Torture Report: Enter the Pain Cave, Springtime in the Rockies

(G) Our 2015 ultra season began this weekend and it didn’t come without lots of learning opportunities. Land Between the Lakes 60K ++ (we got some bonus miles thrown in for free) brought me to what Swaggy J calls the pain cave, I think it was more like being in shock.

About 4.5 miles from the finish the wheels began to come off. I am not talking like the crazy wheel on your cart at the grocery that does its own thing while the other three do the work. It was more like pulling over to the side of the road because your wheel has imploded, you’ve driven half a mile on the rim and you’re walking home in heels. I wasn’t sure what the issue was at first.

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I did a quick physical/mental scan and everything was fine:
I wasn’t injured.
My food intake was sufficient.
I was hydrated.
The issue was I was absolutely EXHAUSTED.

As the saying goes:
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Does it ever! So much so that less than 5 miles felt FAR. I knew I still had many, MANY more hills to climb and I seriously doubted, not if I could tolerate the pain but, if I could keep my body moving.

Enter the pain cave. Many use this term and many, I am sure, have their own definition. My experience is that my body or my mind just stopped registering certain things. About 1.5 miles from the finish Swaggy J said his shins and quads were killing him and asked did mine feel the same? Honestly, I had no idea. I was just numb. My only focus was dragging myself to the finish because at that point there was no quitting. And as I have learned, pain is temporary but disappointment of quitting lasts far too long.

I got to the end and actually ran the last .25 mile in because it just needed to be done. I got my belt buckle and really don’t remember even what I said in those few moments. What I do recall next is that without any conscious thought or apparent emotion tears began to flow. I don’t know if it was delirium, fatigue, relief or all of the above. Those quickly gave way to big smiles and 10 minutes later I was so glad I pushed through and got to the end.

(L) Big shout out to G and Swaggy J for their race this weekend!  Way to get it DONE!!

While they were getting it done in the land of plenty I was basking in the sunshine of the Colorado Spring.  Now those of you who live here or are familiar with the phrase “springtime in the rockies” know that beautiful warm March weather does not mean that Mother Nature has opened the door ever so slightly to summer. No, around here it means you had better get outside and enjoy it because the brutality of winter could still be lurking around the corner anytime prior to Mother’s Day. Yes, that is in May.

So, we are enjoying the blue skies and sunshine.

This is the 12 year old, her best friend, and Samson enjoying the sunshine.

Back to the torture.  Upon making the decision to be an Outrun dropout I felt a mixture of relief and depression last week. The pressure to train had been removed which felt good, but then I began to feel that I let myself down.  So, I walked every day last week and it felt great.  I also decided that I would give myself a goal of doing a weight lifting program  with graduation being a check in date.  I need goals, training plans and dates.  So, I resurrected an old training plan that I did a gazillion years ago and I loved.  It’s called Body for Life.  In a nutshell you lift weights 3 times a week, run 3 times a week, and eat/drink 6 meals/day.  I was never very good at the meal part as 5 meals was more than sufficient, but it does work if you stick to the plan. So, I am excited, I have started and it feels really good. This feeling will pass as I haven’t done the 400 lunges yet, which will inevitably leave me unable to sit without assistance. I am sure that aspect of the program will find its way to the torture report next week!

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It feels good to have a new goal and know that I am still accountable to you each week. Thanks for always being there with that judgmental look and the I-knew-you-couldn’t-do-it smirk on your face.  It keeps me going.  Okay, so maybe you aren’t thinking that, but it still keeps me going.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,

Lowi & G


The Torture Report began in January 2014 as a weekly update of our journey to completing a 50-mile race. Since then it’s continued on to become a chronicle of how we try mightily to find fitness, health and sometimes the finish line. We aren’t always successful but we keep showing up and telling you all about it on Tuesdays.

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