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A Walk With the Goblins

Posted Oct 20 2012 12:00am
What a gorgeous day along the Front Range!

I started my day too early, woke up at 5:15. I thought of going out for a run and getting an early start, but I couldn't clear the fog enough to go downstairs and make coffee. So I went back to bed. I slept until 7:30, and decided to bag the run, and get my butt in gear so I could go to Denver and spend as much time as possible with Steph.

Traffic wasn't bad in the morning and I got to ehr house by 10. We hung out and caught up until it was time to go over to Karen & Pat's for the No Goblin Gas 50K run and BBQ. We drove over to Karen's house and were going to drop off some stuff before we went to the trailhead, but Steph couldn't remember the code to get in the garage, so we went to the trailhead instead. We were giggling about our memory issues.

We got to the trailhead and met Ed and Sylvia there. Ed took off with the boys and the three of us women took off down the trail for a walk. Sylvia was great. I can tell that this group of ultrarunners have completely accepted her even though she doesn't run. She's great for Ed, smart, strong, and funny. I am so happy they found each other. Sylvia and I also discovered that we are both originally from Philadelphia.
It was a nice day, a little on the warm side, but not hot.

After about an hour we headed back to Karen & Pat's house to start setting up, Steph remembered how to get into the house. We got things going and soon everyone started to show up. There were lots of people, ultrarunners I didn't know, or recognized from the remote past. I saw a few people I hadn't seen in years. And there were dogs, and babies, so we had it all covered.

There were quite a few younger ultrarunners there, asking me all kinds of questions about Badwater, and other races I've done. They're so intense when they ask me the questions. It's like they expect this hard-core superbuff extreme intense psycho athlete, and they find themselves talking to a middle-aged, graying, wrinkling, not skinny or buffed-out, short little person wearing normal clothes, not decorated with a bunch of sponsors or athletic company logos, who just answers their questions. They probably think I'm the wife of one of the other runners there.

I think they are always shocked. "Oh, YOU'RE Alene? I've heard about your adventures." It's funny because I always tell people, I really don't take racing all that seriously.

Then they give me that funny look, "But don't you train for it?"

Yes I do train hard for Badwater, but just to finish alive, you have to. What I don't take seriously is the competitiveness. I just get out there and do my thing. If I want to run fast, I train to run fast and I put my mind to it when I'm in the race. If I'm just out there to socialize and finish, then I socialize and finish. I really don't worry about it when I'm training and I certainly don't worry about what people think of my performance or how I measure up to other runners.

They ask me what I eat, and how much I drink. I tell them, I eat any food that sounds good, and I have no idea how much I drink. I don't keep track. And then they look even more surprised. When they asked me the question about how much I drink, I looked across the table at Ed. He tried to answer for me, but he didn't know either. He runs the same way I do, he doesn't worry about it. He just goes out and finishes.

There's a lot to be said for not being OCD about every element of training. You can't be or you'll drive yourself crazy.

I wish I could teach that to up and coming runners. I won't pound myself into the ground, or keep track of every little thing I do. There are too many other things in life worth enjoying that you can't enjoy if you live, eat, sleep and breathe ultrarunning.

I see so many young ultrarunners get out there, when they first discover they can run 100 miles, and they get fixated on pushing their bodies to the limit. I can understand the curiosity factor- just how much can I do? How far can I go? They try to find out how many miles a week they can run, or how many 100 milers in a year, how much vertical or how many miles they can run in a year, and the physical fatigue and mental burnout are waiting there for them, like a pile of fresh dog poop. Eventually they will step in it...

How's that for an analogy? But it's all part of learning, and discovering your limits, and that's what this sport is all about. I always hope I can help people avoid the pitfalls that I and other people have experienced along the way.
It was Ed's birthday last month and we had a cake for him. He's feeling spunky at 63. He challenged a guy 10 years older than him to a race, it was the father of one of the 30 something ultrarunners there. Ed was a little surprised when the other guy took him up on it! Maybe you should keep your mouth shut, Ed! We all got a good laugh out of that scene...

On my way home, traffic was backed up on all the northbound routes, I-25 and everything parallel to it. I found a way to get off the exit ramp on 76, and get on 270, which I took to highway 85, and north to Greeley. So it took me two hours to get home. But it beats sitting in bumper to bumper traffic in Denver.

Steph and I are excited about planning a girls' trip to Death Valley next spring. We're going to check out all the places we never have time to visit when we're there for Badwater.

Over the past week I came up with more ideas on how to de-stress. I'll be putting those into action when I get back from OKC.

Tomorrow, easy 12 miles on the agenda, and I have to start packing for my trip and race! I can't believe it's the end of October already.
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