“Apathy has rained on me -
Now I'm feeling like a soggy dream -
So close to drowning but I don't mind …
I'll live inside this mental cave -
Throw my emotions in the grave -
Hell, who needs them anyway …”
- Green Day, “Burnout” (click to play – language advisory)
So, um … have I been talking about Western States much lately?
Looking back through my last several posts, that seems to be all I’m fixated on: preparations for the race which is now only 6 weeks away. As Olga predicted, Western States is coming like a freight train - and for the most part, I’m OK with its impending arrival.
OK, that is … except for the fact that I’m completely burnt out.
Ever since Miwok, I’ve struggled with chronic exhaustion that’s almost certainly a byproduct of several high mileage weeks stacked upon one another. It takes tremendous force of will to get out of bed in the mornings. Mile 2 of a routine training run feels like mile 40 of an ultra. I’ve cut some workouts short, skipped others entirely, and this week's planned 80 miles will probably end up closer to 50.
I’ve also become profoundly disinterested in the workings of the world around me. Things that would normally excite or interest me instead conjure nothing more than apathy, and I’ve pretty much been emotionally flatlining over the past two weeks.
(American Idol is still going on, right? Is my rocker guy still in it? Have any tweener girls thrown their underwear onstage while Archuleta was singing yet? Is Britney still crazy? Is Mariah still married? Has anyone seen Jacob on Lost yet? See, I'm not myself - I should know these things.)
All of this is normal, of course – an occupational hazard of the prolonged, increasingly intense buildup to an event that has been the focal point of the last six months of my training. A challenge of this scale certainly requires a measure of tunnel vision to eliminate any distractions from the task ahead. It’s not the first time this has happened, and it almost certainly won’t be the last.
So this is to be expected … but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. In fact, occasionally I just want to hide - to think (and write) about something else, anything else. Therefore, I’m forcing myself - hopefully starting tomorrow – to include some posts as intentional diversions, and to remind me that there’s still more to my life than an ultramarathon.
(As to whether those other things have any tangible merit on their own is highly debatable. I didn’t say there were important topics coming up – just other topics.)
I’m also planning a few rest days next week, before charging full speed ahead with the freight train bearing down on me. I’ll be the guy running alongside the rails before hopping onto the platform of one of the final cars, then hanging on for dear life to enjoy all the excitement of the ride.
And don’t worry – I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.