Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: Rest, recover, recharge...

Hell of a year. So many races this year, so much sharing with friends. From early trail races: Bridle trails, Orcas island, Fragrance Lake, Lord Hill, and Squak. To Ironman Whistler, Kirkland, Grand Ridge, and Seattle Half. What a fun and well rounded year this has been. Again, it's really the friends you surround yourself with that gets you through ALL the miles and hours, both during training and racing.

Thinking of the highlights and memory flashes from this past year a few that jump out.

  1. Rolling through the downhill at Orcas Island 25K: "Holy Sh*t this is amazing, this is amazing. So lucky, so lucky"on repeat through my mind.
  2. Flying down from Fragrance Lake through the switchbacks. Falling then catching the 3 people that went by. SO. MUCH. FUN.
  3. Climbing 4.5 miles up at the Gorge in the rain and hail then bolting back down to the bottom to see Alley finish her Gorge Waterfalls 50K.
  4. Trying to catch Joey during training on the Whistler bike course and yelling to myself, and the local bears, "That's Joey MotherFu*ck'n Compton up there!" I was out of my mind on the bike in the heat. Good times, good times.
  5. Flashes from IMC that seem to of gone by in about 2 minutes. Mostly seeing Alley on mile 8 of the run and having her pull me back from a full blown meltdown. 
  6. Spending the day running at Deception Pass with Alley and the Bears. Beautiful day running trails in the sun.
  7. Going full gas during the Kirkland Tri up Juanita 2x and pulling a 20 minute run. I love and missed the hunt of a short race.
  8. Running Kendall Kat Walk with Alley, one of the best days out running this year!
  9. Catching and yelling out loud to Ryan during Grand Ridge half, "WOO, NOW the fun begins!" As we passed group after group on the downhill.
  10. Hellish 100 miler with Joey that every right turn was a brutal climb. 

This year ended with an unexpected rest that was much needed. I was feeling a bit tired and some aches never seemed to go away, so after the Seattle half I called it a day on 2014 and pulled out of a few races. I should of called it after Grand Ridge, but managed to talk myself into Seattle. Which magically the message was loud and clear during Seattle. Sometimes the body just knows better. I told a friend that I just wanted to run and not train or be tied to any race date.

I needed to take time off of my left foot, but couldn't with Orcas Island coming up. And if I did take time off to recover I wouldn't be ready for Orcas. Which you just can't screw with a course like Orcas. It's beautiful and amazing, but it'll kick your ass. So I dropped both Orcas and Bridle trails from my schedule. Which after looking at the would-be schedule for 2015 I think the 6 weeks of rest will be a great way to recharge.

The running when I feel like it will be a huge recharge for the mind as well. When you want to go along, and not have to go, regardless. It's a huge relief.

I was hitting some burnout from a season that started just about a year ago. 

Last week I jumped along with the Seven Hills Running Shop up Tiger Mt from Uphill Running's store. I knew it would be as hard as I wanted to make it, said "Don't wait for me" about a dozen times, but it was great. I enjoyed the climb, said I wasn't there to push myself to myself. Also, told myself 'you have no endurance for this, so just enjoy it.' I was last up, but only by a few minutes. I can live with runs like that for a few. I can be honest with myself and know where my level lives.

So with some time off and the 2015 schedule becoming clearer and clearer by the day, I'm excited to rest up then dig in for another round.

This next year's on the trails mostly, half's up to maybe one 50K, but mostly looking for some adventures to jump off to with Alley and the bears.

Fewer bibs, more exploring ; )

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Got it half right at least?

Sunday was the Seattle half marathon and it was a reminder, sadly always right around the middle of
the race, that I realized, or was reminded again, you can't ask for more than you put in. Sure there's some percentage of race day magic, but really there should be no surprise to ones self when you cross the finish line.

I had plenty of reason going into Sunday to be cautious (and maybe not run): rolled my ankle 2 weeks ago, bottom of left foot hurt w/ any run over 4 miles, sick 10 of the last 14 days, oh and I kind of pulled the plug on running 2 weeks ago after Grand Ridge trail half.

On the bright side I kept telling (lying to) myself, "GR was your long run with 2 weeks of tapper, you didn't really have GR in you (I did) and you did great, GR was really really tough (it was) so this will be easy (Hmmm)."

Once the early excitement of being in a race on a crazy cold beautiful morning has worn off...

There's that point in the race when the group you're running with, in the 2nd half of a race, stays on pace and slowly moves away. The point where it shows without hiding anything what you've put in. That's the point I usually tell myself that those are the people that have trained, the ones ready for these last miles.

It does two things during these moments:

One it's humbling, the feel of, 'I should be running up there', quickly followed by, 'I should stay trained to run up there', etc. Nothing worse than knowing you could be in with a group if you'd just done the work.That you get to enjoy the day having fun beating on yourself, rather than just suffering through the beating.

Two, how do I get back there and do I start by taking a bit of a rest?

Looking back at the last few weeks it has been all the little things getting missed that sort of take its toll. Stopped doing core workouts, stopped strength training, stopped stretching, stopped doing recovery runs. On and on and on. Getting sick didn't help, but I didn't feel that it was the biggest part.

I often tell people trying to get back into it that at least they've been there before and know what level of work it takes to get back. I enjoy the work, enjoy the pay off, enjoy staying up with the groups that I feel I should be running with, or get to run with. I've never taken running for granted, too many injuries over the last few years to ever assume anything.

That fire gets lit on days like that also, to jump back in the fray, but also some lines get redrawn. I think the best way to get back there is through plenty of rest up front and letting a few bothering injuries take care of themselves. After that getting back to what's fun and keeping it simple. Really simple.

Looking to 2015 I've cut back on the races that I'll be doing. I wanted to do roughly 11 races, all trail. Not a huge amount, but thinking it over the last few days and wanting to get the most out of the races I do enter I'm thinking I'll cut it down to just 5. Plus one long adventure that I want to work on for next summer. 

The priority in 2015 is leaving more time for just getting out and running in the mountain with the Girlie and the bears. Some long trips just knocking through the woods and enjoying what the Cascades and Olympics have to offer. 

No bibs, just a run vest, a pair of mutts and a woman crazier than I am. Cuz really, that's what I love!