April 14th, 2012
01:11 AM ET

Letters to the President #1181: 'On the trail again'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama every day, even when I have other things to do.

Dear Mr. President,

As you read this, I am most likely running through the woods of Virginia. I signed up for another big race and it starts just about dawn and lasts pretty much all day. It is near the Bull Run battlefield and actually traverses it a bit, so that will be interesting.

I have some misgivings about this one, however, primarily because I have changed my training regime a good bit and you never know what the result will be. Last time I ran a race of this length (55 miles back in November) I spent a tremendous amount of time grinding through very long training runs. For a while I was running a marathon each Saturday and then 20 miles or so every Sunday in addition to my runs during the week. Preparing in such an aggressive manner was really not outrageous, although it may sound that way. Lots of ultra runners train that much and even more.

Still, by the time I made it to the race weekend I felt sort of sluggish. My muscles were awfully tight at the start of the run and I felt as if I had to fight my own stride for several miles,

So this time, I have backed off considerably in hopes of running a better, more relaxed race. I remember hearing an Olympic runner once talk about how she dramatically improved her running skills when she learned to try a little less hard…to let her training sort of flow through her instead of trying to force it. I have found that to be a helpful lesson for many other things in life, so now I’ll try it in running too.

We’ll see how it turns out. At the moment I think I will have a wonderful run, but considering that I have to fly back to DC from New York tonight and will probably only get four hours of sleep, you never know. I could wind up completely gassed by mile 15 and calling you to come pick me up for a ride home. Ha!