I'm out! Basta! Enough! Last week I came to the conclusion that I just was not up for doing the Badger Mountain Hundo, or any hundo. I know, I know, this may seem strange since I was doing so well with the 30/30/45 training schedule, and in fact was about to 'peak' at my last big week before gradually winding down the end of the month for the run. There's a few reasons why I decided not to go through with it, which I'll try to address:
First, running was just not fun any more. I found myself dreading my next long run, and even smaller runs. I felt almost like my body was taking over, tired being sore, and needing some healing. What's interesting is this is the exact excuse I, and others, gave when bailing out of the Burning River 100M. I think what is required of running one hundred miles is the drive to go 'beyond fun'. But if running wasn't fun anymore, now, I could only picture myself really hating life during the race, after I'd spent the time and money to get up there, and wasted my crew's time and energy too.
Second, I just wanted more time for other things in my life, which is a bit bizarre, I know, since my friend Mark's 30/30/45 schedule is designed to give runners plenty of free time, and I'm currently unemployed. But running 30 miles, for me, requires an all day commitment, so I found myself blocking off the whole week, not doing much of anything, and certainly nothing social, so as to give myself time to run and recover. I think ultra-running requires a commitment, a passion, for only running, which I totally respect, but I don't have. There are other activities, like writing and playing music (and, you know, looking for a new job) that I found myself missing, because even in 'off weeks' I still felt sore and slow moving, and just wanting to sleep 11 hours a night.
Third, I missed barefoot running. On all the long runs, I was going minimalist, in minimalist shoes, which worked well, and was the right decision, but on off weeks, I was still running every other day, and still trying to get up into trails, so, with the cold rainy Portland weather, that meant still doing the minimalist shoes. Now I find myself with no calluses at all, when really, with temps never getting below freezing around here, I should/could have been running barefoot every day. I believe this is tied in with the 'running isn't fun' aspect.
(Maybe) Fourth, after all that training, and feeling like I was pretty strong, I didn't feel like I'd improved that much. That is, for example, on the recent Hagg Lake 50K, although I did PR, I think it was more due to the easy course. I still bogged down a little at the end. I was happy with the PR, but I feel like running some 30/30/45 weeks should have made me a much stronger runner than I felt. Instead, I felt like I've felt for any other marathons and 50Ks. I'm not sure what my point is, but maybe I was feeling doubt about whether I could do Badger Mountain. I'm not sure.
So, although I felt a little bad about being a quitter, I also felt a huge relief when I finally decided to stop. Which is how I felt during Burning River. I went into a little funk though, and haven't run that much at all in the past week, although I think too I've just been recovering. Yesterday was the first day where I felt a little of the fun-ness come back. I only planned on a 25 minute run, but ended up staying out for an hour.
So, I think I'm going to be happy to (just) run marathons and 50Ks, to maintain myself on that edge where they're hard, but doable. And, I think I may still be up for 50 milers—I guess because they're still something I can do on my own, in daylight hours, and be able to drive home under my own power (I plan to run a 50 miler for my 50th birthday, but that's more than a few years away!).
So, I apologize if I've disappointed any readers (if there are any readers) but I hope the chronicling of what little I did will be helpful to anyone thinking about doing a hundo. It's a lot more than just being physically fit enough (though that's huge). I would love to help someone else run one, by being on a crew and/or pacing, but I also know I have to know when to bow out gracefully.