Torture Report: Chasing Down the Mo’ & Snow

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It was a muddy ride on Saturday afternoon but worth some grime.
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(G): Momentum is a powerful beast. I didn’t realize how much so until I found myself on its bad side. For so long I’ve been lucky. I’ve never really stopped running in any significant way for nearly a decade. Even when I badly sprained my ankle 88 days later I ran a marathon.
But late 2015 and early 2016 brought a growth opportunity: Beginning Again
Since late November between injury and unexpected distractions I have not been running more than I have been. And the momentum, or the mo’ as the cool kids like to call it, is not going in the direction of running.
The momentum I have built up lately is for sitting, is for non-exercise, is for spinning my mental not physical wheels. And that’s a tough habit to break.
About 12 days ago I told myself that starting again was going to hurt but if I could gut it out for the first two weeks it would get better. I was right but wow, gutting it out has been just how it sounds.
I put together three hard running days over the weekend and while it wasn’t easy and I was feeling it I also started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Friday kicked up the trio of training days with speed work. This is often my least enjoyable kind of training days and this one was no different but sometimes just getting it done is the only approach.
On Saturday, Swaggy J pushed the training regimen and it seemed a lot like the light was an oncoming train for some of the 10 miles. He “encouraged” me to run all the hills, which I did, and it was brutality by the time I got to miles 8 and 10 but I was also glad I didn’t quit.

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Thankful for flat ground and smooth sailing.
Sunday we hit a rails to trails path (read: flat) for a 6-miler to wrap up the weekend. I felt all 22 miles I’d done in the last three days but I also, strangely, felt the most like myself that I have in weeks. I managed to rack up 28 miles in the first 7 days of February. That’s almost more than all of January combined!
Now it’s keeping at it for the next 90 days and 3 races.
As I mentioned early in the year my goal was to Run Free and I mean that more than I did even a few short weeks ago. Being outside running and getting out of my head and into my body is sanctuary, it’s refuge. When you are training hard and pushing your limits you can’t be anywhere but the present moment, concentrating on your breathing (or lack thereof), watching where you are going (I’m a klutz), maintaining your form as you begin to fatigue and keeping your head in the game. But that kind of present-moment focus really is a break from all the monkey mind we all experience the rest of the time.

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Running back to the car is always a bright spot!
Remind me I waxed poetic about distance and endurance when I start moving in the direction of 20-plus mile training days. My guess is I won’t be quite so enamored 😃

But for now my feet are happy to be on the trail and so am I!

(L) Before I begin my meager report of torture in the snow fort I live in, can we just talk about G for a minute?  Let’s address the fact that her “starting over” consisted of 3 hard days of training…in a row.  A mere 22 miles, including a 10-mile run with hills.  If she wasn’t already riding my butt on a regular basis I would hire her to be my trainer!

Last week I told you we were under a mountain of snow and sadly a week later our neighborhood is still mostly snow covered.

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Between shoveling and the treacherous walks through the snow-covered streets though my back is not happy.  It’s been tight and begging for a good stretch.  Can you say downward dog, cat pose and cobra?  I have been doing a lot of these!  By Friday I was starting to feel like the tightness was on its way out and I needed fresh mountain air.

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On Saturday I woke up feeling great, no issues with my back and we skied all day.  It was  beautiful with lots of runs and plenty of wind. By 3:30 my quads were toast and I felt like I had run 10 miles!

Fun?  Check.

Productive?  Check.

Exercise?  Check.

Sleep like a baby?  Check.

Something equivalent to my back being twisted into a tight knot happened while I slept and I woke up Sunday unsure if I needed medical attention, a walk or Vicodin.  I chose the walk since there wasn’t actually a doctor in the house and I don’t have a prescription for Vicodin.  While the walk helped it kept getting worse.  The drive home left me begging for the relief that only laying flat on my back in silence could provide.

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Monday, the only exercise I could stand was alternating ice and heat and thankfully last night I was feeling more human.

Here’s to sunshine, dry streets, yoga poses, ice, heat and logging some mileage this week.

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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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