Last month I read The Longest Race by Ed Ayres.
It sounded like an interesting read. It’s about Ayres’ running the JFK 50 miler. He runs the race, and as he talks about how the race is progressing, he segues into related ideas and thoughts from other aspects of his life. About stuff. And then he comes back to the running.
I felt like more of the book was his thoughts on the human condition than the actual running of the race, and that kind of bugged me. Or bored me, rather. It was mildly interesting, but definitely not a page turner. But there were two things that I found noteworthy.
The first was about the virtue of letting the land go fallow which was somehow related to some aspect of running. (Or at least I think that’s what I remember. I can’t find the quote. It might not even be from that book. But I’m pretty sure.) Regardless of the details, when I read that, I realized that if you’re struggling to keep up with something, if possible, just drop it for awhile. Put it on the back burner, let things stew and percolate. I did that with my art and when I resumed making art, it was actually fun to paint again. If running is becoming a chore for you, take a week off.
This blog is another example. I started all hot and heavy at the beginning, and then ran out of steam. I started out at a ridiculous pace I couldn’t sustain. Classic rookie mistake! But after this post, the blog will be allowed to go fallow, because I’m going to Thailand for two months and I won’t have internet. I’ll be able to think about where I want to go with this and how to get there. I want to keep up with this blog as well as I keep up with my running.
While I’m in Thailand, I plan to continue running, God willing. I’ll have to be up at the crack of dawn to avoid the scorching sun, but that’s just how it is. I also plan to do the 100 Push Ups Program, http://www.hundredpushups.com/index.html, and possibly the squat or situp program. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, but for sure, I should be able to handle running and pushups.I had better do some running since 90% of what I’m bringing with me is running stuff! Check it out.
This is everything I am bringing with me, most of which is running stuff.
- 2 short sleeve shirt, 2 tank tops
- 1 swim trunks
- 3 pair shorts
- 2 running tank tops
- 3 pairs running shorts
- 4 pairs running socks
- old Minimus – Close to being retired.
- belt – To be worn on the plane.
- prescription glasses, running sunglasses, fashion sunglasses
- 1 box contacts – 45 day supply. Wear glasses on non-running days.
- 3 running magazines
- Thai Made Easy book / Charlie Brown book (gift)
- jeans and boxers – To be worn on the plane.
- hat and headlamp
- Garmin – To be worn on the plane. / charger
- iPod shuffle / headphones
- The Stick
- passport / cash / credit cards
- flashlight – Probably don’t need this.
- iPod touch – For use as a camera on runs.
- 2 16-Gig data sticks -To back up photos.
- shirt and hoodie – To be worn on the plane.
- camera bag / camera / extra lens
- laptop / drawing pens / pencils
That sure seems like a lot! But I managed to fit almost everything in my backpack. I couldn’t fit the Thai Made Easy book, so I’ll have to hand carry that. Which isn’t too big of a deal.
The other thing I gleaned from Ayres’ book:
“Reaching the highest possible performance as a runner is a year-long, even lifetime, venture. By the time you get to the starting line, 95 percent of what you’ll accomplish in the race has already been done.”
That’s a great realization. All the time and preparation before the race may well determine how well your race goes. You put in your miles and then all you have to do is run your race. I can attest to this after putting in three solid months of training for Bandera (my first 50K). I was super tired afterwards, but I felt I ran a good race. And it explains why I was so nervous about doing Nueces (my first 50 miler) on only 5 weeks of training. I was super-duper tired and thought I was going to die afterwards, and I felt I could have run a better race, if I’d had more time to prepare.
Ayres’ quote really makes me think about is how important weekly training is. Every mile you run is money in the bank, so to speak. And it adds up. The Chicago marathon is six months away. I want to run a 3:10. For the next two months I can put miles in the bank toward that goal, or I can slack off, waste an opportunity, and have to play catch-up when I return.
Do you have an upcoming race that you need to prepare for? Are you putting in the miles or putting off the miles? Do you wanna pay now or pay later? What’s it going to be?
See you in two months!!