When you share a trail or a mountain with someone you love it doesn't matter how fast or how slow you're going. It's about enjoying being out there with each other and not about the fact that your time was 5 or 10 minutes slower than you would normally run. I mean really are those few minutes really going to make or break it for you in your next race? If you can't enjoy running a trail or hiking up a mountain with a friend because you're too worried about your pace than maybe its not really what you should be doing. I run to see new and beautiful things, to feel alive. I try not to run for digits on a watch, but its easy to forget this sometimes. This week I've tried to slow down and enjoy every moment of every run, to have fun, to revel in the beauty of the trails.
Early in the week I got in the starndard runs at Matt-Winters and Apex. Then Thursday while I was debating the need for a run and evaluating the darkening clouds Dan rang to see if I wanted to meet him at Apex to run together. It was exactly the motivation I needed for a mid-week run. Plus I needed a run to just relax and not push it too hard. Friday Dan and I met for our normal weekly run. This week we decided to try out White Ranch. It was a great new run! We started in the lower lot running up a steady climb to overlook Golden and downtown Denver. I enjoyed the trail as we ran through the arid lower stretches of the foothills, through meadows and down through the forested areas. The cooler temps of late have been amazing as well. Friday was the perfect day for a run and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
Storm brewing over Baldy kept the temps low
Sunday I went out for my last long run before GT50. With 2 weeks until race day I didn't think it was wise to destroy myself running up Georgia Pass again so I headed to my old standby Buffalo Creek. I originally wanted to get in around 23ish miles, but seeing as we were halfway into painting our decks and porches this weekend I decided to do the 18 mile loop and spend the rest of the day painting and doing housework. This seems to be just as effective for training as a longer long run or back to back long runs. Sunday was pretty chilly when I started running so I was in long sleeves, gloves, and had my now signature Colorado buff covering my ears. It felt great to finally be running in much cooler temps. I didn't even take off the gloves or long sleeve until around mile 12 as I was heading up Baldy. I felt good and relaxed as I made my way up Buck Gulch. I tried to push it a bit more than usual on the flat section from Buck to Gashouse. I know the GT50 will be more flat, rolling hills than I"m used to so I wanted to get used to pushing these sections. Then I hammered out the Gashouse downhill before powering up Baldy. When I got back to Miller Gulch trail I realized I really could break 3 hours this time. I cruised hard all the way back down to Pine Valley crossing back into the parking lot in 2:59! I feel physically ready for GT50, but now I just need to get my mind in the right spot. I need to make sure I'm mentally prepared to handle the inevitable low that I'm sure to hit around mile 30 or 40. I also need to make sure I'm mentally ready to push it when I need to. I seem to run better in training runs when I just relax. I've been working lately on pushing it at different points during my runs and taking it easy during other points; now we'll see if I can do that during a race. It's never been my strong point, but no time like the present to change that. If I'm going to be somewhat successful at ultras this is something I'm going to have to learn.