This is one of the final weeks before the Peacocks race. Some will be Tapouring (Tapering) others will be out doing the route in a more intense fashion. The standard departure times are posted. If you have any questions please post them, if you have any other runs scheduled please post the venues and times. Post your runs, perhaps you can find a partner. We all know what it is to go out alone, and there is nothing wrong with it, but it is safer if you are with somebody.
Saturday: From the Bottom of Long Road @5:00 AM Dillingham Airport Parking @ approx. 7:00 AM
Other starts and venues as posted in comments. All are welcome. Bring sufficient water for your run. Give thought to what you take with you as this is an advanced level trail. Ultra runners of all levels/ability/speed will be out on the trails.
A race prep. comment, followed by a mild rant.
Knowing the Race Route:
If you are going to run the Peacock, even just one loop, you should be giving some thoughts to the times you want to log for each section. It pays to sit down, reflect on what you have been doing during training, and write this out. Putting it down on paper will cause you to give some greater thought to the race, and it may just cause you to face some hard facts before you actually have to live through over exuberant expectations of yourself. Another step in preparing for a race is to go out and do a loop at a slower pace than you expect to do but one that lets you test your assumed times. This is a great week to get this done.
Finally, I often find it very helpful to sit down a few days before the race and run it in my mind. Let people pass you in your mind as you maintain the pace you have set. Tell yourself that you are in control of your race, that you will decide how fast you will go. Try and run every switchback, and climb every technical, see yourself moving down the trails and look for the lines. Imagine taking water and nutrition, think about when you will do electrolytes and mark the spot in your mind. Run through the aid stations. Know what you want and how long you intend to be there. See yourself confidently moving out of each station. Mentally run up Long Road in the heat of the day. Understand what that will mean in terms of nutrition and liquid needs. Watch yourself gain on the field as the run unfolds.
If you hit places in your mind where you feel uneasy run them again. Move mentally through the race until you are confident in yourself. This does not guarantee that everything will go as you plan, but it will help you meet the reality of the race, and somewhere out there, you will pass people who just didn't plan on meeting Peacock's head on. You will thank yourself for the extra preparation as you offer a hand, and then move on to complete your race.
And a not so ranting Rant:
In Praise of Youth
I slogged the western hills this past week-end for the first time in weeks. Injury has had a hold on me, and I have been plagued by aches and pains and was reluctant to go out because there is nowhere on this island where a runner can meet with weakness more directly than on the edgy cliffs and slopes of the northern Waianae range. Unfortunately for us all, Gordon has developed a penchant for the edge, and much of his selected route is steeply up, or, for me at least, seems ever more steeply down.
I found myself running with old friends; Bob McAllaster and Rex Vlcek, and it struck me somewhere along the cross-over while pushing to keep up, that I was the newbie. Both Bob and Rex have been around HURT for very long times, and have scores of races and unnumbered volunteer venues to their credit. I've been running with, against, and with the assistance of each of them for as long as I have been on HURT trails.
When running with old buddies it is not uncommon that the chatter will dwell for a time on injuries, healing, rehab, and hopes for the future. We have all been injured, missed months of training, and come back after hard fought mending of our bodies. It's a constant effort. This Ultra stuff is physically demanding and takes a toll on older bodies, but the hard fact is that the mental toughness so necessary for ultra running is not something that is learned well among the younger crowd. Ultra running poses the conundrum of benefiting from age's mental toughness, while punishing age's physical weaknesses; a destructive and somewhat masochistic brew.
Proof of such is easily verified, for if you have been an ultra runner for any length of time you can count at least a few faces that are no longer with you when you hit the trails. And as you get farther along you are bound to miss a few good friends. Of course, some, Rex, Bob, and I among them, have been fortunate to reappear on the trails and push on for a while longer. But there are those who never come back out, or who never seem to make it back onto the trails for any length of time, and who fade from the pantheon of Regulars.
Runners often rue these departures with 'group-hug' levels of sadness, and though individually one may honestly regret the loss of a good running buddy, on the group emotional level the feelings often seem a bit more coarse, and often have a perverse attitudinal inflection that attributes someone's lasting injury to weakness, or worse, failure of will. Perhaps it makes it easier on the tribal mind if fallen brethren leave us through the subtle accusation of a lack of determination to strive, rather than the more truthful facts of their physical breakdown.
The deception not only allows surviving runners to avoid the truth of injury but also permits survivors to assume the unmerited mantle of toughness, while at the same time humbly laying claim to having more of 'what it takes', all the while avoiding the cruel fact that little more than fortune and blind luck are the primary factors deciding runner's futures. Such myth is a product of the cultural organism and is fabricated to promote its survival as it comes to understand that truth, the antitheses of myth, is no friend of cultural existence. We communally delude ourselves because it is the only way we can continue to rationalize our own self destructiveness.
The weakness that causes us to demonize injury and mythologize simple luck, also runs amok in our attitudes toward aging. The mantra is that we are as perpetually young as we choose to be, that we reach our goals through good training and mental strength, and that given enough training and will power we will continue to be high achievers far out toward the event horizon. Good training is the salve that cures all ills. If one falters, applying more good training will mend the problem.
The Perils of Time Fixation
The fact that we are all navigating sinking ships is rarely honestly addressed. Instead we aggrandize the most foolish or physically adept, or both, and heap praises on those who possesses the most fleeting of qualities; speed. True, on any given day, speed is the easiest identifier of success. But a static measure makes little sense from the point of view of the individual human body since speed is destined to decline quickly over time. None-the-less as a group we are fixated on time, on bettering our own times, and on always using time as the intrinsic marker of success. Unfortunately time has a back side, and all of us are constantly facing that too, as blind to it as we may choose to be. In our unwillingness or inability to face one problem, declining times caused by aging, we create another problem, severe injury caused by the self deluded belief that we are just as fast and capable as we once were. We are not, and failure to realize you are getting older will ultimately ruin your running day.
As you may have guessed by this point, I have little to say in praise of youth. Quite frankly I'm ambivalent with regard to those who may lay claim to experiencing that period in their present lives. I neither praise nor disparage them. But the idea that older men and women can reclaim or hold on to youth is an absurdity that is, in my opinion, very destructive. That it is an entrenched aspect of our running culture makes it even more ridiculous.
So the next time you hit a section that you used to romp up or down, take heed. Things have changed since the last time you ventured out and it may pay to listen to your body just a bit more and a little less to the joyful 'I am always young!' voice of your soul. The truth is that your soul is a self deluding butterfly, while your body is fixed in the reality of this world; the very place where the trails run toward the horizon. If you wish that story book run into the sunset then you best listen to what will get you there.
Run Long, Run Hard, but not necessarily fast........ Aloha, Mikem ;)