This weekend helped prove a point i've preached for years now. i've always said a goal is only the standard you set for yourself. all too often people set pretty weak goals that are easily achieved. i believe whatever you mentally prepare yourself to do or what you set out to do you will mentally and physically do. i think a goal should be set just outside of reach to allow yourself to reach your full potential.
not knowing the course i had a soft goal of 5:45 going into the race. and i ran a 5:45. if my goal would have been 5:35, would i have run a 5:35? i'll never know. i wanted to run my first loop in 1:50 and i did on the dot. my next goal was 1:55 for loop to. it turned into a 1:57 so i set out on loop 3 knowing i had to match my loop two time in order to run a 5:45. and i ran exactly another 1:57 loop. i would relax the pace when i was on track and i would push when i needed to but nothing more. to sum things up im saying sometimes we mentally limit ourselves and never allowed to reach our full potential.
now a tad of a race report since i guess thats what this is. august was probably my highest milage month ever. i had no races in august so i just wanted to get myself into the high milage rhythm and get my endurance back up. i averaged over 100 miles every week and it felt great. i had way more confidence going into this 37.2 miler then i ever have running that distance. i did at least 6-7 25 milers and at least 5-6 30+ milers in august so the distance was almost second nature to me and thats what i wanted. i knew loop one would be faster since it was a daylight loop. so another small goal of mine was to keep loops 2 and 3 pretty close to even splits as possible.
before the race i found myself puting knots in my shoe laces because after about 14 months of abuse my salomons decided both shoe strings would break on the same run. thank god it was a training run and not a race. josh witte (who i rode down with) and i were laughing at the fact how rigged they were and not knowing if they were just going to break as soon as we started.
im pretty competitive with myself but not very competitive with other runners at all. at the start of the race a group of three of us took the lead. me, eric gilberton, and nicole something. i've heard she was a badass and i knew him from other races and i knew after his even split victory at hells hills this year he was gonna put out a solid race. i made it clear to eric that i wanted to run a 5:45 and that im pacing myself to do it and i didn't want to slow him down if he was wanting to go faster. he declined my offer for him to go ahead and we ran all of loop one together. it was nice because i usually find myself solo most races. he's a super nice guy and we chatted about other races and both of our first 100's at the 2010 cactus rose where we finished back to back. most races there is usually a group of speedsters that love to take the pace out super fast which isn't for me, but this race i started comfortable and it was up front. i was able to run my own race, set the pace for the lead pack, and have good company? what a nice way to start a race!
the course was a little more technical/slower then i had imagined so i was having to work a tad harder to hold the pace then what i wanted. the dome was tough to run at night mainly because my headlamp sucks and i had trouble seeing all the little ripples and kept stumbling. the rest of the loop was just a lot of tight trail with lots of twist and turns that slow you down.
eric and i set out on loop two and he made it clear that he was having an off night. we stuck together for the first 4 1/2 miles or so. at that time he slowed to eat a gu and i looked at my watch and realized my pace was slipping. i felt horrible for leaving him and i was bummed because i assumed it was the start of my solo trek in. i took the pace up a notch to get back on track, but didn't want to push too hard just yet since i wasn't half way through the race. the layout of the route has you seeing lots of other runners the whole time. so it was nice to see friend out there and offer encouragement each way. loop 2 was pretty much the same the rest of the way. just holding pace and eating a gu every 2 1/2 miles or so.
between every loop i had to make a pit stop once again. i eat too much before the night races and start with a belly full of food every time. so after my pit stop i threw my usual packet of gel blast in my mouth, grabbed my final two handhelds and set off to get this thing done. i did loop 2 about 2 minutes slower then desired so i set out knowing i had to match my split. i figured my legs were a little more fatigued but i knew i would run the last couple miles faster so i figured an even split would be no problem. i had 4 gus on me to take every 2 - 2 1/2 miles and to this point still not a single s cap or electrolyte pill. all summer i haven't been taking any s caps. blows my mind considering how dependant i was on them last year. but thats a whole nother topic or post that i may do a quick write up on later. i was pumped that my legs were still willing to go the same pace and i really didn't have to push. i was able to just run and soak in the incredible full moon and sky full of stars. this course was something totally different then im used to. lots of granite domes and huge boulders. it was all being lit up in a pretty cool way and i was glad i was able to enjoy and not suffer through anything. i was able to relax, and just think about a lot of things. the last aid station came into sight and i knew i had to take it up a notch to stay close to my 5:45 goal. coming around that corner and seeing the pavilion all lit up was a glorious sight. i was pumped to just relax, have some beer and chat with my fellow tejas trails people.
in two weeks i've got the glen rose rough creek 40 miler, then two weeks after that my usual cleburne fat ass cactus rose training run. good confidence booster and a fun weekend down there! can't wait to see all the tejas trails family again in less then 8 weeks!