Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eggs, Baskets, and Ogre

I'm really itching for the opportunity to get after it.  More on this shortly.

Blogosphere has been a pretty cool and thought-provoking place lately.  GZ's self-reflective training shift manifesto has had quite the ripple effect.

GZ's series has caused me to do a little self-analysis as well.  Not that I have any answers, but one thing has been on my mind lately...and I'm not even sure what that thing is exactly.

Training cycles.  Racing patterns.  Motivation.  Running as an aspect of life.  Who knows...for anyone who spends a good portion of his free time running, these subjects are all so interrelated.  Attempt to unpack one, and you have no choice but to try and figure it all out.  Next thing you know, you're lying around the campfire trying to discern what it would mean if C-A-T really DID spell "dog".  And that's a lotta work for a petty hobby.

So back to the title of this post and what GZ got ME thinking about.  I raced the Badger Mountain Challenge 50k on March 31st, but otherwise haven't done any other racing since last fall.  Badger Mountain has been one tough pill to swallow.  I fully expected to show up and compete...and it didn't happen.  Doubt has since crept in.  What caused that poor performance?  Was it just a bad day?  Hydration?  Nutrition?  Tired legs?  Unrealistic expectations?  Tactical errors?  Lack of base?  General I-suck-ed-ness?  Lack of ability at longer distances?  As I continue to mull over the race and what it might mean, I don't get much closer to any answers.  At the end of the day, I got rolled by guys that I rolled as recently as last fall.  By guys who just barely beat out guys(and girls) that I've been 15 minutes ahead of at shorter distances.  And it's not sitting well with me.

Everyone has bad days.  Here's the problem.  I have always put all of my racing eggs in one basket.  I believe I only have so much emotional capital, and I want to spend it in the most effective way possible.  This belief system comes from my high school coach, and back then it paid dividends.  We sacrificed entire seasons for the chance to be at our best for one day - the state meet.  Meanwhile, other teams collected trophies at all sorts of other invitationals throughout the season.  In order to do this successfully, it took tons of courage and trust.  We had to forgo all sorts of short-term rewards in order for just a chance at something more long-term.  (we all agreed that our #1 priority was to win the state championship)  Being not at our best and having other runners, other teams beat us early in the season was tough.  Believing that we were better, that we would be at our best when it mattered most...we had to have faith that would be the case.  And it was.  And I have trusted this to be the way ever since.

The problem with the all-eggs-in-one-basket theory is this:  mess up that one basket, and what do you have?

Some folks stuff all their eggs in just one basket.  Others don't even bother with the basket; they just eat the egg straight outta the hen's vent.  Each of us does what we think makes us tick.

Collegiate Peaks is just over a week away.  My entire basket of spring training eggs reside in this one basket.  My training load suggests I may be in for a good day.  My one previous result suggests otherwise.  Had I raced multiple times this year already, I would probably be able to decide which of these competing ideas I should listen to more.

I should listen to more of this.  So should you.


  1. Trust your training.

  2. Agreed! Trust all the eggs you've collected in the basket, not the one that, for whatever reason (which doesn't need to be over analyzed), fell on the ground!

  3. You doing the 50 or the 25 at Collegiate? If the 50 (which I suspect), I'd suggest (as you know) not worrying about any of it for the first loop. You will know if the eggs are in the basket for the second loop and whether you are drinking em raw, or eating them poached.

    Not sure what that means but I think you get it.