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Mind games #6: Let the race come to you

Here's a take-off on "If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed."

But with a twist for ultrarunners everywhere.

Roy Heger (at right) is an accomplished 100-mile runner from northern Ohio. He's a savvy character who knows how to make good time at races like Massanutten Mountain in Virginia - for those who enjoy running on sharp rocks for 24 hours or so.

Prior to each year's Mohican 100 mile, we'd have training runs on the course. One of my favorites was the night run, which covered the final 25 miles on what was the old course, mostly country roads under the moonlight.

Roy offered important input, like "let those feet work" which was about have some play inside one's shoes, so that feet can feel the terrain (not swell and bruise as mine have done).

Another epic piece of advice Roy gave me was "let the race come to you."

I have pondered this many times since that run. We sometimes let the clock, the terrain or other competitors get the best of us. We'll push hard to conquer when the timing isn't right. But when using Roy's philosophy, I can take my time, go well within my own pace, and wait to see what the race delivers. I may gain strength along the way, the competitors may slow, or a climate change may play to my advantage.

This master competitor is looking for a finish and anything better than that is a bonus. With a 50K this coming Saturday and a 50 mile two weeks later, there are no lofty goals. On both occasions I'll wait to see what each race delivers.

The race will bring me what it intends to. That will be my gift in this wonderful life of endurance sport.


  1. sounds just like a different variation of what that UF kid was talking about (a previous post)

  2. In my little bit of experience, letting the race come to you is the best way to run a race.It's hard to let let your competitor's go sometimes.
    Good luck with your races in the next few weeks.

  3. Tom, I know you'll take what your course and body give and bide your time. Plus, those two races are good experiences for you, I remember a couple of years ago at Guana, I whopped up on everybody on that last lap, no one passed me... except you! Now that's taking what the course offers!

    See you Saturday and at the almost full, just a couple of spots left Croom Run.


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