I just felt like running trails.
Enjoyed the serenity up on South Table Mesa.
Wonder about my body and its ability. Am I right where I want to be, or am I way off??
Since the only speed work I ever do is via hill repeats, or a 10-mile Time Trial during race week, I thought I’d give a mid-week TT a go. My body had been sluggish lately, and I’d had two less than enthusiastic long-run performances over the last two weeks, so I was hoping to channel some pep back into my step. To no avail…
After my slowest run commute to work… ever (even worse than days through the snow & ice), I dropped my pack at the office and headed out to the Eldridge neighborhood and my favorite, flattish, fast roads. I tried. I dug. I contemplated. I just couldn’t muster the speed that I’m used to. After the first 3 miles of high effort, I told myself that it wasn’t worth pushing myself for 10 miles at a mediocre pace. I kept it up until mile 5, then eased off the pace, and headed back towards work.
I was confounded by my current state of lethargy.
I know my training load has been high, and probably more intense than it was through the winter training for WFL. One takeaway from comparing training, is that my steps-per-minute are lower this time around. That’s a clear indicator of heavy, sluggish legs. I’m not getting the turnover that I need to maintain the speed that I want.
Secondly, I do these training runs on minimal nutrition which may be why I’ve been struggling. I tend to pack the bare essentials, and have drained my water and food at the end.
No need to panic. I don’t need any extraneous workouts to get me to the start line. I need to maintain my consistency.
Time to start taking care of my body in preparation for race day (October 8th) . Nutrition, hydration, body work. Goal #1 is to get my body feeling great at the start line. I’ve said it week after week, that I’m neglecting the things my body deserves. I think right now, it needs time off to absorb the training and for my muscles to rebuild.
Day 1 of Nothing, Nada, Nill. I slept 9.5 hours. I ate eggs and pancake with my morning coffee, and I worked from home all day. I took a few walks during the day, but other than that, I was in recuperation mode.
Day 2 of Nothing, Nada, Nill. Well sort of. I decided to sleep in again and had no plans to run. I still had to get to work, though, so I opted to ride my bicycle. Also, I wanted to see the PlayGldn gang at the tail end of their workout, which Julia conveniently organized near the west entrance of NREL, so I cruised in for the final 5 minutes. After chatting with Ultra Jim and taking the group shot for the crew, I meandered into the office.
Since Tuesday mornings deflation, I’ve been eating a lot and sleeping even more. I don’t have the urge to run at all. It’s good when I block running from my head (no impulses for Strava or Instagram and barely any stretching) and allow myself to explore my other interests.
Thus far, I’ve put together 3 prototypes for Hydration Vests. Unfortunately my sewing machine just broke, so I’ll either have to purchase one this weekend, or go old school hand needle style. Yes, I took Home Economics in middle school, and I love the creativity and make-ability of sewing.
Because I prefer to divert my running thoughts when I’m not running, I’m probably not entirely honest about what’s going through my head. Obviously, I’m thinking a lot about running and what is affecting my body, how I am coping, and how I can recover. I’m looking at the bright side, looking at this not as a setback as it’s not a physical injury. If I was suffering from an Achilles strain or knee pain like I have in the past, I’d be focused on the pain center. Fortunately and unfortunately, what I was hit by is all encompassing. The positive, is that it is not a muscular injury, in that that healing would become my primary objective. The negative, is that I feel my running soul was drained along with the vigor that I have for running.
I’m framing this as failure training. This is what it feels like to fail. Because, my last few runs were so grueling, I’ve considered the option of opting out of the Tussey 50 race. For the expense of travelling to this race, if I’m not 100% confident in my ability, it’s not worth the trip. As I revamp my running over the next few weeks, I hope to feel that vigor again, the swiftness in my legs, the gasp in my lungs. If it’s not there, if I need more time to set my body, mind, & sole straight, I’ll take it.
After a bike ride home, I put on my trail shoes and hiked up the Honeymoon Incline with Julia. It felt good to get out and move around, though I still didn’t have the urge to run.
I made the plan to sleep in and run the short (3-mi) route to work. I felt well and good while running, and seemed to have restored my energy. As I sat in my desk at work though, my hips felt ridig. I was thinking about resuming my long run on Saturday with 20-ish miles in Waterton Canyon. Based on how I felt right then, however, I thought I’d be better served to go to the Golden Rec Center in the morning, and do a restorative soak and stretch session. I always reach a state a deep relaxation when I’m stretching in the gym while listening to a podcast. There’s something very meditative and calming about having no cares, no worries, and no time commitments. At this point in time, that’s what my body and mind need.
While the timing for this downward funk is not great, it sets me up for a four week taper. What would have been one last high volume week of running has tumulted into an abyss of physical dearth. Am I broken? Did I push past my limits? Will I recover in time?
Time will tell, but in the meantime, my focus is on feeling my best in 3 weeks at the Tussey 50. I’m content that I have the fitness to reach for my goal at Tussey, however, this week of “feelings” has really rattled my confidence.
This whole training block has been wierd because I hit my goal in the Wings For Life World Run. For Tussey 50, I’m trying to match the previous goal (kind of). I’m trying to match the pace I ran in WFL, butt extend the duration from 43 to 50-miles. Oh and add in a few thousand more feet of climbing. I haven’t been overly obsessive about the finer points in this training block, nor about striving for breakthrough performances in training.
So in re-framing this week as a down week, I’ll follow with two weeks of lower volume and a few short speed sessions to tune up my legs into race form. Then after Tussey, I’ll have 6 weeks to recalibrate for the TNF50 in San Francisco on November 18th!
I made no plan to run. I enjoyed a leisurely morning of eggs and pancake with my coffee, as Julia was out running trails with friends. When she returned, we walked over to the Golden Rec Center to take the few hours I’d promised myself for R&R via hot tub and stretching.My body felt great following this TLC, so later in the afternoon, I decided to run around Golden. I felt like myself again, with vigor and joy, and it was marvelous. I ran 13 miles up and around Pine Ridge Road. I was back, crisis averted.
Oh I also took the liberty to drill holes in my big toe nails. Yeah, I know pretty gross, but I’ve carried a lot of pain through both big toes due to blood blisters under the nails. It’s not the first time I’ve taken a drill to my nail, though this time I felt like a pro and took care of business in two quick spins of the bit. Once the bit penetrates the nail, there’s just a little poke similar to getting a shot. I don’t recommend anyone try this… but it works for me!
Julia and I made a loose plan to run either in Waterton Canyon, Drew Hill, or keep it simple around Golden. I wanted another leisurely morning of coffee and pancake, and immediately considered how to lessen the running blow so that it didn’t feel like an “event.” Should I do two shorter runs? Quit it. Julia kicked me into gear and after breakfast we drove to Drew Hill by Golden Gate Canyon State Park. I was in for 3-hours, 22-miles, and 3,000 feet of climbing, oh my.
I felt like I reverted on my downhill running. I’ve mentioned the tightness in my lower abdomen, felt over the last few long runs. Truth is, I feel the tightness in every run. I focus my stride on my glutes to try to alleviate the strain on my abdomen, but it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. I think this is inhibiting me from stretching out my downhill stride like I was able to earlier in the year.
The run was rather uneventful, thankfully, except for more vehicle traffic than normal, #leafpeepers. I felt spry from the start, and used my metronome to keep my cadence up. I felt strong, and focused my energy on conquering the Soul Crusher climb in miles 16-18.
So this was not the greatest week of training, but they can’t all be perfect, can they? I was happy with my proactive approach to dealing with my lethargy. Though there are still plenty of question marks regarding my abilities with just 3 weeks to go before the Tussey 50. My confidence has taken a big hit, so I’m hoping that concentrating on stretching and mobility exercises (leg swings, leg raises, calf raises) will get me over the psychological hurdles that are preventing me from reaching running bliss.
Endurance Changes Time,