Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Year? Reallly?

It was a year ago that a couple of friends talked me in to starting a blog. Wow. A year? When I started I remember wondering what on earth I would write about on a regular basis. Do I really have that much to write about? Turns out I do... It isn't all great, but it's out there. And oddly enough, people read it, or at least pretend to read it. Either way, I'm grateful.

So what's changed in a year?

-I ran a lot of races. I suppose that's not too different than any other year, but what was different was that a lot of them were on trails. Which was awesome. And terrifying.

-I got a tad bit more comfortable with the marathon distance. That was pretty unexpected. I did three full marathons fairly close together and before I knew it, I was no longer terrified of the distance. It's still a mean SOB of a distance, but I'm more comfortable with it now.

-I ran an ultra. It was a 50k and I kept saying it's just five more miles, it's just five more miles, but dang.... those five miles were a doozy.

-I run most of my runs by heart rate training. It's been frustrating and rewarding, and I'm enjoying running again which is AWESOME! Of course, now that the soul sucking heat of summer is here. It's like I'm starting heart rate training from square one.... great!

-I eat differently. Back in February a few folks at my gym had done this thing called The Whole 30. For 30 days you cut out common inflammatory causing foods (grains, beans, sugar, soy, dairy), then you can reintroduce them and see how your body reacts. Aside from sugar withdrawal that felt like (I assume) a heroin detox, it was amazing! And I've continued to eat this way about 80-90% of the time. I swear I'll write more about this sometime...

How has having a blog that's mostly about running changed how I run?

I've thought about this a lot. Like if I'm on a long run and nothing funny is happening or no breakthroughs are occurring, I start to get panicky.  What am I going to write about? Who's going to want to read about a boring run where nothing happens? Who wants to hear about some Debbie Downer crap run? It turns out that blogging about running has added a certain level of stress to some of my runs. It's stupid I know, but I don't want to disappoint the three people that read this bad boy.

On the positive side... writing about my running has made me notice things about running that I wouldn't have thought about before. I question WHY a run was good or bad more than I ever have. I'm not great at descriptive running logs, so my blog has been a great tool for me to look through when I need to get a grasp on what's working, what's not, and what I can do about it.

So is the blog a good thing for me? Yes! I reckon I'll keep at it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Woo Hoo! Guess Who's Feeling Like a Runner Again!


 I ran a 50K last month and it was so hard and so awesome and I was on top of the world. I was also VERY excited to not be training. And then…. I signed up for another 50k in September and I’ve got this trail marathon in August and AHHHHHHH what was I thinking?!?!?!?

 So I allowed myself a little time to “do whatever” with stipulations of course (gotta have double digit weekends, gotta stay close to 30 miles a week, gotta stay on the trails). Yeah, all those gottas take away from “do whatever” really fast. All of the sudden I was right back into training but trying to pretend I wasn’t training. And everyone around me seemed to be more in love with training and running then EVER. Wait, was I the only one that ran that race? Isn’t everyone else exhausted and ready to bask in the glory for a moment? JUST FOR ONE FREAKING MOMENT!?!?!? 

Here I was not really HATING running, but starting to feel like it was a job. I work a job to pay for my running habit. If my running habit just starts to feel like a job then I’m some idiot that works a job to do a job when they aren’t at their job and OH MY GOD THAT SOUNDS AWFUL!!!! but I do what we all do when the going gets tough. I pretended like it was all ok. Fake it til you make it? Something like that.

My runs haven’t been stellar. I haven’t enjoyed them so much. Last week I went on a family vacation and I put in 21 miles on all new trails that were beautiful.
I loved running somewhere new, and the scenery was lovely. But it all seemed like too much work. My feet hurt, my legs were dead, I was counting tenths of a mile to get through a short run. Gah! What is the deal? I also had not written out a training program. People kept asking me what plan I was going to use, when I was going to start… and I kept saying, “yeah I haven’t done that yet, it’s on the list”. And I would print off a few things and then never look at them.
I didn't even run this past Saturday. We got back in to town on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning I got up, put on my running clothes and didn't run a single step. I can tell you that I could probably count the number of Saturdays that I haven't run on one hand. What was the deal.
Then Sunday came and guilt had overwhelmed me. If I was going to pretend to be a runner, I needed to try harder. I decided that one of my favorite 10 mile loops would make me less likely to cut it short. I woke the husband up and we were off.
It started out as lame as the other runs and then it started to feel good again. There were miles that went by without me noticing. I was smiling at silly thoughts and feeling lighter on my feet. Sure the humidity was 80% and it's gonna do nothing but get hotter this summer. But I finally felt like a runner again. YEAH! Every time I go through a slump like this I worry that I'll never come out. And here I am! I wrote out a training schedule and I'm ready to go!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Awkward moments on the trail....

I had a 15ish mile long run to do today. And about a zillion time sensitive things to do after my run. Thankfully, I have a great running friend that was willing to start running at the crack of dawn at a trail that's a bit closer to us both so that we could get the run in and get on with our day!

hmmm.... Did anyone else know that there isn't really much light at 6am? And if you start your run at 6am in the woods there is even LESS light due to the trees? So, yeah we learned that today too.... We had talked about starting to train in the dark a little because our race in September starts in the dark, but we did not intend to start that project today. Thankfully, I had my headlamp in my car (unintentional). So off we went with two people and one headlamp on a single track trail. It took us about ten minutes at our blistering snail's pace to realize that the person with the headlamp should be in back, not in front. Yeah, slow learning curve today... But along we went. Good conversation, lots of hills.

About two miles into the first six mile lap, we were happy to find that we no longer needed the headlamp because some light was finally hitting the trails. I was convinced that the second loop would be totally different because were so paranoid and slow with the lack of sunlight for the first loop. Then we saw a turtle on the trail and life was good.

By loop number two, everything got lame. The humidity was 175% I'm sure. Our legs were tired and we were both kind of over it. My running partner had already warned me that she was not interested in doing more than twelve. So, I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that I wanted 15 bad enough to do it alone.

Thankfully, when we finished the 12 I didn't give myself long enough to change my mind and immediately started on my 3 mile loop to finish things off. I actually counted tenths of a mile for about the first mile. Just trying to get through. So, you can imagine... a challenging run had become a bit more difficult. But I just thought, get past the half way mark and then you have to keep going. So that's what I did.

This is where the awkward moment comes in... With one mile left I start hearing voices of some ladies obviously just starting a run. At this point I was excited just to see some people because it would be a nice change. They broke through a clearing and I was CERTAIN that they were my friends. Same color of shirt as my one friend wears all the time, a red visor like my friend wears. Oh yeah! Even better. FRIENDS! So, as they get closer I shout, "I thought I knew those loudmouths!" Guess what? I did not. Not even one of them. In fact, they don't even look familiar to me. Oh crap. As if I wasn't tired and sweaty and miserable enough, now I've made a complete ass of myself and called some strangers names. Fan-freak-ing-tastic. Thankfully, they were the SWEETEST bunch of gals and acted like nothing odd had happened. They joked about snakes on the trail and were on their way!

So I spent the next half a mile laughing at what an idiot I am and marveling at how sweet those gals were for not pointing it out to me. I tell ya, trail runners are a wonderful bunch. They don't flinch when that walk up on you peeing in the woods and they don't flinch when strangers call them loudmouths and act like they are good friends. I do love running on trails. And I do love the people I run into on them.... well mostly.