Wednesday, April 6, 2011

February - March : Recover. Train. Live. Race. (PR)

"The best way out is always through." - Robert Frost

I forgot to mention something in my last blog.  That something was almost the whole purpose of writing a race report about Avalon.  What motivated it.  The most important thing I learned from that race was about FREEDOM.  When running an ultra-marathon, it is %100 guaranteed that you will feel a significant amount of PAIN.  The difference between a 31 mile race and a 50 mile race, is how LONG you will experience that pain.  And what KIND of pain it is.  When you run a 50 mile race, you will be in pain for a LONG, LONG time.  Your BODY and MIND will tell you to PLEASE STOP.  When you DON'T stop, you become FREE from both your BODY and your MIND.  At least from their ability to control your choice.  That's what I learned.

On top of Mt. Baldy
On to FEB!  Wow.  What a bunch of cool shit I've seen.  Running in the mountains really makes for some interesting days.  Running Baldy in Kahtoola spikes with Katie, Dom and Krogmann whilst skiers wondered "why all the short shorts?".  SNOW at 2500 FEET.  DEEP ASS snow.  Crawling over and under and through trees downed from that deep ass snow and ice on Idlehour trail during a 20 mile point to point from Chantry to Lake Ave.  Descending Sam Merrill in SLUSH (as if it wasn't technical enough) as fast as Pedro and I could go.  Running pretty far up at Montana De Oro and watching the Coyote Ladies (namely my most awesome and tough GF ANNIE TENWICK) CRUSH it.
Browman and I

Every weekend that I haven't worked has had a huge adventure.  Whether it's been a road trip or just a solid mountain run, sitting still just hasn't happened.  In the past, this could have made my life pretty hectic, but I think because I've simplified it so much (girl, work, run) it's been a lot less stressful to manage my time.  I've just gone and gone and gone.  I've taken rest days when I've needed them, done a couple of gym workouts, and gotten over a hip thing that had been bothering me.  The BEST A.R.T. guy ever (Chris Tosh *AKA* Dr. Chris) helped with that. 

I still maintain that this year has been the best year ever so far.  I'm learning more and more about running all the time, and I'm starting to relax a little bit more about my training schedule.  Living a bit more of a balanced lifestyle.  I met with Jimmy mid Feb. and outlined my training schedule leading up to the LA Marathon March 20th.  The next day I started having hip issues, and the next week those issues cut into my training.  I didn't stress.  I cut my mileage a lot.  I still ran a little, but didn't push it.  Annie and I went to Texas for a friend's wedding and did a 10K, we both placed in our divisions (Annie WON hers).  When I came back I had a mid-high mileage week, and during the middle of it my hip was still buggin' me.   I went to Dr. Chris that Thursday and did a run that night.  I had a little pain for a second, but it felt much better.
All Smiles!

The following weekend, Annie and I went out to Catalina, as we had a free night's stay at the Penthouse of Casa Mariquita and Annie was running the Catalina Marathon as training for the Lake Sonoma 50 Miler.  I had an easy 18 mile weekend to wrap up a 47 mile week, and my hip felt a lot better.  During race week I saw Dr. Chris once more on Tuesday afternoon, had a 16 mile week, and did a 2 mile shakeout on Saturday before work.  Not exactly a taper... 18 miles (6 at race pace) .... but not huge mileage compared to what I've been doing.  I felt pretty good.  When I raced I just focused on maintaining a positive attitude and having a good time.  I ended up having a great race and a 37 min. PR.
Cool spot in Catalina.

What I've learned is that running isn't just about numbers.  It isn't just a science.  Much of it comes from heart, drive, and attitude.  You can take weeks off and still race well.  The most important thing really is that you're having fun.  I guess what I mean is that there isn't always a solution right now.  Sometimes, getting over and through injuries/soreness/tiredness/lack of motivation is what you're supposed to be doing.  In fact, that's what you do when you're racing, so building a tough mental game is essential to performing on race day.

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