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Getting out the door

The Bouddi Coastal Path
The day didn't start too well.  I was still processing Great North Walk 100s entries after midnight and didn't finish and get to bed until 1:30am.  After sleeping in to 8:00am, I woke to discover I had made an error in the payment details emailed to successful entrants and needed to send out a correction, and deal with emails and calls from those who had already tried to pay.  Ultra-runners are a friendly bunch, and fortunately everybody was understanding about my stuff-up.

Feeling a bit under the weather after such a long day yesterday and the late start and problems of this morning, I wasn't enthused by the thought of a late morning run, especially a longer one as planned.  Nevertheless, around 11:00am, on a beautiful warm and sunny day, I dragged myself out the door and set off for an easy 22km run following a course that gave multiple options for short-cuts if I felt bad, or my right arch was hurting too much.

Just a small section of the Maitland
Bay steps
The course incorporated some quiet roads and trails, much of it in the nearby Bouddi National Park.  As discussed in an earlier post, Small Explorations, I find that choosing a course with some interest is a good way of dealing with the "I really don't want to go for a run" problem.  My chosen route incorporated some stiff climbs, including the stairs up from Maitland Bay, but I took it slowly, enjoying the weather and stopping briefly a couple of times to take in the views (and once to help some tourists).  Some new blisters had developed during the City to Surf run on Sunday, a product of the new orthotic insoles I was wearing, so for today I reverted to the original insoles supplied with the shoes.  I was conscious of some occasional pain in my right arch, but it wasn't serious and I finished the run thinking that I will now stick with these insoles.

I finished tired and sweaty, with aching legs, but know this is what I need - some long steady runs that will help me regain the form I was enjoying a couple of months ago.  We have a 42km Terrigal Trotters trail run scheduled for Sunday, and this morning's run gives me confidence I'll be able to go the distance.  The wisdom of going for the run, even though I really didn't want to, was confirmed.

In my opinion, this is one of the testing times for all serious runners.  That is, forcing yourself to go for training runs when you really, really, don't want to.  It's worth persevering.  Not only do you get a training benefit from the run in question, but the experience goes into your psychological "bank".  That is, you gain self-confidence and self-respect by knowing that you can make yourself do things that other runners would not, and it becomes easier to get out for a run the next time it seems too much trouble.

Today's run finished around the edges of Cockrone Lagoon
I can recall a particular training run, sometime in the late 1970s, when I was working full-time and doing my Masters part-time.  It was a miserable wet and dark winter's Wednesday evening.  A tutorial at the University after work meant I didn't get home until about 7:30pm.  My training program (I was running over 200km per week) called for a 35km road run that evening.  Though hungry and desperate to have the night off running, I forced myself out the door and set off through the Melbourne suburbs, a lonely figure splashing along the dark footpaths.  Somewhere in the middle of that run, when I was passing through an industrial area in light drizzle, the thought suddenly came to me that few, if any, other runners in Australia would have been willing to do this run.  The thought buoyed me for the rest of the run.  I realised that I may not have the talent of some of my fellow marathon competitors, but I was sure none of them was training harder.

This is an exaggeration, of course.  There are many athletes, not all of them "elite", who force themselves to go out on training runs when they would rather be doing something else.  They will know what I'm talking about.

Day off

Delivering the pre-race briefing before the 2012 Great
North Walk 100s trail races
I never did manage to get out for a run or walk today, but I doubt that has done me any harm, given that I was stiff and sore last night after the City to Surf.  My right arch has been occasionally painful, but it's hard to know whether it is any worse for the weekend's running.
I was planning an easy day anyway, but the opening at 6:00am of entries for the Great North Walk 100s (GNW100s) trail races, for which I'm the Race Director, left me with a lot of processing and a reason to stay at my desk. 

What was already going to be a busy day, wasn't helped by a power cut in late afternoon, and I still have many entries to review as I update this blog.  Of course, we could pay for online entry processing, but given the small size of the field we'll accept (200 entries), the cost per entry is excessive.  Additionally, the extreme nature of the event, I like to try and review the entry qualifications of each applicant before accepting them.

The event is a labour of love, so I don't mind the extra work.  This will be the 9th running, and although there are times I regret ever having started it, I generally think it has been a worthwhile project for my retirement.  The relish the participants show for the challenge and the enthusiasm with which my Terrigal Trotters clubmates support the event is very rewarding.

While I was working full-time, I seldom had the time to help at community or sporting events.  Now I'm retired, I have the opportunity to make up for those years, and I'm lucky enough to have a number of running-related activities that I enjoy helping, including organising the GNW100s.