Balance. Everything in life requires it. Whether it’s your car, your desk at work, your dinner table, or even something simpler like “life,” balance is required. Entering into this craziness to run my first 100 mile run, I knew balance was going to be a challenge. Faith, family, work, sleep, miles, Miles, and more MILES….oh how to balance it all and escape unscathed and victorious! Well, with the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run 6 weeks from this weekend, fitting in the hours that is required to prepare certainly has presented its challenges. Plus, there’s just the plain ‘ol fact of with increased mileage and time on the feet, I’m just plain tired!
Since my last blog entry, I ran a very muddy but enjoyable 23 miler/4hr, 23min on the Buckeye Trail last Saturday…rain all along the way. I stuck to the summer version of the Buckeye Trail 50K which is 4 weeks away and trained along the course that I’m most un-familiar with. The plan was to get in 20-30 miles that day so I was happy. Mileage for the week ended with an even 60 miles. I’ve been trying to get into the 60-70 mile range from being in the 40-50 mile range per week that I’ve been at for over a year. I also tried taking 2 salt tabs once an hour to see how my stomach handled it. So far, so good. (salt tabs help hydration and help to stop/minimize cramping in multi-hour events) Sunday marked a new running week on my calendar so I ran an easy 8 before church around town. I absolutely love Sunday morning runs…no traffic, absolute quiet, and just the birds singing. Awesome. This week, my daughters have been at VBS (Vacation Bible School) in Kent which put me closer to the trails than to home so instead of driving home while they were there, I’ve been running trails. Monday, I knocked out 8 miles in 1hr, 12min on the Ledges, Pine Grove, and Boston Run trails. Last night, I ran part of the Burning River course from Pine Hollow to Bolanz and back…12 miles round-trip. GORGEOUS evening with temps around 59F, clearing skies, and low humidity. I saw lots of dear, rabbits, and a rare sight…a brilliant Bluebird. What an awesome bird! It was like seeing a neon blue bird flying out of the brush. This run covered miles 74 – 80 of the BR100. It was good to get out there and see this trail for the first time, especially since I’ll arrive there in the dark late on August 2nd. It’s used heavily by horses as the majority of it is the Valley Bridle Trail. So you can imagine how a lot of the terrain is…big ‘ol hoof prints in the ground…and when hardened up, could easily twist an ankle. A headlamp will be essential during this leg of the race. After this leg, I’ll reach the Covered Bridge aid station followed by a very tough and technical Perkins Trail which will again be quite the challenge in the dark. The good thing is that afterwards, I’ll only be about 16 miles from the finish! Thanks to Greg for running with me last night and providing some great company and conversation. (that's something we've become experts at since spending 13hrs together earlier this Spring at the Green Jewel 100K!)
Back to balance: it’s not easy but it sure is easier if you’re family is part of the equation and supports the training. My goal is to train when they are asleep (early morning runs like the one I’m about to head out on) but sometimes, that’s just not possible. Running does not define my life or me, but yea, it is certainly a big part of it, it just needs to know it’s place and fill it…with balance.
Looking ahead: I hope to continue to increase my mileage and multi-hour runs…both morning and night. There is a group run forming on the July 4th weekend that will cover the last 35 miles of the BR100 and start at 9pm to get used to running tired and in darkness as we will be on August 2nd/3rd. Before that, I’ll run my 4th ultra-marathon, the Summer Buckeye Trail 50K on July 19th.
Find your balance, prioritize, and live life to its fullest. We only get one shot at this!
Happy Trails, everyone!