Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's Your Kryptonite?

From today's run
Today is the Buckeye Trail 50K. It has been a hallmark 50K in the area and existed long before the trail running boom here in NE Ohio. It was also my first ultra marathon and 50K seven years ago on July 14, 2007. It is a race that has humbled me time and time and time again. I remember sitting in Afghanistan in 2011 totally bummed out that I couldn't be there. I have run it every year since 2007 unless my military duties interfered which has happened a few times. Last year, though, I made a mental note and blogged heavily about the struggle of the BT50K. (last year's report) While I finished and at that time, got my 23rd ultra finish, I swore not to return and suffer like that again. Why? Kryptonite. For me, it's the heat and humidity. Nearly every year, we get baked on those trails, the woods hold in the humidity, and it's a slug fest. Heat and humidity is not everyone's kryptonite, either. I've been told by many that they thrive in it and often, those same people run on a treadmill all winter long. For me, I thrive in the winter. "The colder the better" is what I often say. Some of my fastest 50Ks are in the middle of the winter like this past January's Sasquatch 50K outside Charleston, WV in the mountains. I crushed it. Here's the thing, though: I believe we are all made uniquely and within us we have certain strengths and weaknesses. We're just made differently. I honestly don't know what I could do to become stronger in the heat. This year, actually, I've run more in the sun and heat so I'm probably acclimated more than ever at this point in the year.  Still, though...I suffer. Enter today's run...

I hit the road shortly after 6am and the sun was very much high in the sky, pushing through some really beautiful clouds. I felt pretty good and had lots of intention of going long. I decided to do a half marathon route and measure it's distance again. I was questioning 0.3 mile of it and since I don't wear a Garmin when I run it, I wanted to measure it today since I was wearing my Garmin. Turns out, I was right...it was long at 13.4 miles. Good info to know for the future for my log. Near the point I stretch out my 10 mile course to make it 13.4, I grabbed this great shot over a passing field.


Arriving back home, the sun and clear sky was definitely bearing down and mercury quickly rising along with the humidity. Forecast was headed for mid-80s and sunny. I refilled my Heed bottle and took an Espresso Hammer Gel then headed back out. My aspirations about knocking out a 50K+ today were killed. No way...I actually felt like stopping right there but since only 6.6 more would give me 20 for the day, I headed back out and got it. I suffered for it, though. That was a TOUGH 20 and I was soaked. I actually left my shirt behind at the house when I stopped because it was causing chafing even though I had lubed up. The humidity and sun were certainly taking their toll. Most days in my own "preferred" conditions, 20 isn't anything. Today, it humbled me but you know what it also did? It confirmed a good decision on my part...to sit out the BT50K. Suffering through a race doesn't make me any more a runner or accomplished than sitting it out when I know the "end of the story." I could prepare, eat perfectly, hydrate big time and it wouldn't matter. So while I was kinda regretting not registering when I woke up this morning, I don't any longer. I'd be out there right now suffering yet again for another ultra finish. I'm ok with giving that finish up.

Near the end of today's run, this view below stopped me in my tracks. I haven't enhanced it or anything. It really is that gold and beautiful. I love the contrast between the gold, green and blue sky. Click on it for larger/high resolution version.


So there you go...that's my kryptonite. It is what it is. It's also the reason I don't mess with the idea of a July/August 100 miler in our area. It's just a level of suffering I don't wish to take on again. Been there, done that, got the belt buckle! :) Some might speak down on this position and that's ok. I gotta love it...or I don't wanna do it! "Run Happy!" right? Right.

Streaking day 24 a wrap and 102.2 miles for the month of July after today's run. The streak is certainly assisting me in getting the monthly mileage I want this month...no doubt! Have a great rest of your weekend!

1 comment:

Mom said...

Beautiful pictures!