I am going on one month without a run longer than sixteen miles. The problem right now is not the legs but what is between my ears. I can only use the tired excuse for so long before I have to realize that something else is happening.
I quit the Never Summer 100k at the 50 mile mark and took basically the next week entirely off from running. I then did two of my biggest weeks back to back. The first week was sixty one miles and the next week was seventy one with forty nine of those coming over two days back to back with 6,400 feet of vertical. Then I decided to do a sixteen mile (3,400′ of vert) race the following weekend. This is when I first felt the fatigue as my legs seemed to have no spring in them.
I decided to make the next week easy and took three days off after the Continental Divide Trail Race and then added a rest day between each easy day of running along with being at lower altitude for most of the week visiting family in New England. When I returned home I figured an easy two laps around Stagecoach Reservoir would be a nice mellow long run to get back into the swing of things. When I got about a mile from finishing the first lap my mental strength laid down and I decided to call it a morning at ten miles. This mental drag seems to be limited to runs over two hours as I have had no problem with efforts in that time range and even adding intensity during those workouts.
I think I have allowed the mental laziness to persist knowing that next weekend I will be pacing a friend at Run Rabbit Run for twenty to twenty five miles followed by a fifty mile race down in the Denver area the following weekend. These runs will force me to go over twenty miles but I don’t think relying on external motivation will result in my best efforts pacing or finishing my first set-distance ultra.
I need to regain the mental edge I had all spring and summer. The plan is to cover twenty plus miles tomorrow morning not because it is necessary to pace next weekend or finish a fifty in two weeks, but to get my head back on straight. Time to focus on mental strength.