Friday night I drove to Waco to meet my ultra friends and complete a 100k all night training walk/run. It was miserable and none of the five of us got anywhere close to our goals (some people planned more than 100k, some less). We all had to quit early due to fatigue, heat, illness, etc. I was so sleepy (not physically tired but actually sleepy) that I stopped twice and slept in the car before finally calling it quits. It was a very frustrating evening.
That frustration got me thinking about my current plans and goals. I've decided that I'm not going to do Heartland. Friday night was discouraging, but that is not the main reason. The main reason is that I can't keep up this training schedule. Several times I've almost fallen asleep in the middle of the afternoon while driving because I'm so tired; I've had my daughter in the car so that is very scary. I'm spending between 10 and 16 hours training each weekend, and to do that I have two choices: sacrifice time with my family or get up at super early times and walk around like a zombie during the day. I don't like either of these choices. I've missed a lot of training during the week simply because I'm so tired, and I've almost fallen asleep at my desk at work.
I'm just burned out and although I love ultras I think I need to take a little break and get things back in balance. I'm going to spend some time training for half and full marathons and work on my speed. If you've read this blog long enough you know that I won the Mardi Gras Half Marathon racewalk division in 2004. I'd like to train for some marathons that have walking divisions (Little Rock, St. Louis, Mardi Gras, Portland, to name a few) and try to win them. So I'm going to go back to a more normal training plan. I'm not giving up ultras forever, but I really do need a break. I've been burning the candle at both ends, and with my wife's medical problems, my daughter's needs, a new puppy, being in the PTA, being a mentor for Team in Training, I can't keep up. Ultimately it's more important to be with my family and be involved in these other activities than to focus exclusively on ultras.
This was not an agonizing decision--it was pretty simple and I am already very excited about my future plans. I think I will do one or two half marathons, then do the White Rock Marathon in December as a training event. My big goal is a big PR and First Place in the Mardi Gras Marathon racewalk division.
Here's another reason to switch to road/track walking for a while: I get to buy a pair of these!! Cool!