4:45am at 6500ft looking over Denver.
I had one goal for this run and that was to practice dealing with my mental weakness when I start to hurt, so I started out with the goal of hurting myself. I didn't have time to drive to the route I had planned on running so I had to settle with a somewhat hilly course closer to home. Not bad, although it was all between 6000 and 6700ft elevation and I really wanted to be lower. I pushed hard as long as I could until my wheels started to fall off at mile ~14... then I pushed to the finish. The last 1.5 miles was uphill and I held my HR over 170 and tried to look at why I give up in races. Lots of self talk, lots of internal examination. I practiced relaxing and slowing my cadence as I have a tendency to elevate my cadence upwards of 95-98 steps per minute when I fatigue. There's no way to simulate a marathon's pain any other way than this. Doing a track workout at max effort doesn't do it. Running 30 miles easy doesn't do it. My leg muscles fell apart and tightened, my hips and hamstrings hurt. My glutes lost all flexibility and my brain started processing the miles to go in a different way. A quarter mile seemed to crawl by so I practiced focusing on a point in the distance. At Ironman it always came down to simply making it to the next aid station and sometimes you started this 'game' at mile 1. I realized too that once I can conceptualize the finish I gain back some semblance of mental strength. The last 4 miles today taught me a lot for sure. Solid ending to a solid week.