Rest day ramblings: On goals and races

I need goals to keep me motivated. It’s part of what my sister calls, my attention deficit disorder. Now, I’ve never been tested for or diagnosed with ADD and nor do I believe it’s actually a ‘disorder’. But my sister has been to some classes about ADD and dyslexia because she has a step-son and son who both have dyslexia. And she told me that she had a total light bulb moment during those classes: ‘My brother Andrew is so dyslexic and ADD’. She even tests me sometimes and I always pass the test with flying colours (even though I don’t ever know I’m doing a test). And by pass, I mean that I always do what people with dyslexia or ADD are meant to do. And I’m proud of it because I know that’s the part of my personality that leads me off on adventures.

So, back to needing goals. If I don’t have goals, I get distracted. New shiny things catch my eye and I’m off on a tangent again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the adventures that going off on tangents bring. But in the past it has led to me living a chaotic and unfocused life. And when things are chaotic and unfocused, I tend to get depressed. This is because I have a strong clash between my lack of focus and my goal-oriented nature. If I don’t ‘achieve’ something then I feel slack. I have tried changing the goal oriented part of myself for over a decade but have to do what the taoists do: go with what’s natural.

It’s still early in my first trail running season but already I’ve pretty much entered a 50km run every month until March. I had a clear goal: to run the North Face 100 at the Blue Mountains outside Sydney in May. But there’s a problem. Well, not a problem in itself but a clash of dates. See, I am going to a work conference in Houston, Texas in May. See how it’s not really a problem – I get to go to the US.

When I realised this, I changed my goal and thought I might try the Alpine Challenge in the Victorian Alps. It’s a 100km trail run that is largely held above the tree line. They usually get sub-zero temperatures at night and the trail isn’t actually marked – you need to be able to read a map. While this event excites me, I know that I won’t be ready by March. The furthest I’ll have raced will be 50km and I don’t think it’s sensible to combine my first 100km race with my first alpine experience. Sure, I’ve done some alpine walking but only 10-20km day walks.

So I went looking for running adventures in America. And then I found it! The perfect end of season goal. The North Face Bear Mountain 50 mile Trail Run in New York State. Not only does the course look stunning but the entry fees are cheap by Australian standards. For $US90 you get a 50 mile race with fully stocked aid stations, a North Face technical t-shirt, North Face arm warmers, a North Face drink bottle and a finisher’s medal. Just the t-shirt and arm warmers alone would probably set me back about $90 in Australia and commercial (i.e. sponsored by the major brands) 100km events in Australia usually cost $200+.

And  50 miles is probably a better end of season target too. After all the 50km events I’ll have run over the season, stepping up to 50 miles will be achievable. The 14 hour cut-off will provide me with a good solid challenge but one I know I can achieve. Fifty miles is also a good distance to use as a base for next season when I might be able to target some of the 100km events, including the Alpine Challenge in March 2014.

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10 responses to “Rest day ramblings: On goals and races

  1. That does sound like a great race, with even better schwag. Great deal! Maybe one day I’ll be ready for a 50 mile race. Houston in May should feel a lot like home for you: hot and very humid.

    • Hot and humid will feel like home. In 2011 the conference was held in Orlando, Florida just before Memorial Day and it was stinking hot there too. We did all the theme parks while we were there and spent most of our time on the water rides. This year the conference was in Denvor, Colorado but two of my other colleagues got to go … perhaps they knew 2013 was going to be in a hot and humid city (they don’t like the heat).

  2. Good thinking! I’m actually running the North Face Endurance Challenge trail marathon in Wisconsin in September!

    • Oh wow. I’m looking forward to reading your report 🙂 That event looks awesome too. I saw it on the website.

      I’m seriously excited about running in the woods there in the US. It’s totally different to what we have here in Australia. It’s so exotic to me 🙂

  3. ADD / ADHD. It’s all about harnessing that energy! That’s the beauty of cycling & running.

  4. You and I are not too different when it comes to distractions abd goals, and similar results. Maybe that is one reason we are encouraged by each other’s journey.

    As you have branched off into a lot farther distances competitively, I am excited to read about what you have achieved and imagine for your future.

    It seems like the goals you have planned out are all sensible, attainable, challenging, and fun! Remember to take pictures!

  5. I like to have goals . . . they keep me focussed and motivated 🙂

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