Torture Report: Message Received and I Did It!

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Getting back to the trail with Swaggy J.

(G) My torture report this week is a lot less physical effort than normal. The majority of the week I didn’t do much. Physically I was more than capable; mentally I’ve been “running on empty” for a while.
I didn’t really know it until I got to Another Dam 50K and when things started to get tough I could tell my mental toughness and reserves were waning, quickly.
We trained hard but differently this year. I stacked quite a few races together in fairly close succession, at least by my standards. Some of the reasoning was that if you are going to run far anyway, why not get a T-shirt for it and someone to feed you?

So I took the week and allowed myself to do whatever or nothing at all.

It’s amazing how fatiguing doing nothing is. I was always tired and I hadn’t done a darn thing.

By Tuesday, I hit the trampoline and taught a yoga class.
Rebounding was the theme of the week.

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Sucking wind after a week of no running.

I’m done licking my Vegan Power 50K wounds and ready to move forward. Aside from my own revelation about my need to improve my technical skills the message continues to show up so often that it’s clear it’s not a fluke or a passing fancy.

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Don’t look down!!! That’s a tough one.

Right before our most recent race, Swaggy J handed me an article to read and asked what I thought.

“The secret, he said, is to look up and ahead, and over time, the brain attunes to planting the feet. ‘As soon as you start looking down, you’ve lost it,” Mike Stone, as quoted in Trail Runner July 2015 (Last Gasp by Sarah Lavender Smith)

My response to this was “BS”. (I did use the real word.)

Then upon returning home, Swaggs, again, handed me an article:

“One of the things I learned from watching both Julien and Jason run is they are truly one with their bodies. When they run — they flow. On these long stretches of technical downhill, their eyes are ahead of them, not looking down at their feet. They just trust their feet completely without fear of stumbling or rolling an ankle. (Ultrarunner Profile: Bill Clements in Ultrarunning May/June 2015)

It seems we have a message that needs to be received, desperately!! RECEIVED, RECEIVED.. but now what?

Time to get my head up and have faith that my two feet will get me where I’m to go.

(L)  It seems that G and I both received messages about our running this weekend, although mine was a little more direct.

I ran the Slacker Half Marathon on Saturday and I did finish.  I know there were some doubters out there.  I don’t want to mention anyone by name, but a certain male who lives with me did say, “Are you really going to run a half marathon this weekend?  You haven’t really run very much. Don’t hurt yourself.”

Oh ye of little faith.  Do you not know by now that when I decide to do something I will finish it?  Okay, there are a few examples of unfinished tasks, but that is another blog.

Back to the race.  It was a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day.  The temperature was slightly warmer than we like at 10,660 feet, but who is complaining?  We had incredible views and we were among friends; 2,200 to be exact.

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The first mile was a little slow as everyone fought for a place down the narrow dirt path. Fortunately, it quickly opened up and there was room for everyone.  This being my third time doing this race, I was more than happy to go a little slower to keep my ankles in proper working order.  Once you get through the first mile you are on a bike path for the next 5 miles.

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I was pretty pleased as our first 5 miles clicked by in an hour.  I was feeling good, but I knew I had not trained more than a few miles and I wasn’t sure how far my base/luck was going to hold. The rest of the race was in the blazing sun and that was not helping my game. At mile 7, the road began a quick decline and I remembered last year how fantastic I felt at this point.  I was not feeling quite so footloose and fancy free at this moment.  I was beginning to look at my watch more and more and I was running out of conversation as I focused on the path ahead.

At mile 10 all I could think about was getting to mile 11.  I knew I was going to finish, but I had already watched last year’s time pass me by and I didn’t have it in me to push any harder.

Finally, I could see the finish line…and then I still had to loop around the town and back to the finish.  We did finish about 30 minutes slower than last year, but we did it.

My first thoughts?  I did it!  My second thought? My feet hurt, my calves hurt and I am tired.

Overall, I am happy that I did the race and I am very happy that I finished.  Thanks to Melissa for running, talking and walking me through the entire 13.1 miles.  Congratulations to Rachel for completing her first half and killing it and to Kaleen for her sub 2 hour race. Holy Smokes!

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So what message did I receive loud and clear?  Next time I should actually train!

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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