Imagine you are training to swim across the English Channel. A far fetched idea for most of us, I know. Especially me, I can barely make it across the length of a pool, which explains why my career as a triathlete was incredibly short lived.
But humor me on this one: you’re going to swim across the English Channel.
Now imagine the only body of water you have access to in order to train for such an athletic feat is the local community pool. 25 meters long, 12 feet deep. As you swim in the safe, calm waters of your lane, you try and imagine what it will be like to fight against choppy waters and strong currents that try and slow you down and throw you off course with every single wave. As you put your face down into the crystal clear water and clearly see the bright blue walls of the pool, you wonder what it will be like to not be able to see through the murky waters into the sea that extends hundreds of feet below you. You realize it would be MUCH more ideal to train in conditions that mimic the actual event. But all you have access to is this pool. And despite the short comings in training, failure is not an option. So you touch the wall, do a flip turn, and dutifully continue on with your swim, hoping that something is better than nothing.
This is how I feel training for the TransRockies Run here in Myrtle Beach.
Now, don’t even begin to assume that this is a complaint, for you would be woefully wrong. I’m currently counting down the days (twenty!) until we leave for Colorado to participate in the 2016 Trans Rockies Run, an opportunity that I still can’t even believe we have been fortunate enough to have been given (THANK YOU KAHTOOLA!)
When we were initially nominated for this adventure, I don’t think I bothered to actually grasp what kind of terrain we were up against. But now, as the days get closer and eyeball the elevation chart, I find myself nervous. Excited, but nervous. So when people ask us, “how are you going to train for an event like THAT in sea level, flat, Myrtle Beach?” the answer is, still, “I’m not really sure.”
But I’m sure as hell going to try.
What we don’t have is elevation and altitude. There is no doubt we have a serious disadvantage training in the Southern, coastal, East Coast for a race in the Colorado Rockies. But what we do have is a 7 mile loop of a mountain bike trail, heat, and humidity. Plenty of room for miles and suffering.
And so, just like the hypothetical swimmer in the story above, we push off the wall, and keep running laps.
Because not finishing the TransRockies Run is NOT an option.
Run, run, run, that’s what we do. (Well, and strength train at the gym, we do plenty of that too). Push hard up and down our 20 foot inclines and hope our bodies still remember what it was like to repeatedly climb the likes of Killington or the 7 sisters. Then of course, multiply that by 3 or more per day, and add actual altitude.
I have no idea how my body is going to react to the altitude.
But I do know that I (we) have done the best that we can do training here for a race there. My mileage is consistently higher than it has ever been. Ever. My body is handling it incredibly well, which of course, makes it much easier to keep getting back out there. We are out on the trail early in the morning, and late at night. Sometimes twice a day.
But most importantly, I feel mentally strong. Pushing hard up what little hills we do have. Mile repeats in the blazing sun. Learning to run through the ridiculously hot, humid weather we’ve had here the past month is no doubt a huge factor in learning to overcome and push through the mental and physical suffering. I’m hoping the “I can’t breathe because of the humidity, but I’ll keep running anyway” carries over to “I can’t breathe because of the altitude, but I’ll keep running anyway”.
I’m really, truly, hoping.
(I’m also hoping to see a mountain goat in the wild while in Colorado, but no amount of training will help those odds.)
Anyway, a few months back I know many of you asked for training update posts, and I often feel pretty silly writing an entire post laying out each day’s training details. But in summary, this week yielded 60 ish miles, 4 strength training workouts, a day of active recovery.
But instead of a detailed training recap, I wrote this rambling post that doesn’t have much of a point.
On the Facebook, I often see the training runs that many of my friends who are also attending TRR are currently doing. Huge hill repeats and descents. Running and racing at altitude. It makes me insanely jealous and left feeling incredibly underprepared all at once. But then I take a deep breath and remind myself: you are doing the best you can with what you’ve got.
I can tell you that Geoff and I are over here busting our sweaty asses in order to not waste this amazing opportunity that was given to us, that so many of you amazing friends and family members nominated us for. It’s going to be an amazing time.
Come to think of it, maybe I do have a point after all: never let your limitations, circumstances, or roadblocks get in the way of your dreams.