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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Back in the game.

Today was my first day back to running that I actually felt like a runner.  I was able to finally go long enough to sweat despite the brisk early December weather. I was able to go long enough to really feel the cold air on my face and in my lungs. I only logged 5.5 miles, but it was the first run back that was actually worth logging. It feels great. I feel great. What a perfect way to kick off December.
And now I am happily relaxing in sweats and enjoying every minute of the afterglow of a good workout in beautiful fall weather. I was previously worried about starting back to running so late in the year, because it's hard to get motivated when the air is cold and the days are short. I am super happy that I didn't miss all of the best running weather, and even more excited that the mild temps are supposed to stick around until Thursday.
To keep my motivation high, I am following the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship that is going on out in San Fran right now.  I am continually amazed at the men and women that can pound out multiple sub 3 and sub 4 hour marathons on trails with mud and obstacles.  It's people like this that make me want to be a better runner.  Not that I'll ever be winning or even placing in races like this; but most ultra runners are everyday normal people with full time jobs and families, and what they accomplish in their "free" time is incredible.
At any rate, that is all I have for this post.  Short and sweet.  Just like my run this morning.

Cheers and happy trails,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

12 weeks down and a year of running plans

Finally, twelve weeks have passed and I can slowly start running again. I did my first run yesterday. A slow and careful but still most enjoyable 2 miles. Thankfully, I had no pain and am planning another run for tomorrow. I am hoping that after a few weeks of slow progression I will be back to a reasonable regimen and can start seriously focusing on key races for 2013. Not that I haven't put serious consideration into this already.
If all goes well - I've already set my schedule. Hopefully I will kick off the ultra season in June with a 50 miler, and finish it up healthy and strong in October with a 100 miler. More specifically, my tentative goal races are as follows:
6/16 - Mohican Trail 50M in OH
7/21 - 12 hr. of Big Bear Lake in WV
10/05 - Oil Creek 100M in PA
I am hoping to be able to start my training in earnest in March, which is conveniently when Oil Creek registration opens.
With my return to running, I am really going to try to do a better job of incorporating what I've learned from my injury into my routine. These are all obvious things that I've neglected in the past even though I know their importance. Things like stretching, doing strengthening exercises to build opposing muscles, eating better, spending more time on terrain similar to courses that I plan to race, and hiking. I already have a good jump on eating better, and my plans to spend more time on similar terrain and hiking are maturing as my Goldendoodle pup, Flapjack, gets closer to running age each day.
Flapjack ready for adventure at 4 mos.
I am ecstatic to be back to putting miles on the legs again. And I really think that the last 12 weeks of being injured will help me to train smarter and enjoy many many more miles on the trails and roads. Happy trails everyone.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

To jump or not to jump...

The Western States lottery opens in 7 days. I haven't run a single step since Aug. 31, and am not allowed to run again until Nov. 23.  Yet, I can't help but to seriously consider tossing my name in the hat for this race.

I have no idea how my return to running will go. I've never, in 15 years of running, sustained an injury as serious as my current one. However, the mere idea of being able to set foot on this course again is truly inspiring. This is a course that chews up and swallows the ill-prepared, and spits back out only those with enough grit to handle the intense downhill pounding and uphill hiking. It's a course that at points really broke me mentally, and most definitely physically as my injury was sustained in the weeks that followed.  Yet, the reward of this finish is so great that I want to suffer through it again.  And the course is so beautiful that even during the hail and rain that was abundant during the first half of this year's race, the beauty was awe inspiring. During the section that runs through the canyons, I had to stop for about 30 seconds and just look around.  This race is the most incredible running experience I have ever had.

Besides, I learned so much this past year that I know will help if I get to run in 2013. I know how to better mind the temperature to regulate salt intake. I definitely know the importance of having well trimmed toenails. And I know how to hurt and keep moving.  Which sounds, simple; but after 20 hours of running and the onset of nausea - it's a lot easier to stop than to keep moving.  I also learned a lot about how to train, and what works and doesn't and what I need to do more of before I tackle this particular course again.

But then there is reality. I haven't run in almost 10 weeks. I've stayed fairly fit by "normal" people standards. But I am nowhere near the lean go out and run for a couple hours on Saturday, hit the rock gym for some bouldering, and then do it again on Sunday fit. Can I get back to there in a couple months of training, yes - if everything goes well. But, what if it doesn't? What if I'm not healed entirely when I start up again?

But hey, there's only a 10% chance of getting in, right? And I certainly won't get in twice in a row, right? So what's the harm in tossing my name in? Although yes I do WANT to get in, and think it would be awesome to run it 2 years in row. But the odds are not in my favor. So heck, I guess that settles it.  Next Saturday, my name is going in the hat. Wish me luck! And if your name is going in the hat also, "May the odds be ever in your favor".


Friday, October 26, 2012

I am a runner. And now a blogger as well.

I'm an ultra-runner. I like to run further than most people like to drive. And I enjoy it. Not only do I enjoy it, I thrive off of it. Few things brighten my day the way a run does. Unless it is of course talking about running, or planning runs. Even thinking about running and distant races brings a smile to my face and puts a little bounce in my step.

That said I am still  relatively 'new' ultra-runner. I completed my first ultra (a 50 miler) a little over a year ago, and instantly fell in love.  Since then I have completed a 50K, a second 50 miler, and the Western States 100, as well as 2 marathons.  Outside of ultras, I've been marathoning for 1/2 a dozen years, and running the better 3/4's of my life.

However, sometimes enthusiasm catches up with you. After an excellent first year plunge into ultra-running, I am recovering from my first real running related injury.  Sure, I've had plenty of bruises along the way from sprains and strains to PF and runner's knee; but nothing like this one.  Eight weeks ago I heard those two words that are dreaded by every runner, "stress fracture".  And to make matters worse, the severity and location of mine is a 12 week ordeal instead of the normal 6-8 weeks that most runners go through. Thanks to the third word, pelvic, that immediately preceded the two other downers already mentioned.

So while I am biking and starting to use the elliptical to stay in shape some, I figured I would take advantage of the spare free time and start a blog.  Here I will capture my stories as an ultra runner, thoughts on training and where my running is taking me.

Lately, my running has been taking me to the gym and the kitchen.  The gym because, well, I can't currently run but I can cycle and as of last week I can use the elliptical.  The kitchen because I am trying to reform my "I run, I can eat whatever" attitude to benefit my training once I come back from my injury.  Even without running, I can tell the time in the kitchen is paying off.  Or more correctly, my husbands time in the kitchen - since he cooks more nights during the week than I do right now. As the kitchen experiments continue, I may post the occasional recipe - especially if it is followed by a fantastic energy filled run on the next day.

So I guess it is official. I am now a blogger, as well as a runner.  Happy Trails and keep running!