Friday, November 7, 2008

Hellgate What Ifs

What if I could get out of the funk I am in and convince myself that I really could finish this great race one more time.

What if I could cram months of training into 4 short weeks?

What if I could forget about finishing it fast, and just go out there to have fun and finish?

What if the race director would let me in at the last minute even though the race has been full for weeks?

What if...

Hellgate. It is the only race that I know so well I can visualize almost every mile in my head. I have had some of my best (most fun) times out on that beautiful and challenging course. I've run it fast, and I've run it slow. But I've always run it.

It offers so much. Am I really willing to give it up without a fight? The picture above was from Hellgate 2005. I trainined that year for a sub-three-hour marathon in the fall. That speedwork carried over and allowed me to have my fastest Hellgate in what was perhaps the worst weather year. Footing was hard to find. But what I did find that year was the courage to go out there and do my best.

Maybe muscle memory can help me get back into ultra shape in 4 weeks. If only I could remember where I put my courage.

Run hard out there.


David Ray said...

Run it for the fun. What's the worst that could happen? Life is short.

Need any more pithy sayings?

Neal Jamison said...


Thanks. No more pithy sayings. What I need now is some training advice. Obviously a high mileage crash course will only invite injury. So far I'm focusing on workouts that give the most bang for the buck.

Along those lines... do you know that delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from walking lunges feels exactly like DOMS from hill training? Could 10 minutes of walking lunges have the same leg strengthening benefit as a long hill workout?

Maybe I'll find out on December 12.

David Ray said...

I think the lunges are a more specific workout that isolate the leg muscles to a greater degree than the hill workout.

Or maybe I haven't been running enough hills.

Lunges are good because you can do them anywhere. After doing the lunges since June, I believe in the power of the lunge.

Sophie Speidel said...


Ask David to put you on a wait list. Last year Bill Potts did this after running Masochist. He didn't train at all, and two weeks before the race, Horton called with the news he was in. Potts ended up running 13:something, a huge breakthrough.

Go for it! You know you want it. :-)

Rick Gray said...

Neal, I am certainly no expert on training as I normally only run a couple of days each week for 30 minutes on Wednesdays and 60 - 90 minutes on Sundays. My long runs are races. You are an experienced ultra runner and desire is a big part of our success. You have that desire or you would not be making this post. I like Sophie, say go for it. Throw your name into the hat and see what happens. If you get in, it is meant to be and you can then approach the race that you are going out there to have fun and enjoy your friends company. Remember that in the ultra world, undertraining is better than overtraining. Hellgate is so very special. You have the desire and the ability, so go for it. Your friends want you there! Rick

Anonymous said...

Go for it, I would imagine you being a past top 5 finisher at Hellgate that would merit entry into the race since the RD knows you will finish. You are strong as anyone I know and can get into shape. As for training; be smart, mix it up, the lunges might be a good idea if you are short on hill training. I'd mix in tempo, fartlek style runs into my long runs so you can get more bang for your buck that way too.


Neal Jamison said...

Thanks all. Your comments mean a lot.