I can hardly wait for my 2008 season to get started because I have some big goals that I am looking forward to meeting. The winter months are always difficult for me because I can’t just go out and do whatever occurs to me like a mountain run, which has been occurring to me relentlessly over the past couple weeks. Instead of doing something new and potentially stupid like snowshoe running through the woods atop the Sandia Mountains I have stuck to my low-land roads and single track trails along the Rio Grande.
Sticking to the routine has been a great experience though because I am finally getting to see the results of the meds I have been taking for over a year now. If you have been following my blog long enough you will recall that I had this ugly tendency to break my bones whenever I would increase my running volume too much and in seeking the answer as to why this was I discovered that I had osteopenia. The meds I have been taking are to increase bone density and I have been taking regular large doses of calcium and vitamin D. At almost exactly this time last year I was thinking that I would probably never be able to get my monthly running mileage over 80 miles…this, I have discovered, is not true.
In all of my running this month I have racked up 143 miles and will probably get in another seven by the end of the month just to say I did. This is a tremendous turn of events for be because to be honest I was mightily discouraged when I was told I had easily breakable bones but I guess I did what comes naturally to me and just forged ahead to see what happens next.
My high mileage has been very enjoyable and for the most part has not been too uncomfortable. My speed over longer distances is improving and the effort it takes me to run between 8:45 to 9:00 minute miles is pretty minimal. With every day I am more excited about my running plans for the coming year.
Add to my growing excitement I am reading some pretty good books too, some books that, as the GEEKGRL would say, are probably a bad influence on me. Anyway, the running and the books have me thinking more and more about a particular goal I have been coveting for the past two years.
Here is one quote from the book “Deep Survival” by Laurence Gonzales, which I recently finished reading that has me approaching that particular corner which I am seriously considering turning this year.
“…doing bold things isn’t about engineering risk to zero. Shit happens, and if we just want to restrict ourselves to things where shit can’t happen…we’re not going to do anything very interesting.”
Those are the kinds of words that really speak to me on a very personal level and remind me that I have this one chance to live a life that is bold and interesting and I do not know when that chance will come to an end.
Another quote from the same book slightly modified to make sense out of context.
To lose everything in search of glory “is far sweeter than to win by plodding through a cautious, painless and featureless life…The true survivor isn’t someone with nothing to lose. He has something precious to lose. But at the same time, he’s willing to bet it all on himself. And it makes what he has that much richer. Days stolen are always sweeter than days given.”
So like I said, with all the running and all the reading I think I am ready to make an attempt at a goal I have held dear…I want to become a mountain ultra runner. I want to do races like the Leadville Trail 100, The Race Across the Sky, and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run and to get there I need to be equal parts smart and bold because those races are pretty unforgiving and the training is pretty specialized.
This year I am already scheduled for an easy trail 50K and an easy trail 50 miler but I am thinking about adding in the Silver Rush 50 mile (out of Leadville) and the Lean Horse 100. If things work out then maybe next year, 2009, I will make an attempt on one of my dream races.
Here’s to hoping!