Can it be cashed? We'll find out next Saturday.
Whenever I am on a long workout, be it a run, a bike, or anything else my mind starts to drift. Yesterday was my final longish run (what does long really mean anymore anyways) before my first attempt at a 50 mile trail run. During my run I was thinking of a way of summing up my last 25 weeks of training and all I could think of was a relay race I ran back in May of 2011. During our third set of legs my friend (and swim coach) Sue took the baton from me and took off at full speed. Knowing both of our running abilities I was impressed. After she fought through a tough leg at an impressive pace and took a few minutes to recover she looked at me and said "I was writing checks that could not be cashed." I laughed as I thought she did just fine. So the real question now is "Will I be able to cash the check I wrote 25 weeks ago?"
Whenever you take on a new athletic endeavor, there is a feeling of uncertainty of whether you will be able to complete the event. You are plagued with internal questions, "Will I be ready? Can I get the training in?" But with every completion comes more confidence to take on something bigger, longer, and tougher. I can not lie, out of everything that I have taken on thus far, I think this 50 miler, will be the toughest yet. But at the same time, I have full faith in my training and my mental toughness to complete this event.
My training for this race officially began on March 25th, roughly 4 weeks after the Black Mountain Marathon. The training included a 50K trail run (in the mud) in May, a marathon (in the rain) in Iceland in August, and 1152 miles with 50, 000 ft of climbing. My running has taken a 148 hour path in which I burned over 135k calories (~ 642 Hersey candy bars).
Parts of it have been great, finishing a Casey's Thursday night run with a 5:32 mile on 25th of July feeling stronger then ever and parts of it have been rough, having an almost mental break down on the 4th of July after 5 days straight of running with the heat index at 100. For better or for worse (but who am I kidding it really is for better), I have become a stronger runner.
Over this period of time I have set personal records in my last 3 races: 50K, 1 mile, marathon and would have set another in the half marathon had I continued running past the end of my 11 mile relay leg last weekend.
Finally, in all seriousness, I have found a way of using my running to give back. I have donated $1 per mile run this entire year to 8 different charities to help out those less fortunate and I look forward to donating another $50 next Saturday.
T - 5 days, 10 hours till Virgil Crest - 50 miles, 10, 000 ft of climbing - Oh Yeah
"Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig" --