Several years ago, I had finally built myself a nice base from where it didn't take much to be ready to run a marathon. In fact, my best time to date was the Death Valley marathon that I did shortly after the Malibu Marathon which I didn't do that much training for.
But I had a decent base where my long runs were already in double digits.
That has slipped away like sand down an hourglass and I have yet to flip it over.
Yesterday, I posted this on facebook:
13 hours ago near Atlanta, GA
did my first "long" run today, 10 miles at a 10 minute mile pace. Not where I would like to be at this time, but a lot better than a month ago.
I have a little more than a week before I'm on the road heading towards Burning Man and the 50k that I'm determined to do again. I can probably squeeze in 3 long runs before I leave and then I think I'll run one lap once I get to Black Rock City and then taper it down for a few days, while in the middle of an epic festival.
I had hoped that I would better my time this year, which is still a possibility. But life came along with its demands, requests, hurdles and opportunities and my running training went out the window and down the drain.
Burning Man Confuses
It can be hard to describe Burning Man.
It can be hard to explain why, as I rapidly approach my being on this planet for a half a century, having lived a fairly full and interesting life, I'm now drawn and addicted to this festival.
Why after having hung up my clown suit and circus dreams, I'm now practicing to juggle torches and knives.
And why I'm back on my unicycle wearing a unitard and unicorn mask.
Burning Man Inspires
I had decided not to continue long-distance running.
It's training demands were and still are in complete conflict with my other physical pursuits, namely jujitsu and circus; obstacle course running to a lesser extent.
But then I stumbled or rather a runner who had just finished the Burning Man ultra, stumbled onto me. I massaged his calves, because I knew what it felt like to expend yourself on one of those jaunts.
When I realized I was going to return to Burning Man the next year, I was determined to at least inquire as to what this 50k was all about.
I was immediately brought into the fold, in spite on my non-runner leanings.
I ran it.
Had a great time.
Collected some swag and Playa-cred and blogged about it, Running to Burn.
Grasping for Straws, Catching Hold of Magic
I was nervous about running last year.
I'm as nervous this time around for the same reasons.
But I'm not alone.
After my 10 mile adventure, I came across this on the burner runners facebook site:
"I've been injured for a while, and just getting back into the swing of it. I've faked a few marathons before but have never run on the playa. Has anyone else done this? Will I die? "
I was the first to respond, but in no way the last;
Sounds like me; last year I was incredibly unprepared but took my time 7hrs and limped in. I might be worse off this year and plan to do the same. It's a blast though.
The responses were all supportive, some humorous, some with advice, but it made feel like part of something bigger than myself, inspired.
Then I found this wonderful interview with Cherie Yanek, the creator, race director and a "real" distance runner.
I am now thinking of maybe doing a 50 miler or even 100 miles.
I actually am hoping to tuck in 50 miles of obstacle course when I attempt the Toughest Mudder in November.
I don't think I would be thinking about any of this, or even the Spartan Beast that I did last year, if it hadn't been for the Burning Man 50K.