(I'm pretty sure I saw this dude in 'No Country For Old Men'!)
Well 'The Big Dance' as it's fondly referred to is just around the corner now, and after what I witnessed and experienced first hand last year I've been spending twice as much time in the sauna as I did in 09.
The numbers aren't startling, 5hr last week, upwards of 7+ this week, a dozen or so over the four weeks prior, but as with anything, when you put in the time, the results will come.
Last year I hit up 'some' sauna time, but I never fully took it seriously. I didn't even buy a proper gym pass and was basically trying to save money by sneaking in when I could...yeah, I just admitted that on here! There were even a few nights where I showed up at the gym, knew I wouldn't get in without dropping six bucks and simply turned around and headed home. I pretty much got what I deserved down in Auburn last year as my body cooked from the inside on out.
Preliminary guesses have this years race coming in just slightly cooler than last year, but again no one really knows what we'll be presented with just yet. All I remember from last year is that had the race been held one week earlier it would have been closer to 85 degrees instead of the 100+. I'm not about to make the same mistake twice!
This Sunday past was the very first time that the sauna finally felt...I'll say agreeable. I was gonna say easy, but sitting still for me is hard enough, let alone in 175 degree heat with a bunch of hairy fat dudes talking politics. This was followed up yesterday with a significant 1h41min (101min) effort in which for the very first time I honestly felt my entire body enjoy the initial process of entering the sweltering heat! It's also undeniable that my fluid intake has drastically been reduced by these continuous hours of baking myself. That alone is one of the main things you are looking to achieve throughout this process. That and a lower perceived effort, heart rate, and sweat rate. All in all, I've reached a place this year that I never found in my scattered sauna training one year prior.
(the best part about this add, is that you can see that they've simply added the 'sauna belt' to this picture after the fact!)
I've started packing my iPod and this has helped somewhat with the torturous process of self distraction for such a extended periods of time. People have suggested doing sit ups or push ups but in all honesty there is rarely enough room and unless it were completely empty in there I don't think I could bring myself to do it.
Point of my story? Learning from past mistakes. It's always been funny to me that we can never really just learn from others mistakes, we have to go out there and F it up for ourselves first. It's not like I wasn't fully aware of what I was getting into last year, I just didn't have the respect and fear of it to truly inspire me to sit prone in an enclosed oven for hours on end. This year, different story. I've got all my ends covered right now. Energy is up and feeling great. Injury free. I've run every day for two straight weeks, nothing long, but everything feeling exactly like it should. Heat training falling into place. Stress level at zero. No self pressure and most certainly not sensing any external pressure due to my lack of recent training. More importantly, my mental space is so clear and focused right now that I might venture to say this is the best I've ever felt leading into a 100 miler. It's only my fourth, so that shouldn't be taken as a gravity altering statement. I still have no idea how I'll genuinely hold up in the heat. That is my only real concern right now.
I'm not trying to imply anything here, other than the fact that things really have lined up nicely for me leading into this one. Hopefully that actually means something come June 26th. I still have no intention of attempting to run with the lead pack, I don't think that would be wise for me even if I had logged regular mileage. I'm starting slow and steady, period. Hopefully this will lead to a strong final twenty miles, and a decent number preceding my name when it's all said and done. After all, I experienced first hand what it's like to hit the final twenty and know it's gonna be a long trot to the barn. Hopefully I can make amends with myself, and the course, and maybe even track down a few runners over those last few hours of running.
I know I blindly said this last year, but I now know exactly what I'm in for and I fully mean this, I'm REALLY EXCITED to get this this thing underway already!! Ten days and counting...