Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time to HURT

I hope that this experience isn't going to be as painful as it sounds, but I think the name sums up pretty well the experience I'm about to have.  HURT, a whole lot of hurt. Training for HURT is finished, and it's time to start this thing in the Hawaiian jungle.  I want my off-season to begin.  But there's this 100 mile thing in the way.

Training for HURT has not been easy.  Training in November and December, when all of your running buddies are taking breaks during the off-season, and the rain in Oregon has begun in earnest, is not always fun.  It begins to drag on, and the thought of weekend long runs becomes a downer, rather than a delight.  The mud thickens, the snow line descends, and the more-limited options sound like sentences.  Another run in Forest Park?  Ugh.

The reason I put my name in for the HURT lottery was that flights to Hawaii from Portland are cheap, and a mid-January break from the Portland rain sounded like a good idea. It's way easier to get to Hawaii (5 hour direct flight at $350 round trip) than about any other place in the US.  A good reason to go to Hawaii?  Yes.  But I've been reminded that people do go to Hawaii just to go to Hawaii.  There is no 100 mile requirement to be allowed to visit. Alas, many of my trips involve running, so the thought of just lying on the beach for a week was not very appealing (why was that?).  When I signed up I had no intention of running the 100 miles, but rather the now defunct 100K.  I guess I didn't read the fine print very well, because the 100K drop-down option disappeared this year.  Alas, that was months ago, and I've long been informed of my fate so as to properly train to do the whole shebang.

The usual 100 mile freak-out has begun, and the following panicky thoughts cycle through my head:

Crap! I'm out of shape.  Why didn't I run more?  Do more yoga?  Lift weights (more than twice)? Will my ankle tendons be happy?  Why didn't I get in any longer days?  Spend more time at bikram and in the sauna? What was I thinking?  I hate 100 milers....  I start comparing my training schedule to others, realizing what a slacker I am.  Why didn't I put in some 120 mile weeks?  Why didn't I spend 6 hours a day running?  And then reality and a little sanity re-enters and I remind myself that I have a full-time job, and already spend a fair amount of my free time working out in some shape or form while attempting to maintain some semblance of a social life, and attempting to do a decent job at work.  And that I should stop comparing myself to others.

And in looking back at the last cycle of training, it's probably been the most I've ever done.  After 20+ years of running, I started keeping a log this past April, so don't have a good record of prior years, but I'd guess I'm running on average, more now than ever.  After a recovery week post-JFK, I've averaged 71 miles/week for the past 5 weeks, with a high of 86 and a low of 54.  Definitely not high mileage in the ultra world, but high mileage for me. Along with a bit of bikram on the side for balance.

The part I feel most nervous about is a lack of really long runs in the past few months.  I'm hoping that muscle memory from the past year--during which I raced 2 50Ks, 2 50 milers, 2 100Ks and a 100 miler--carries through. Since Pine to Palm 100 in mid-September, I ran the JFK 50, with a handful of runs around 20 miles, including a 31 miler and a 25 miler in the past few weeks.  Is that enough for long runs?  I guess I'll find out soon enough.  While my lack of long runs makes me feel like a slacker, in terms of total mileage my December total of 322 is the highest for the year (I've never claimed to be a high mileage runner....).  I still don't feel quite ready, but I never do.  I guess the technical nature of HURT scares me too, and I'm really curious to see just how bad it's going to be and how many times I'm going to crash.  I do sort of like technical trails, though....depending on how many times I crash, of course.

A healthy dose of fear and self doubt.....that's how I'm approaching HURT.  I just hope I'm in one piece at the end of it.

14 comments:

Hone said...

You will do great. If it makes you feel better I have not run a long run over 19 miles since P2P. That is right...2.5 hours is my longest run in the last 3.5 months.

See you there!

Casseday said...

I have no idea who else is in the race. . . doesn't really matter. My money is still on you Amy! Just go have fun and enjoy the simplicity of your duty being to run an entire day with support on beautiful trails - you'll be on autopilot after the first hour. Go get'm!
- Adam

Sophie Speidel said...

Great post!

I didn't know they ditched the 100K option. There was an interesting article in UR about the drop-down option and whether it hurts or helps the sport. Wondering if the HURT organizers thought it hurt? (no pun intended).

Your mileage is pretty much what I did for Grindstone both years. I agree, it is really hard to do much more when you are working full-time and it is the worst time of year to be psyched about 100 miler training. I am sure your Pine to Palm training effect will come in very handy! And the JFK tempo run will too :-)

We will be thinking of you (and talking about you, no doubt) while at Gap to Gap on Sunday. A great group of the usual suspects will be there and we will miss you! Is there a live webcast of some sort?

Have FUN and enjoy the R&R on the beach! That should be enough to get you through those loops...

olga said...

Amy, you have enough and then some, so don't fret! You got it in your sleep, and you have determination that will drive past any long run. I'll be thinking of you - and I know you'll do an amazing job out there. Now, get some sun! But, if rain comes in - you of all will be in big advantage:)

Neal Gorman said...

Stop making excuses. You're going to kill it. We all know it. Aloha!

SteveQ said...

They dropped the 100K? Well, as their slogan goes (in Hawaiian) "We wouldn't want it to be easy." Those I know who've run HURT are all in the back-of-the-pack crowd and rarely make the cut-off at HURT, citing the terrain more than the heat and humidity. Running in the mud in Oregon might be race-specific!

Best of luck!

Rooster said...

You are so ready Amy. I am excited for you to run another fabulous race but also for you to get a tan from that yellow globe we hear about. Enjoy the hard effort so the beach scene is mandatory...along with endless amount of guilt free umbrella drinks. I will be watching you online. Have fun!

Gary Vale said...

You are definitely ready to kill it Amy. It seems ultra runners never think they are quite ready, but you are! And my money is definitely on you! Have a great vacation!

rustyboy said...

ROCK IT, YO!!!!!

amy said...

Thanks all! And for those of you with your money on me, luckily you're not betting real money. The repeating 2-time champ and course record holder would probably be a better bet....

Gretchen said...

Uh, ... looks like you're kickin' butt at the moment though. Yeah! Go Amy! :)

sea legs girl said...

Oh no - I just looked up the results and couldn't find your name! I thought you would win, woman! I hope you are OK and that you at least made it to Hawaii for some nice weather running.

Jill said...

Amy, I only just now put your name together with this blog, so I apologize for not "recognizing" you this weekend. It was great to meet you at the HURT 100. Congrats on the solid effort. I was amazed how brutal that course really is. Geoff had told me as much two years ago, but I didn't really understand until I saw it for myself. Hard to even imagine 100 miles out there. 27 miles overnight was tough enough. Hope to see you again in future events.

Hostpph.com said...

You are right only the name square my pants off. I think that I can't deal with it. At least it is a nice trip to Hawaii