Do you believe in signs? Whether it’s God or life in general giving direction by providing an insight into the correct choice? When you’re presented with 2 equal options, how do you pick between them? Most times the correct choice is easy. It screams out to you what you should do. But what about those times where both options seem right? Or equally bad? Do you dig down deeper into the pros and cons to determine the correct path forward? Or do you look for a sign, nay a Sign, from above?
Can I ask any more questions?
I’ve reached this point with planning my long run this weekend. I can’t quite tell if I’m fully recovered from Eastern States yet or not. I’ve been doing my normal 1 and 5 mile maintenance runs for the past couple weeks, however they’ve been at a MAF level effort (i.e. very low intensity). My right leg/knee has been my biggest issue over the past 3 weeks. It’s not really sore any more and doesn’t hurt when I run, however I can tell it is still on the weak side. Nothing that 5 miles would do any damage to. But what about 5 times that? [apparently, I can as more questions] I think I could go bust out 10 miles without any issue, but I had planned on 5 hours of my hill repeat workout. That’s a huge increase in stress to throw at my body compared to what I have been doing. I’m not sure it’s ready for that. Maybe it’s ready for 1-2 hours of that, but 5 is probably pushing it.
Like all my 100 milers, the goal is to get to Cloudsplitter 100% healthy on 10/1. I would rather be 10% undertrained than 10% injured. So if the choice is between a 5 hour run and a 1 hour run, I should choose the 1 hour run. A neutral observer might ask why the options have to be so bi-polar. Why not a 3 hour run? Frankly, a 3 hour run isn’t going to get more any more ready to run 36-40 hours in Kentucky than a 1 hour run will though it’s much more likely to injure me if I’m not fully recovered. And the more I think about it, a 5 hour run probably isn’t going to do all that much for me either. You do long runs to maintain/increase fitness. I just finished one of the harder 100 milers on the east coast so I shouldn’t need to increase my fitness (and if I do, then I probably shouldn’t be attempting the run in the first place). So will a 5 hour run maintain my fitness or deter my recovery? I guess it could do either. I’m not sure though if I’m in tune enough with my body to know the difference before it’s too late.
Which brings me to my Sign. I have never missed a long run that I’ve had planned. Even when life throws me a curve, I’ve always managed to get it in somehow. But this weekend is just chocked full of family obligations (or NFL games) and I can’t quite seem to figure out the logistics. My only semi-viable option is to do another over-night run on Friday. But the trail I run is closed at night so I wouldn’t feel comfortable parking my car at the trailhead so I would have to run to and from the trail, which is an 8 mile round trip. This is a little too far to get home if I have to bail mid-run. And I’m not entirely confident that I can do the workout without having to bail part way through. So when all options are bad options, this must be a Sign. Ultras teach you to be adaptable and open to change. Even when it comes to the Holy Training Plan. So be it.
The new plan B is to do a normal 5 mile run Saturday morning instead. I’ll still try and do a 2 hour run + 2 hour walk on my hill course the following weekend. Hopefully it will be enough to get me used to using my new trekking poles. This is the biggest disappoint from missing my long run this weekend. I’ve had these poles burning a hole through my pocket, so to speak, for over a week now and haven’t had a chance to use them. Regardless, I think I’m making the right decision. Now if only I had some Sign to tell me where the stock market is going. . .
Better to be safe than sorry?