The process of boat shopping, office hunting, and moving came smack in the middle of training for the NCR Trail Marathon and the Seashore Nature Trail 50K. I lost about a month of training and had to make a quick decision whether to go forward with the races, which are two and five weeks away, respectively. I missed at least one 16-miler, possibly two 18s, and a 20-miler, as well as many, many short runs (which are the backbone of training). Got out last Saturday for 16 and today pulled off a 20-miler. I'm 30 miles so far for the week and will top it off with another 5 tomorrow. The 20 was slow, long, hard, but I think if I get in all my runs for the next two weeks I'll be able to survive the marathon--though my time will surely be slower than when I ran it two years ago.
Another concern with completing the races is budget. Although registrations are paid for, the 50K is in Virginia Beach, so I will need to drive down and back and have a place to stay. The idea of spending on hotel when I am struggling to come up with money for bills and boat repairs was rather disheartening. Luckily for me, I have found a place to stay gratis in Norfolk, so I won't have to spend for hotel. A dock mate who is also a runner suggested I stay with he and his wife if I ever want to run the Shamrock Marathon or other Virginia Beach races and I piped right up that I actually have one around the corner. They confirmed the dates are fine and I'm welcome, so the running gods must want me to go ahead and knock out my fourth ultramarathon.
After these races I plan to take a hiatus from long distance running. Although my total mileage for the Miami to Key West Ragnar Relay is almost 19 miles, it is cut into three segments, the longest of which is only 9.1 miles. Once the 50K is done I plan to cut down to 30 miles per week made up of three 10-milers. With a few days a week of ice skating added to that, I should stay in good shape and still be able to eat with abandon. Once skating season ends I can up to four 10-milers if I feel the need.
I have to learn to enjoy running again. I dislike the hooplah and crowds involved with races and only register for races to either have something on my calendar forcing me to stay in shape or because it is an interesting location (Miami to Key West, including running the 7-mile bridge) or bad-ass bragging rights (North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50K). What I really want when I run is solitude. A place to clear my head, settle my mind, lose myself in music. I also want to be fit, both for my health and to look and feel good. I do not need to run 20-milers, dedicate huge chunks of every weekend to such long runs, and beat up my legs that way to stay fit. Forty miles a week is still quite a lot, but 10-mile chunks are doable, and won't require buying expensive electrolyte mixes and gels.
So, I will find my way to love running again. And just keep running.