Changing the rules: my fall race schedule

6 07 2011

I posted recently about my body telling me it wanted to run more, and how I responded by running more, and how my body responded positively to running more. Things were taken several furlongs further this past weekend when I sat down, did some searching, and came up with a tentative fall race schedule … along with the realization I wanted/needed to start ramping up mileage now, rather than the first of August.

What can I say? My body is telling me it’s ready, and there’s no sense in holding it to a predetermined timeline. I’m starting to run longer again this week, although I’m still many weeks from peak mileage. But it’s time, and it appears racing is still something I truly want to do, rather than just another habit.

This is how a longer off-season can be very helpful: rest, recovery, and reevaluation. Not so much a conscious, thinking reevaluation, but just letting the body do most of the driving. I’ve become a pretty firm believer that your body and gut know a lot of important stuff; your mind just makes 3D movies for your ego to star in. In recent years, I have tried to never enter an off-season with the expectation that I would participate in even a 5K again. I try very hard not to think about racing again at all.

And when I give my body and gut time and space to reconsider things and go with what emerges, the right action usually will be made clear. Then it becomes a matter of aligning my mind to my body’s thinking. Which isn’t always easy, as we typically go about most things the opposite way.

So here’s my tentative race schedule until the end of 2011:

9/17 Tour des Fleurs 20K, Dallas, TX
10/9 Tyler Rose Half Marathon, Tyler, TX
10/22 24 The Hard Way (12-hour version; trail), Oklahoma City, OK
11/19 Wild Hare 50 Mile Trail Run, Warda, TX
12/3 Run Like The Wind 12-Hour (trail), Austin, TX
12/31 Across The Years 24-Hour (lottery dependent), Nardini Manor, AZ

We’ll see about Across The Years (ATY). If not ATY, I’ll find another 24-hour or 100 mile race in the same general time slot to fill the gap. So far as early 2012 goes, I’ll cross that bridge once I’ve crossed a few others.

Goals? I’d like to enjoy and be present with every step. I’d like to log 60+ miles for a 12 hour race (my best is a little over 58). I’d like to crack 100 miles for 24 hours. I’d like to end the season healthy. I’d like to really take pleasure in my training, and realize that training is of course running too. and that running is still something I enjoy and still a vital part of my Zen practice.

A lot of desires for sure. So, here we go. To quote one of guitarist and composer Robert Fripp’s many wonderfully appropriate aphorisms, “With commitment, all the rules change.”



2 responses

6 07 2011
John Meyer

*Without* commitment? Nice that it works either way.

6 07 2011

An observation: Having entered my seventh decade, I’m acutely aware of the importance of listening to what your body is telling you. These days, it’s a daily conversation.

I hope to do a Century this year. I wake each day and check all relevant body parts. I’ve grown adept enough to understand their signals. Some days, I ride long. Some days I ride hard. Some days I simply ride to relax. Some days, I rest. The thing is, I can’t tell, even a day in advance, what my body will tell me in the morning.

I think this is one of the funkier aspects of aging. I’m still trying to find my way.

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