Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Practice Races for Cactus

Because when I arrive
I, I'll bring the fire
Make you come alive
I can take you higher

- Kevin Rudolph
Challenges - I thrive on them. They drive my training, fuel my motivation and pique my curiosity as to what my mind can push my body through. I am a firm believer that the biggest attribute a long distance runner can have is heart and guts, because that can drive you to keep going long after you should have stopped. That spark has been largely missing throughout the summer, but this morning I tried to re-ignite it by signing up for marathons in each of the two weekends prior to the Cactus Rose 100.

Some folks may think I'm ruining my chances at Cactus by not tapering beforehand, and maybe they're right. But I like to think I know myself, and I wouldn't sign up for them if I didn't believe I could finish all three.

Back in January I set a PR at the Texas marathon and ran a really good 100k at Bandera the week later. I think stretching my legs out over 26.2 played a big part in that. Then in February I ran a 21:35 100 miler and followed up a week later with a 3:48 marathon on sand. My one physical running gift is the ability to recovery quickly, and by making these three races into the "Mark Challenge Trilogy" series in my head, that gives me an extra incentive to finish Cactus. Sure it may all backfire, but if so I want it to be on my terms.

And besides, I really love to break rules :-)

Anyway, here are the races I signed up for. First up is the marathon 2 marathon race out in West Texas. It is on October 17th and goes between the towns of Alpine and Marathon. I've never been out to West Texas and Nancy is excited to make it our first road trip with Dylan. She tells me the towns are beautifully nestled amongst the Davis mountains. We will take a few days to go exploring and I'm looking forward to seeing the Marfa lights while we're there (as well as a few other places in my Haunted Texas Vacations guidebook).

Then a week later is the inaugural Frankenthon Monster Marathon at Brushy Creek near Austin. This looks like a fun Halloween-themed event and I really want the tech race shirt and socks. It is a trail I run on regularly and one I am familiar with.

As well as these I have signed on to do some coaching with Round Rock Fit again (though I will not be able to attend the three race weekends in October, and possibly several others toward the end of the season if another opportunity pans out). Last year I had a very successful training strategy of getting there early for the Saturday long run, doing 10 miles by myself and then going out again with the group and forcing myself to keep pace with the fast guys.

Yes, stupid male pride can be a very useful asset.


Larry said...

Tapering is overrated. Congrats, btw, on the new addition to your beautiful family.

Celeste Domsch said...

You'll do great! Sounds like a fun trip out west.

I signed up for Frankenthon too! It's 3 weeks after Twin Cities and just before the 50K version of Hog's Hunt. But it says no headphones?! Are they serious?!

Mark said...

Headphones are allowed at Frankenthon - it says so on the course rules page.

johnt said...

Yea, I agree with Larry. You should be fine man. I love rule breakers, like a kindred spirit! I am doing the 50 miler at Palo Duro two weeks before.

Celeste Domsch said...

Hog's Hunt says no headphones...say it ain't so?

Mark said...

Hey Celeste - do you mean the 50k version of Rocky Raccoon? Hog's Hunt isn't until May.

Anonymous said...

If you take I-10, you should stop at Sonora Caverns. You & your family would enjoy it & it's a good place to stop & stretch your legs. some really amazing caverns.