...and the beginning of the (Ultra) trail. Playing it smart - at racing and living.
Four months of training - long runs, tempo runs, hill repeats, interval sessions.
Four months of winter - brutal cold, slicing wind, icy footing, and dark - always seems to be dark.
Three weeks of tapering - trying to heal up, sharpen up, and psyche up for the one big day.
Been there before. All those weeks of training and it culmimates on a single race on a single early morning.
But not this time. Instead, marathon day is going to be Day 1 of my Ultra training.
As a result, the definition of a successful race must change. Running smart will require swallowing my pride. Getting caught up in the excitment of race day must be about sharing in the experiences of those around me, running my "smart" pace, rather than commiting myself to catching just one more person up ahead, and then another, and then another...
The marathon training certainly prepared me for the even tougher training ahead. The taper has allowed me to rest and recover properly. This "smart approach" feels like one step back, but will allow me to launch many steps ahead in the coming weeks. This approach has not been a very easy one to embrace the last few weeks. In my head I know it's right, in my heart too. It's just not always easy to do what's right!
How often are we faced with situations like this in our every day, where it would be best if we "played it smart". Where we need to swallow our pride, take one for team, elevate another over ourselves, or to say "I'm sorry", or "will you forgive me"?
How well are we doing? I know I have room to improve. Strange as it may seem to correlate the two, I believe "running smart" on race day will propel me forward toward my Ultra goal, but will also teach me a great "life lesson".