt in my heart that I wanted to for a while and I was hesitant to even mention it to anyone.
I did tell a few people close to me and they all confirmed for me that it made no sense to show up to start a race that my heart wasn't in. Cactus Rose is not the kind of race that one can traverse without their mind and heart focused on the finish line.
I made the decision to train for a solid few weeks and then make my decision. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about the distance of this race. Others have a hard time to believe this when I tell them that the 50 mile distance is challenging me emotionally, but it has been. Yes, I have run several 50 milers, however, I DNFd CR50 in 2010 and to go down that road again is not on my list of things to do this fall.
Thinking that getting through some higher mileage cycles and seeing how my body adjusted to the increasing running mileage, I could better discern my fitness level for CR, I set about setting a date to make a decision. During these higher mileage cycles, I have not let up the intensity or frequency of the swims and spins/cycling as well as weight-training that I had taken on. It has been a challenge to get all of these workouts in, but the payoff has been worth the effort.
Tomorrow is that day. But my decision is made. I am in. My heart is in. My head is in. My fitness is better than it has ever been. I will run Cactus Rose 50. And God-willing, I will finish Cactus Rose.
Another decision that I have had on my mind is whether or not to run the "training run" in Bandera on Sept 22. At this point, I still can't commit one way or the other. I will think on this a bit more before making a final decision. The two reasons I would not do it are the time it takes away from the family and the risk of injury on the CR course which could take me out of the race altogether.
As ridiculous as this sounds, if I should end up with an injury at CR, I would prefer it be while running a race rather than a training run. There are obvious benefits to running the trail before race day, but I am not convinced that those benefits are worth the risk.
I am entirely convinced that my current level of fitness and endurance is the direct result of the cross-training taken on while participating in the sport of Triathlon this year. I have trained harder than I ever did while "just running" and yet, I feel stronger, fitter, healthier, and have more endurance than I believe I ever had before. Therefore, I will continue with the current training regime, only letting up the last week or so before CR. I can not duplicate that difficult course in my hometown, but I can run on trashed legs and ride that fine line between fatigue and injury. It will require me to be completely in tune with my physical state and not ignore any type of pain, ache, etc. It will also require me to be diligent in my daily nutrition to prevent my body from breaking down. This is a challenge for me, as I often forget to eat, but one benefit of tri training has been the increased appetite it has afforded me. I wake up hungry!
Here's to that little race in Bandera! Happy training all!