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May 14, 2008

Burnout Mode

“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)

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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.


Deene 5/15/08, 8:13 AM  

good grief! you need to plan some quality rest time before the big race. we'll all be sitting here tapping the "refresh" button waiting for your report.

21stCenturyMom 5/15/08, 8:33 AM  

That all sounds kind of normal to me. Normal to the extent that preparing to run 100 miles is normal. So I think you're okay!

T Clarke 5/15/08, 10:35 AM  

This is when your inner triathlete comes to your rescue! Why not skip a few days of running and just ride and swim? You're not going to lose any fitness and you'll dramatically speed up your recovery. Just a thought...

momo 5/15/08, 12:10 PM  

totally normal. like i would know what its like to train to prepare to run 100 miles. in a row. wow, that all of a sudden sounds nuts.

and just so you don't feel so in the dark - the two davids are left. my vote is on the rocker david - he has cute lips and in my book, that's what counts. :-) oh, and i think mariah got married?? but maybe i'm not the best person to be giving you updates on pop culture. ask tri-dogmom, she knows it all.

angie's pink fuzzy 5/15/08, 12:24 PM  

shakira? britney?

national spelling bee?

who currently is rockin' the airwaves?

olga 5/15/08, 3:26 PM  

Dave Cook is still on along with Arguleta, and Angelina Jolie is having tween girls. Ohter than that - world is quiet:)

You shouldn't be burned out quite yet, so get your butt in gear and ramp some quality miles. You got 3 weeks of solid training to go before taper!

Makita 5/15/08, 4:03 PM  

We all go through little cycle of burnout... and as I learned, that can sometimes help you get the pressure off yourself. Get some rest. Cross-train. You'll be ready. :D

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) 5/17/08, 1:39 PM  

Oh, so that's where your newer post of the spelling bee was coming from. I'm with Thomas and Makita--do some cross training. The other thing to consider is maybe throwing another race in, and use it as an excuse NOT to run for at least a few days. I'm actually hardly running in between the 3 races I'm doing in 3 successive weekends and feel I would be very well prepared for States had I been luckier in the lottery. But I assume you're doing the training runs, right? Chill. Your immmune system's probably stressed enough as it is. Sleep in once or twice.

momo 5/22/08, 10:36 AM  

donald, just fyi, since i know you're deep in training...

the sexy lipped david won. :-)

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