There's so many things I LOVE about ultrarunning (great community, eating brownies while running, beautiful trails, hallucinations while running at night, geeking out on gear), but one thing I do not like about ultrarunning:
It's made me a slower runner.
My PR is 1:35 for the half-marathon, 3:28 for the marathon, but I haven't hit either of those times since 2009. (Okay, so we're only a few weeks into 2009, but I ran 3:46 disappointingly in the NYC Marathon this autumn.) I've noticed routes I used to complete in a certain amount of minutes are taking me longer...my legs are tired...I am slower.
I ran 8.5 hours last weekend, felt great the whole time, strong. The longer runs are getting easier. A three hour run is normal. A three hour marathon...well, there's the challenge.
I signed up for Boston, but I don't even know if I'll do it. Health problems indicate a minor surgery will probably be necessary, so if that's the case, I'm hoping to schedule it after the Umstead 100Miler and that way, I can take my 1-2 weeks rest easily and hopefully be ready for Miwok 100k and my crazy May of running! But running NYC last autumn, my shins, my calves, my legs felt so torn up by the pavement.
I want to run fast. I want to keep PR'ing in marathons, half-marathons. I want to run 1:30 half-marathon. I want to break 3:20 for the marathon. I just don't know if ultrarunning and shorter speedier races are possible for me.
My legs have been feeling sore a lot lately. This was part of the result of my crummy half-marathon this marathon -- they ached so badly I couldn't help but slow down -- I couldn't push myself. I am not used to running so fast, as well. Lately, my sore calves have prevented me from doing speed workouts.
I know what I need to do -- more speed. But I don't know if my fast twitch muscles are even around anymore.
I ran into my friend Lynn while running and she cheered me up. We chatted for a while, and she told me, "Cherie, you've done the marathons, the halves. Now do the hundreds, the fifties. You're long now. Focus on that and do it while you can." Lynn is a marathoner, and I am trying to take that advice.
I called my mother, almost crying. I hate being disappointed with my times. "Cher, you're not a shorter, fast runner anymore. You're a long-distance runner. An endurance runner. You can't do both and your body has changed. You're an ultrarunner now."
Thinking about it, I definitely prefer ultrarunning to marathoning. I just wish I could have both.