Saturday, December 29, 2012

Houston Hundred 51.6k

I started the day with a 53 mile high speed drive.

A very small race, parking next to the course was easy and picking up the packet was easy. I saw my friend Kim from Galveston who does many 100 mile races a year. I also spied out Scott and Liz from N. Carolina. I read Scott's blog and knew he was coming to this race. Liz has run 35 and Scott has run 26 one hundred miles race this year.

Just before the start, we were treated to this beautiful sunrise.

We had an uneventful start. The course was a 2 mile paved bike path around a park. The only thing was, it was cold with a brisk north wind. Cold? Well, 32F/0C; but for someone who was running in a tank top 2 days ago, it did feel like a freezer. I started with 3 shirts, a fleece, gortex jacket, tights, wind pants, hat, gloves and buffy.

After the first lap, I removed the fleece. After the second lap, I removed the wind pants and buff. After a couple more laps, I went to a lighter jacket. But, all the rest of the stuff stayed on for the duration. One mile into the wind. One mile wind at the back.

Then began my mental games, which is why I run ultras anyway. I had a break through in my mental game today. So, the running plan was to jog steady the first 8 laps to halfway and then do some jog/walk for the second half. I didn't sweat one drop, so even though my running was at 12 min miles, it seemed that I had to make frequent pit stops. Thus my time is a lot slower than it should have been.

Starting about mile 10, my mind was trying to come up with a legitimate excuse to quit. Like, how could I get out of there after only 20 miles lets say. So, I remembered the spiritual phrases I had on a slip of paper in my pocket. I got these out and started repeating them over and over. I therefore "changed" my thinking. Believe it or not, it is my ego that likes big talk but not big performance. It is my ego that wants to quit instead of doing what I came to do.

My shoes were comfortable and my toe tape job seemed to be working well. So I really had no excuse to quit. A Clif shot with caffeine helped alot.

After 8 laps, 16 miles and race half over, I started to jog 3 light poles and walk one. This rhythm was very great. And then came mile 21. A crucial time, get ready for it. I became conscious of my defeatist thinking and how it screwed with all my past efforts. I told it, "f*** you, I am finishing this f***ing race." Determination arose within me. For the first time, I definitively told my ego to F***-off.

My ego went into hiding after that. I quietly practiced my spiritual phrases and jogged my 3 poles/ walk one. But soon I was on a downhill slide. I celebrated on my marathon lap; only 3 more laps after that. Nothing could stop me now. 

Some of the 100 milers passing me were jealous of me finishing. I was very happy to be finishing. During this race, I reconsidered what I learned about myself at Ultracentric and affirmed that I have characteristics not compatible with running 100s. I watched Kim go through the serious business of setting up and thought about how cold it would be as she walked all night long. "Whatever for?," is what I thought. It is such serious business and I don't want to do it. And I'm happy I don't have to go through all that suffering. And I'm VERY happy that 2 days from now, I'll be able to run on New Year's holiday, cuz that is what I do when I don't go to work.

But still, it is necessary for an ultra runner to go in ultras. I don't do 32 miles when I am training on my own. But I was willing to put it out for a race. And the ultra runner's mind needs real life practice at the mental games in order to be successful. I have a 50 miler in Missouri in March, so my mind needs this 50k practice.

Finally my bell lap. The volunteers knew it was my last lap. So they were waiting at the finish with my medal and they took my picture. I was last place in the 50k, but second place of the women; so I got a trophy.

7h43min, 32 miles.

And then a 53 mile drive home.

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