Saturday, August 02, 2008

Training ... or not

Date: Aug. 2
Mileage: 32.2
August mileage: 32.2
Temperature: 54

One thing I will never understand about runners is why they like to get up so early. You have all day Saturday in which to put on a marathon, and you start the thing at 7 a.m.? That way, not only can your racers not enjoy their Friday nights, but when they do themselves a small favor by sleeping soundly until 6:40 a.m., toasting a burnt waffle for breakfast, and stumbling to the race to register three minutes before the start, you eye them with the same suspicion you would if the runner had showed up wearing stilettos? No, I say, be a sport and start your race at 10. That way, the rest of us, the normal people who sleep in on Saturdays, can at least see the finish.

I arrived at the finish line of the Frank Maier Marathon about 20 minutes after Geoff finished (and won) the race in 2:49, so I guess that would have made it about 10:10 a.m. It was embarrassing to admit that during the entire time he had spent running 26 miles, I had been sleeping ... and after telling him I planned to ride the entire course and take photos, I didn't even show up in time to see him finish. Such a slug. And to think, just a couple of weeks ago I had a fleeting moment of insanity in which I thought about entering the half marathon. But as I considered it more closely and realized that the entire distance I've run in 2008 probably didn't add up to 13 miles, I thought better of it.

So after I congratulated Geoff, I went for a quick ride up the Perseverance Trail. I met a strong rider on the climb who caught me and crushed me on the downhill. He steamrolled down stuff that I have to hold my arms out for balance just to walk down. We met up at Ebner Falls and rode back to Douglas Island together. I asked him his secret to tearing up the downhills and he said "ride a lot." We were both surprised to meet another serious mountain biker - somewhat of a rarity in Juneau - and agreed to ride together again. Yeah, new friend! His name is Terry. He took the picture of me at Ebner Falls (above.) Not a self-timed shot, I promise.

So I am at a crossroads now in which I have to decide whether to continue my carefree summer of sleeping or start more serious bicycle training again. There's this event in early October that I have latched onto, for whatever convoluted reasons I carry in my subconscious, but it's in there, and I have already started to move on these small hopes and ambitions. The race has been created with the benign label of "Trans Utah," which does nothing to convey the sinister nature of this mountain biking demon that could well become a desert classic. It's a fully self-supported multi-day race, 320 miles, about 40,000-50,000 feet of climbing, remote, with a mixture of potentially scorching desert riding and potentially frozen mountain riding. Scary! That, combined with the fact that it traverses some of the most beautiful patches of my home state, makes Trans Utah very appealing.

It also may or may not be as tough, physically, as the Iditarod, although considerably less walking should make it faster. Also, Trans Utah has a duo category that would allow me to ride and work together with Geoff, if I can talk him into it (which helps ease my anxiety about two very scary aspects of self-supported racing: Navigation and field repairs.) And should I survive it - or at least bail out at a prudent juncture, I can join the annual Grand Canyon trip with my dad.

The only drawback is that I'd have to start training. Hard. Now. Climb lots. Climb some more. Do many, many runs up the same trails just so I can spend all of my time climbing. And hope that my sea-level-acclimated lungs can somehow find oxygen at 10,000 feet. I'm torn, and feel like I'm leaning against it, but I did put in a leave request at work, and now I'm writing about it on my blog ...

What do you think? Should I do it?

27 comments:

  1. Hi Jill,

    Its Jason here from London UK. I've been enjoying your blog for a while now and have decided, being both a cyclist and a runner, to impart my advice to you, for what its worth. In regard to taking part in the Trans Utah I'd say if you have the motivation and time to train hard enough to be in good enough condition to complete the race then you should do it. Sounds like a hell of an adventure and who knows how many opportunities like this may be available in the future. Looking at your diary I suspect you have the motivation so its just a case of understanding if you have enough time to train.
    Keep up the good work.

    All the best from rainy London. Cheers

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  2. Anonymous2:39 AM

    "It was embarrassing to admit that during the entire time he had spent running 26 miles, I had been sleeping ... and after telling him I planned to ride the entire course and take photos, I didn't even show up in time to see him finish. "


    Yep, clearly a sign of passive-aggresive behavior.




    "I met a strong rider on the climb who caught me and crushed me on the downhill.

    We were both surprised to meet another serious mountain biker - somewhat of a rarity in Juneau - and agreed to ride together again. Yeah, new friend! His name is Terry."



    Yeah !. It sounds like this Terry fella could be Jill's "Plan B" incase Geoff decides to take off on her.



    S. Freud
    Vienna, Austria

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  3. Anonymous3:10 AM

    "Geoff has been hinting that he's not coming back to Juneau after the Wasatch 100 in SEPTEMBER. His plans for extracting himself from this place made for pretty funny jokes, until they weren't jokes."


    "There's this event in early OCTOBER that I have latched onto, for whatever convoluted reasons I carry in my subconscious, but it's in there, and I have already started to move on these small hopes and ambitions."

    "Trans Utah has a duo category that would allow me to ride and WORK TOGETHER with Geoff "

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  4. do it, don't do it. I vote for another golden triangle solo epic instead, but I am a confirmed non-event rider.

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  5. karen8:27 AM

    go for it

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  6. Anonymous12:11 PM

    The old lady says do it...you'll have plenty of time to sleep later. Youth and physical ability are a wonderful thing. Both eventually go away.

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  7. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Hey Jill,
    100% do it!!! It's your home state ... plus it's the first year for the Trans Utah race ... but don't kill yourself stressing out about it ... keep biking and worse comes to worse it it as a training race. Love your blog, paul from asheville

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  8. do it! what's the worse that could happen, besides NOT doing it and sitting at work that whole time wishing you had done it?

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  9. Do it! Then we can enjoy reading about it while wishing we had the necessary fitness/courage/ability etc to do it.

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  10. The biggest risk is the one not taken... blah blah blah.... I'm in my late 30's and my wife and I did a lot of self contained touring and we'll never wish we hadn't.

    If you don't do it now you'll always wonder and possibly regret not doing things like this event.

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  11. naaa sleep, ice cream, cookies and time with your cats...

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  12. So you want to give Mom a heart attack this October instead of next February. It's up to you. But one question... would you do both the Trans Utah and the Grand Canyon? ....CRAZY GIRL!

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  13. I've been thinking a lot about doing this ride/race also. It'd be a great way to enjoy the beautiful backcountry of Utah! If you can get the time off and have the money to fly down...the question is why wouldn't you do it?

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  14. Name one really good reason not to.

    You're my boy, Blue.

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  15. Give it hell - sounds like you can already see the finish line

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  16. do it do it

    And you know you have a back partner if Geoff doesn't wanna do it :)

    Do it do it do it

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  17. Jean from Cape Cod7:10 AM

    Ever hear of the Lewis and Clark effect?? (Its called something like that). Its when a person does something so amazing that it pretty much cant be beat - like when Edmund Hillary climbed Mt. Everest, or those 2 crossed the US. They are faced with the question of now what do I do. They do something so awsome that when they look towards the rest of their lives, they really cant find a way to top it, or to reach more goals because they basically already did "it". Do you think thats what happened a little bit with doing the iditerod? Just from your blog, thats kinda what i think of. Maybe you should take the rest of the year to just enjoy your hobbies and your life. Work on new interests, take time out to think about which races you really want and which ones you dont. Then decide. I love reading your adventures and can't wait to read more. But in the meantime, dont worry, be happy! Just like the song says! I hope that helps! Happy riding.

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  18. Well I think that sounds like a grand time in the desert & mountains! But I can't claim to be impartial ;)

    Some time ago MC explained his MO for these types of events. The first year it was all about learning the intricacies of the event. He didn't go out to kill (or even race) them, he went out with eyes wide open, looking for opportunities and learning the flow of the route. The next time he came back it was to race...it seemed to work for him, and in general I think that is a PERFECT way to approach Trans Utah.

    Respect it, enjoy it, keep yer eyes open, ride to ride (not to race) and it will be fabulous, with or without Geoff.

    This is actually strategic guidance as I can see you have already gone past the point of no return.

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  19. Ahhh .... YEA! Hell yea! Why not?

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  20. Anonymous2:57 PM

    With all you have accomplished this year...have you looked back at your calendar?? If there was anyone fully capable of riding the Trans Utah, it's you. 10,000 feet is not too high. You have all good reasons, and Geoff isn't one of them. Go find a bike techie to hang with for now. You'll be ready. And Geoff is already history.
    Don't stress. Like the other blogger said, ride it to ride it, not to race.

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  21. Anonymous5:09 PM

    "Jean from Cape Cod said...

    Ever hear of the Lewis and Clark effect?? (Its called something like that). Its when a person does something so amazing that it pretty much cant be beat - like when Edmund Hillary climbed Mt. Everest, or those 2 crossed the US. They are faced with the question of now what do I do. They do something so awsome that when they look towards the rest of their lives, they really cant find a way to top it, or to reach more goals because they basically already did "it". Do you think thats what happened a little bit with doing the iditerod? Just from your blog, thats kinda what i think of."



    That's what happened to astronaut Buzz Aldrin after he came back from the Moon, and his led to depression and alcoholism.


    I've noticed a subtle undercurrent theme of up, and down, up, and down, mood swings in Jill's blog since I started reading it at the beginning of the year. Almost like bipolar manic depression. Her mood goes way up when she has a race she plans on doing it, and while she's training for it. Then once the race or event is over her mood drops into a depressive state. Even during events she shows a tendency to think negative depressive thoughts. Other things such as Geoff being away for the GDR, and the lousy weather, trigger a lapse into depression..

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  22. If this were Lewis and Clark times, the highs and lows of living your life would be called "life," not manic depression.

    Seriously, anoymous, go away. Your brand of ridiculous psychobabble is why America is so heavily overmedicated in modern times.

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  23. Anonymous9:27 PM

    Jan said...
    "If this were Lewis and Clark times, the highs and lows of living your life would be called "life,""


    That's exactly right, and Lewis and Clark didn't have things like Seasonal Affective Disorder, or any kind of special lights for it. It's all ridiculous modern psychobabble.

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  24. Hi. No, I don't think you should do it. I think instead wait for a time and event when you know you are interested, and enjoy or experience the rest of the summer there more quietly.

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  25. Jean wrote: Its when a person does something so amazing that it pretty much cant be beat - like when Edmund Hillary climbed Mt. Everest...

    Sir Edmund didn't do it alone, so how about some love for Tenzig Norgay (the Man who led Hillary up Everest).

    Jill: sometimes your blog is motivating, sometimes it's just discouraging for us mortals to read that Geoff (fueled by an burnt Eggo) didn't intend to win a marathon but simply use it as a training run.

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  26. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Jill,

    You are awfully young to have your parts start going bad on you. Take a look at the scandanavians... who marathon into their late 70s. The reason is a sustainable, measured pace. It seems so american this "Extreme", and "horrendous". Heck shoot up some heroin if you want to live on the edge. Find some balance, your 15 minutes of fame are well into the 12s by now, and you have not yet struck gold. Don't quit your day job. See Roz rows the pacific for anothere example of going for fame without a plan for life.

    Rod

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