I was up in Huntsville this past weekend for my annual 50k trek through the state park with a band of other equally crazy people who thought running through the woods all day was a good idea.
The weather forecast was far from ideal with afternoon highs expected to top out in the mid- to upper-70's (not the best of scenarios for distance running). It wasn't all that bad in the end, though.
I ran the race (for the second year) with my colleague Rand Mintzer. Since he was recovering from an injury he was planning on running 30 second splits (run 30 seconds, walk 30 seconds, repeat). Given the weather forecast, it ended up working like a charm.
That's not to say it was a walk in the park, however. After 26 miles on course I was worn out. It became a mental game. How can I convince my legs to keep moving when I'm tired and hot?
I suspect most folks rarely, if ever, reach a point they have to push themselves past their physical or mental limits. And that's a shame - because it's when you've reached that point that you find out just what you are capable of doing. It's when you reach that point that you have to decide how badly you want to go further. It's at that point that you are the most alive.
Over the last 2+ miles Saturday, my world consisted of the two or three feet in front of me and the next 30 seconds. I don't remember the last time I felt so alive as I did for those 30-40 minutes.