Just Do It

I’ve lost my fitness. If any of you see it lying around, please feel free to send it back my way. At least, that’s how it feels. My training went pretty well this year. I set goals of running about 20 miles a week and a total mileage goal for 2010 of achieving 1000 miles — both seemed pretty lofty last year when I set them. My weekly average has been closer to 30 (with a peak of almost 60!) and a peak month of 163! My yearly mileage has crossed over into the 1400’s — so I did well and I’m very proud of myself for that.

On the other hand, I feel that my training took a nosedive right after my fall marathon (my peak race each year.) I PR’d by 37 minutes in the race and felt that after a successful racing year, I should pull back on the overall miles and focus more on family time and trail time — both things that I have done in the last 2 1/2 months. Unfortunately, I think I pulled back too much. Now, a simple 3 mile road run feels painful. My calves burn – really?! For 3 miles? My hamstrings feel like they are permanently clenched (which really hurts on a long weekend trail run when I need to keep them active for 3-6 hours — or as is the case this upcoming weekend – for up to 9 hours for a fat a** 50k.) I’m concerned. Not just for the unofficial race with my pals this weekend in the Boise foothills (the race last year that I DNF’d at 23.33 miles when my GI problems couldn’t be ignored any longer.) I have a bigger giant to conquer and it’s looming. The Orcas Island 50k — my second-ever “official” 50k race is coming up Feb 5th, 2011. I hear the course is mismeasured so much that it’s closer to 35 miles! It’s supposed to be beautiful — waterfalls, views of Mt Baker, Mt Rainer and the surrounding San Juan Islands from the summit and lots of natural beauty. This will be my first “road trip” for a race and about 30 local pals are coming along. I’ve never been away from my five kids, so this will be a new Mommy moment for me too. I’ll miss them like crazy — but I’m excited to head out on an adventure.

But…I honestly do not feel at all that I’ve trained for this. My goals aren’t lofty by any means. In my first 50k in April I came in last place when GI distress hit me from miles 10 – 20. I spent more time being sick in the bushes than I did running, I think. A 61 year old woman beat me — by nearly an hour! So, my only goals for this race are to finish it and to not come in last. I’m gunning for second-to-last! I wish I’d kept up my training better, though. I’ve continued to run long on the weekends and to run those miles most weeks on technical, single-track trails – just like I’ll be doing in the race. The elevation gain for Orcas Island is something crazy like 7,000 – 8,0000. I’ve never had a run that topped more than 4,000 – 5,000, so I’m a little nervous. My biggest downfall has been neglecting my boring weekday training runs. There are many weeks in December I ran only twice a week, in comparison to 4-5 times a week when I was training well. And, I can feel it. That’s why my calves are burning on short runs again (and in the first several miles of my weekend trail ones.) I’ve forgotten to work them out too many days in a row and they are protesting!

So, I have five weeks until my 50k. I think it’s time to just put the shoes on and get out there – in the cold, the wind, the dark – and get some miles in on a more regular basis again — any miles! Even 2-4 miles a couple times a week would keep the legs looser than they feel right now when coupled with the long trail runs. I’d like to start doing doubles again too. I miss them! A few miles in the morning and a few in the evening. It feels easier and my weekly miles very quickly start looking normal again and my legs will reflect that.

Stats: 3.10 miles. 11:07 pace. 34:29 time. 143 elevation gain. 27 degrees. 15 mph winds. Sunny. Chilly. Felt: Out of shape and cold!

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