Sunday, August 1, 2010

Recovery over: The hunger is back

7 weeks and 7 pounds later I’m back into training mode.  I started to re-establish my base mileage and it hasn’t been easy, especially in such hot and humid conditions.  After only a few miles, my legs and heart reminded me of all the fun lazy vacations and R&R I have been indulging in over the summer with my family.  It’s frustrating, yet funny, knowing I usually would be just warming-up after 5 miles and ready to drop the hammer, and now my body is going into shock!  Nevertheless, I have the confidence and experience knowing I will get it back in a short period of time.  Like so many ultra runners do, I take a month or two off each year to allow my body and mind to heal, rest, and rejuvenate to avoid burnout. 

Most take this time off during the cold months towards the end of the year where I tend to enjoy this during the hotter months when it’s 100+ deg outside in the South.  The rest period has been nice but I don’t sleep as well at night, I eat too much, and feel lazy and unhealthy.  The hunger to run is back, and the thought of pounding the trails is getting overwhelming.  The objective for down-time has been accomplished, and it’s time to start breaking my body down again is here – Thank God.

What a crazy year so far with the many unforeseen racing results of my fellow ultra runners.  I’m talking about some incredible tough runners which have overcame even the most difficult and unimaginable conditions, and reach deep inside to finish the race strong with a top 10 or even winning.  This year I have seen more DNF posts, and more then one from some, and to face the most realistic and painful part of doing one of the most extraordinary endurance sports known.  This way of life demands years of hard training for one to even consider competing in these events, not to mention the hours of sacrifice for months leading up to toeing the line.  So much effort, heart, and planning with a very good possibility that you may not see the finish line!  We visualize our thoughts and emotions for victory but never defeat.  And when the day comes which reminds us that we are human, our lives are turned upside down with deep self disappointment knowing it came down to a decision during a moment of weakness and pain.  Nevertheless, I feel this is what makes us stronger when you have thrown yourself into the dirt, mud, and rocks only to crawl back on your feet to return another day. This is a lot like life when pushing through the bad challenging times which you just don’t always win, but live to survive.  This is what I call building experience or living life for all it has to offer.  I would rather take a chance and deal with the DNF then to not ever race and not know what it feels like to push myself to my limits.  Besides, how do you know what your limits are if you don’t push yourself, every now and then, to total exhaustion.

As for my agenda, I have a 50K and a 50 miler in October if my training goes well.  I’m looking at a couple of marathons before the year is up so I can work on those fast-twitch muscles.  This will give me a good base going into next year’s agenda, and will hopefully include Western States 100, which I qualified for, again.  I will find out in December if I’m one of the few selected for this epic race.

8 comments:

Staci said...

Glad to hear you've enjoyed your off season, and are now back in the game! It's always so difficult to come back after time away - our hearts and minds want to go long, but the body doesn't generally agree. You'd think UltraRunners would be the epitome of patience....

Her Name is Rio said...

Sounds like you've had a wonderful break! I am starting mine now.

Nice post on pushing towards our limits. It took me a year to realize that I was really a faster runner (not BQ fast, but middle of the pack fast) than I thought I was- I was just too scared to push and get hurt. Once I pushed, I found out I could do more.

olga said...

This is a very wonderfully said post. Thanks! Although the "7 weeks and 7 lbs" part really makes me half-depressed (I am 2 weeks and 3 lbs). I also talked to someone about "confidence it'll come back", the fitness level. This years was good for show that. Now I will just plan better next year:)

DawnB said...

I am so glad to hear from you. I love your message about never giving up, hard work and dedication life ups and down just beautifully said thank you so much I know I don't do half the miles you do but it certainly help with what I am going through of late. Its sounds like you are on track for another round, this is who we are warriors that never dies.

Rooster said...

Nice long break. Nothing like feeling the drive return with a vengeance. Enjoy. I am with Olga...you men seem to handle and then shed those lbs a lot faster than us.

lindsay said...

I'm glad to hear you took a good chunk of time off and are still aiming for an Oct race. Were you completely not-running? Or is this "off time but still 40mpw" in your language? Just curious... I've had a few weeks off myself and was hoping you could reaffirm me here! I'm sorta registered for a 50k in Nov and questioning if I will be ready. Advice welcomed!

Thanks also for your recent comments/congrats for me ad the wedding!

Stephanie said...

It does look like you are having fun:-) Taking breaks is important and necessary. I believe otherwise it's an obsession.

Good luck with your training - yes, you'll be back asap!!!!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Looks like you had fun, great pics.

Good to hear your ready to go and light up some miles