Learning About Life From the Track

I’ve been banking massive miles on the track in the last few months… well, all my long runs. I miss the trails in so many ways, but I have learned so much from training like this on the track. I find myself in a trance-like state after a couple hours until I break free and think, “What the hell. This sucks. Don’t you have to pee or do anything yet?”

I am racing my first track race in May, a 24 hour. After last year’s very surreal fallout, I made major alterations to all my running goals. They are wilder and crazier than ever before, and so much so that only a few people really know what I’m up to. I wonder if they all think I’ve reached ultimate insanity. But that’s how I roll.

I always write my own training plans. The one I wrote for Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn is  unlike anything I’ve ever considered attempting before. I have never done so much intense training combined with advancing mileage. Honestly, so far, I am drained and exhausted. I know part of this is due to the muddy trails here at home that is where most of my miles come from. (Plus spending long hours at night working on B100M website which is getting close to launch and rising early to work again!). But I’m seeing incredible improvements in my ability to comfortably hold higher paces at long distances on my long track runs. I keep wondering, Where is the limit?

My long runs in the last two weeks: Weekend 1 – I did a single 50-mile run done at 30 seconds per mile above easy pace, rest Sunday. Weekend 2 – I did 55 miles split as 30 Saturday (a modified tempo run) and 25 Sunday (easy with progression and fast-finish). Sunday was really hard. I was frozen with sweat and the wind was brutal. I was horribly miserable! The wind has been insane to try to work with this season. But there’s always something to whine about. No time for that shit.

Last 2 Weeks Long Runs

Running long on the track has actually been very psychologically soothing for me. I can enter a state of deep inner thought and forget about the world around me entirely, and it seems like I can understand, grasp, and reason with a clarity that I’ve never found before. This is an amazing thing that I never would have imagined I would find on these extremely monotonous and mentally taxing long runs.  Instead of being burdened with how tired my legs are or how cold, bored, or fatigued I feel, I can mentally distill. I go somewhere else and shroud my mind in this place of hope, will, and light in the darkness. I’m intrigued by this new element which offers potent implications to racing that I have only begun to tap into.

Thoughts of Last Year

If you’ve been following my blog, you know about my major fallout last year. What I didn’t specifically allude to was how I had allowed the addictive beast inside of me to awaken. It’s a battle I have had to fight most of my life until I found the magic of running in 2011. I let my guard down, succumbing to excuses. It’s been hard to admit just how bad it got, but when you have an addictive personality, anything that makes the moment feel better clings to your next thought like a wet blanket. It’s a horrible trait, disease, or whatever you want to call it.

I thought I was so far away from addiction that it wouldn’t happen again. I was wrong. But now, I am ready with a sword and shield to never let addiction touch my life and or others around me again. I realize the battle never ends, and I must be alert and ready to fight. Besides, I’m worn the hell out from this cycle.

Running Forward

As the fog cleared in my mind, I decided I had to become someone else, someone tougher and stronger with more fierce goals than ever before – no matter the cost. The ashes turned into fire.

Many of my friends know my long-term goal has been to make the USA 24-hour team. While I did meet the qualifications for the 24-hour team in 2016, I was last on the list of qualifiers with 126 miles (Outrun 24). I would have had to run at least 141 miles to make the 2017 team. BUT next year is a new year, and I did accomplish my goal last year of at least qualifying!

The 24-hour team isn’t big enough now. Okay, fine, yah, I haven’t even achieved getting on the team yet, but it doesn’t matter, because I have PASSION! When I deeply desired to run ultras not long after I started running, I dreamed about podium finishes. I thought my goal was crazy as hell, but I still believed it was possible way before I ran my first ultra.

Why? Passion. Starting with my second ultra, WV Trilogy 50, I knew I was capable of achieving the dreams I had laughed off.Why stop dreaming, driving, hoping, and pushing to be the best I can be?

One day, this will all be over. One day, I will look at the resume of the pinnacle of my life. I want to shed tears at the passion that I had in chasing my goals whether it resulted in victories or not. I want to see the fierceness, pain, glory, and grit that sculpted Tara. I cannot leave the world without this.

I am now working harder to try to go even further than than my original goal. No matter how long it takes or how hard the training is, no matter how tough the competition is, the sleep I will lose, and the sacrifices I will have to make over the impending years to come, I will force myself every step of the way to meet my ultimate goal. What is the ultimate goal? Well, that comes later 😉

Work hard. Go down late; rise early. Devour yourself in passion. Today IS THE day.