The diet / binge phenomenon isn't limited to food, as one would glean from Sara Knutson's latest musing about her one-year fast from racing.
Usually a marathon leaves me burned out on training.
Dedicating so much time to workouts is both physically and mentally exhausting, and afterward I’m ready for a break from the rigid training structure and self-imposed pressure.
Not this time. My marathon taper came through beautifully, and the combination of good weather and a forgiving course at the Sugarloaf Marathon helped me slice 16 minutes off my previous marathon best and qualify for the 2012 Boston Marathon in April.
I hadn’t expected to do so well and was thrilled to finish in 3:31:47, nine minutes under the Boston qualifying standard for my age group.
Instead of wanting rest, I feel energized, wanting to tackle another race and try for another PR or two.
I’m not just interested in gunning for fast times. What I’m craving is another challenge, something that will give me new goals for which to aim and create cohesion and structure in my training.
It’s time for an ultra marathon.
There’s a beautiful, 31-mile stretch of Ice Age Trail through the Northern Unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest. I’m going to take it as a sign and do my own personal 50K ultra over the Fourth of July weekend.
The challenge of running the longest distance of my life - on a rocky, hilly trail - will provide plenty of incentive to train hard and hit the hills, and I don’t need crowds or a T-shirt to reap the full satisfaction of accomplishing a new personal best.
Not racing has taken some potential goals off the table. But I’m finding that it’s also prompting me to seek alternative goals that I might not have otherwise considered.
It’s a good thing I’m in strong post-marathon condition. I’ve got a lot of running to do.