Oh yeah, I know how to do this, right?

  

After I finished the Ice Age 50 miler, I felt kinda disappointed. I came in at 8:55–about 25 minutes slower than my time last year. And yeah, it was really muddy and rainy and just kinda all around icky (not to mention the three spontaneous hail storms that pelted my face with surprisingly painful bits of tiny stupid ice), but I still didn’t feel satisfied. I had the thought of, “So what. I just ran 50 miles. That’s not really anything.” So I decided to run another half mile right after the race, just to be able to say that I’ve finally ran something longer than 50 miles. Go 50.5!  

With all of this going on in my head, I knew that running a 100 is what I wanted and needed to do next. When I was running the Ice Age, I overheard some dude ask another dude, “So, you’ve ran 100s before. How much harder is a 100 compared to a 50?” His answer was, “Ah…good question. I would say about 4 times as hard.” This woman running near them said, “Uh…no. It’s 10 times as hard. In fact, you can’t even really compare the two.”  

My mind was at a loss. How can you do the same thing–running…one foot in front of the other–for two different events, yet in no way be able to compare the experiences.  

I’m intrigued.  

Post-50 miler I was super-excited to continue training for Leadville. I did some great recovery/cross-training workouts the week following the 50 miler. And then…  

  

Well, I just kinda didn’t feel like running anymore. I didn’t do the shorter long runs I had planned to do (15-18 miles the weekend after the race). And the weekend after that I was like, “Ok, Chelsey. Now is the time. You’ve got this. This weekend you have GOT to do a 25 miler on Saturday, and then follow it with at least a 10 miler on Sunday.” Yeah, no. I did do the 10 on Sunday, but that’s it…no incredibly necessary 25 miler.  

And then after realizing I had no money to actually support/fund my desire to run Leadville, I was suddenly sponsored by some generous souls (paid entry, nutritional needs provided), and had the support of everyone in my life–family, friends, therapist, co-workers, and even strangers–to do this 100. But then here I am, not feeling like doing long runs. I wanted to stay up late and drink with my friends (or even with just myself) and write incoherent essays about life. You know–the things that feel wicked important and life-altering deep while kinda way-too-tipsy.  

  

That seemed more important than running. This belief had a week and a half streak.  

What a fucking funk.  

At least this runner has a reason for lying down and not running...he just finished a 24 hour race.

But then…  

Insert spontaneous thought: “No, for reals Chelsey. Stop what you’re doing and just go run. No matter how heavy your body feels, how fast you aren’t running…just do it. Because you have to. But more importantly, because you can.”  

I should be a motivational speaker.  

So far this week, I have started to get back on the training track. I did 10 miles yesterday (albeit it at a dragging 9 minute mile pace), and today I did a really strong fartlek 8 miler at an 8 min/mile pace. Plus, I started lifting weights again, because, you know, I should be strong to climb those Leadville mountains (AKA Hope Pass–twice) or something. And while my ass hurts, I feel like I’m mentally and physically getting my strength back. Especially mentally. You just have to do it, you know. Even if you’re dragging ass, you just gotta keep with it.  

The interesting thing through all of this is that it’s actually not anything new to me. I’ve always found that at some point during my training for any long race (whether that’s a marathon or an ultra), I have one week where my mind and body just stop. They simultaneously chant together: “FUCK THIS!” And, in all honesty, it feels kind of freeing. Like dropping a class in college that was stressing you out too much…it’s such a release to let go of something you so desperately wanted to push away anyway.  

So this whole thing becomes a mind/body duo scream of: “I don’t feel like running and so I’m not gonna!”  

There’s such a little kid inside of me that rages up with random resistance from time to time.  

Through this resistance to running during crucial points in my training, though, I think a lot of good has come from it. Like, I take this bratty break, and then suddenly I’m like, “oh shit, I should start training again.”  

Yup. It's time.

And this is when I get kind and gentle with myself. This is when the mental part of running comes in (not to mention the very specialized super-convincing skills). I just have to keep telling myself that even though I skipped two important long runs, I still got this. I still know how to run. I can still do this.  

A little break won’t kill me…it won’t completely get my training off track. In fact, maybe it’s a sign that I’m actually starting to pay more attention to my body. That when my body screams, “this is stupid. I don’t wanna run,” it’s a sign that I need to lay off for awhile.  

So when I ran that slow 10 miles yesterday, I knew that I was running it more for my mind than for a need to increase my endurance. Or, maybe I was actually increasing my mental endurance more than anything else. I had to break the run up into bits to get through it: run 6 minutes, walk 1 minute. My body was resisting the movement, but my mind got me through it. And so here I am today: feeling great from a quick tempo and back to where I want to be.  

Whew. Hopefully that’s the only stubborn spell I have for the rest of this training.

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