I’m posting this photo to remind myself of the benefits of hard work, and a bad haircut. If you’re not too worried about your hair, you have time to focus on other things, like actually finishing your run.

The photo above is from a 50k last March in Indiana. I came in second in that race, and I fought hard to do so. It was also one week after a 50-miler, which I completed ahead of my time goal. All this chest puffing just to say that I trained hard to do those things, and the hard work paid off. So I’m a little disappointed with myself today.

I was supposed to run 6 miles today, at whatever pace felt comfortable. Not a tall order. I went out at what felt like a manageable pace. It turned into a burden, but one I know I can handle. Rather than gut it out, I cut it short at 4 miles. All told: 4 miles at 7:58 pace. 85 degrees, 50 percent humidity. My heart rate was good, my legs were tired, but my legs are always tired at this point in the week, and if I wanted to push for those extra two miles, I could have. So, the conclusion for today is: most times, it’s good to hold back rather than push too hard, especially training for something like an ultra, but sometimes the smart decision is to do what’s hard. It can translate into that second place finish, instead of third.

Not to get into too much psychological stuff, but I have a lot on my mind lately, and of course it’s been leaking into my running. I haven’t been able to truly focus and lose myself in a run. I miss that rhythm and that flow, where effort becomes an afterthought, air is rich and fills my lungs with every breath, and my legs feel like pogo sticks. I will get back there, for sure. I can’t be too hard on myself. The heat is definitely a factor, there’s no use downplaying that. And if I have to come out of this run with a positive spin, it’s that I left something in the tank for 18 tomorrow. Mmm, it’s going to be hot.

Wore Zante v3, no music, no bottle. Side stitch is not caused by the bottle, I don’t think, because I had it again today. I think it’s a straight up sodium issue. Not much guessing to do there. Find a healthy and effective way to consume more salt before I run. Zantes felt probably the best they’ve ever felt. Still only a once a week shoe for me, though. Will try to get lots of restful sleep tonight.

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