In January of 2012, my friend John Hubbard and I decided to move our long run from Sunday morning to after work on Friday night. It was mostly a logistical decision due to family commitments. Friday night after the kiddies went to sleep proved to be the most practical time of the week. After a few weeks we realized the benefit of an extended run at the end of a long work week wasn't the effect of the run but the mental fatigue before, during and after the run itself. We all know that ultra marathoning is 90 percent mental and I have to tell you, it takes an awful lot of kahonas to grind past midnight into the wee hours of the morning when all you want to do is put your feet up, have a cold one and watch a sports game. Starting a long run when you are already super tired is a difficult dance. In your typical 100M race, when you depart the 100K aid station I would consider most to be less than fresh. May as well get used to it. To symbolize our Friday night long run endeavours both John and I coined the saying "Embrace the suck!" And my lovely wife had shirts made for us with just that…very fitting.
|What I want to be doing|
|What I am doing|
Since the Friday night long run has been a staple in my weekly regime, they seem to have grasped some attention on Strava making others reach out and wanting to give them a go. This past year I have run with many new faces and made new friends. This past week we got a great group out including the likes of Oleg Tabelev, Carl Pryce, Ryan Twa, Tristan Janusc, Myron Tetrault, Ed Bickley and Nick Haddow. What a great way to meet up with like minded peeps, make new friends and survive the grind together. It's true what they say "Misery loves company."
One thing (maybe the only thing ;)) Calgary doesn't do as well as Edmonton is getting the ultra running community together. Jack Cook at Fast Trax in Edmonton does an awesome job of organizing group runs to create a community setting amongst Edmonton runners. When they show up at races, the support from one racer to another leaves this Calgarian, well, kinda jealous. This past year I have been getting out with countless runners trying to widen my running group and in the mean time have forged some great relationships.
If Friday night long runs didn't happen I'd miss out on valuable mental and physical training important for ultra marathoning. But I also value the idea that if these night runs didn't happen, the close friendship that John and I have wouldn't have been created - well not at least to the same extent. Something very special happens when two people are put into an absolute state of exhaustion…even more so when it is a choice.