First a Little Contrition
I’ve been negligent in my blogging. I think about it often but have had trouble making time for it. Working for a startup, my work “to-do” list seems to grow daily and puts a lot of pressure on my free time. I’ve even struggled to make time to run. That said, I would like to get a few thoughts posted ahead of tomorrow’s Ascent.
This year’s training was quite a bit different from past years. Partly due to my lack of time and partly based on my running experience last summer. I’ve found that at my “advanced” age, 2-3 days off between runs actually gives my body the time it needs to recover. Either that or I’m just darn lazy! I was running every third or fourth day last summer and was surprised to find my speed increasing nicely even though I wasn’t doing speed work. This year I decided to work on endurance and let any speed take care of itself. This fits well with my goals (more on this in a bit).
Another change for this year, I decided to keep all my long runs at lower altitudes where I can exert my muscles more and handle acclimation by spending time at altitude in the two weeks prior to the race. I’ve done a number of 12-15 mile runs in spots like the Gold Camp road, Rampart Reservoir and Mueller State Park and have only run on Pikes Peak twice (The Elk Park Trail and into the Cirque and back). For acclimation, I spent most of last week in Leadville and did my last long run on the skirt of Mount Massive between 11,000-12,000’ elevation. This week I spent three days working out of my car on the summit of Pikes Peak (6-9 hours each day).
Tomorrow we will find out how the modified training approach works for an old grey marmot!
A few of my fellow marmots have talked about goals and I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts on the subject. First, I should say that going into my ninth Pikes Peak Ascent my goals are much different than they’ve been in the past. I’m less concerned about a personal best (as It’s highly unlikely that will happen) and mostly concerned with limiting my pain and suffering. That fits well with working on endurance more than speed and going into the race with my Grandfather’s oft used advice: “Easy does it”.
I started to say “we all” but I should probably say “many of us” set goals in our lives. There are entire books and seminars around the practice. I for one have set and achieved numerous goals over the years. You can probably tell a lot about a person by the goals they set. At the very least what’s most important to them. Some people’s goals are strictly monetary and career related. Mine happen to be light on the financial success side and heavy on the play side of life. As I worked through my goals, had successes and developed new goals (which naturally have to be bigger and more daring than the last), it struck me that life was getting quite dangerous. I’d fallen rock climbing, I’d driven up Pikes Peak at around 90 mph, and been in a number of other dangerous situations. At some point, I realized that, if I kept setting goals in the same vein, I was going to end up killing myself.
No one ever talks about the dangers of goal setting. Each success leads to the need for a bigger and more audacious challenge right up to catastrophic failure. Once I realized where I was heading, I adjusted my path and began curbing my goal setting bent. When I do set goals now, I try to keep them modest (i.e. I think I’ll get out of bed tomorrow morning, I should get eight hours of sleep tonight, etc.). For this ninth Pikes Peak Ascent (and two Marathons), being a Mighty Marmot fits well with my new goal setting approach. It’s fairly easy to fit into the Marmot way of living: eat a lot of tundra, sun yourself on a rock and whistle if you sense danger. I think my goal for tomorrow (minimize pain and don’t worry about speed) fits right into the Marmot way. I’ll let you know if I succeed.