In theory I should be tapering for the TRT 55k which is now just over a week away, but as is seemingly typical for this training cycle, my weekend did not go as planned and so I did my last “long run” on Monday night. While I did not manage to run 19 miles at elevation in Flagstaff, I did manage to squeeze in a frantic 5 miles at 7,000 feet as well as some much needed cross training and PT exercises. Even though I really wanted to be able to spend more time up at 7,000 feet the weekend wasn’t about me and I got to see a whole other breed of crazy and get some pretty powerful inspiration.
When I told people where I was going for the 4th of July the common response was “Why the F*ck are you going to the desert in the middle of summer?” While I asked myself the same question several times, I had a pretty good answer. I was picking up my cousin who was riding 2,700 miles of the continental divide unsupported on a custom bike. He managed to achieve this in 21 days on roughly 4 hours of sleep a night and capped it all off by bombing 500 miles in 3 days in order to make it to Mexico in time for me to be able to collect him. His achievement was super impressive to me but what totally blew my mind were the people who did the entire thing on a single speed bike and the winners who did it in 15 days on 90 minutes of sleep a night – are you freaking kidding me? Want proof? check out the strava screen shot below or revel in awe at the actual strava activity itself: https://www.strava.com/activities/341380125
Listening to their tales of woe and triumph sounded pretty similar to those of any endurance athlete: navigating tough terrain, eating as many calories as possible at breakfast, enjoying a celebratory beer (or three), blisters, sunburns mosquito clouds… But instead of occurring over a concentrated time period of say 6-12 hours, they endured these difficulties day in and day out for 21 days! The event is called a race but after listening to them, it sounded more like a pilgrimage. It was certainly the most epic of physical and mental tests and actually sounded somewhat similar to Scott Jurek’s FKT attempt on the Appalachian trail. He is currently on track to beat the previous record and should be finishing today or tomorrow. He has been running for 44 days. That shit cray. You can track him through his facebook page.
So whenever I start to panic about my upcoming 55k I draw inspiration from these ultimate badasses. I tell myself that I am about as prepared for this 55k as they could possibly be for these ultra endurance events. And whatever happens at least I only out there for a few hours (ok maybe 6) whereas these guys are cycling or running all day every day for weeks on end. So yeah, I should just just up and run.