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The Third Lap

I have been running a lot recently- even before COVID- and I’ve been getting faster. My intention was to run a ½ marathon in mid-May, which will undoubtedly be cancelled now. Well, my intention was not to just run, but to place top 3 overall. It’s on my home turf, and I could feel the time was right to try and jump back into shorter distance racing. But, as I’ve mentioned, it’ll likely be cancelled. So now, I’m back on Strava for the first time in years and decided I might try and chase a few segments just to keep myself motivated.

You have to be careful with Strava segment chasing- you should only be doing so on speedwork days. If you start to do it all the time, you can easily end up overtraining. However, I was set for Friday to be a speed work day, and I just didn’t feel like to doing a traditional tempo run or intervals. So what to do? Go test myself on a local Strava trail segment!

The trail is called Stud Finder and it’s a pretty tight, twisty, and rough piece of single track. I knew I wanted to do a few repeats, so I decided to hold back a bit and run these at 90%, not 100%.

Wow did it hurt.

I missed the Strava #1 position by 16 seconds, and it took me 9:19 seconds at an average heart rate of 182 to accomplish. I know I can get the segment- I just have to go in more rested and hit that sucker at 100% one time.

That’s the not the point of this post, however.

After the second interval up this trail (10:00 flat), I was DEAD. It was “hot” out (75 in the sun!) and I was beat already. I felt a twinge of dizziness and my legs started to feel heavy and cumbersome. I really debated doing a third lap. I did a lot last week, and my body was a bit fatigued before I even started.

Not to mention, you know, the whole pandemic thing. Bit stressful; sleep has been an adversary lately, not a friend.

However, as I was doing the loop back to the bottom (the recovery portion), my mind started drifting to fishing- as it almost always does. For some reason I thought of an article I had written in On The Water last year called “The Book End Tides”, about fishing through a whole series of tides for the best shot at success. What I didn’t say in the article was how hard that block of tides had been, how exhausted I was, and even my partial dread of having to fish that last one. I ended that set of tides on the last day having fished 7 straight days, and started fishing that last night at 2am! But that is what makes success. Sticking it out, and going that extra little bit, gritting your teeth and doing what’s right. There are limits, of course, and if your performance starts to really fall off, you should quit: fishing or running, or anything. But what really gives me (us) the best chances of success are those moments when I (we) have to really push. When I have to dig down and do the right thing- one more “final lap” or “night”, or “a few more minutes”, or “one more interval”, or “a couple more words today”.

You can’t be successful at anything if you don’t put in the work and push yourself to be more.

So I did one more lap. It took me 10:17, and my heart rate peaked at 194 and averaged 185.

And next time, I’ll do four.


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