(G): Every time I am fooled about what my return to sea level will be like. I am always sure my lungs and red blood cells will be flush with oxygen and I’ll be able to run like the wind, feel stronger than ever, and have boundless amounts of energy.
It never happens. I mean, never. I always come back to Ohio and feel like I am starting over. My breathing is all wonky, my legs feel like lead, and it’s taken about a week to feel like I did before I left. Oh wait, I was feeling like a big, fat quitter before I left after DNF’ing the Dawg Gone Long Run 50k.
I was, however, running before I left. I hit the hills hard and the speed efforts before I boarded my flight and while in Colorado Lowi and I participated in our own version of EcoChallenge. You would think that would count for something with the VO2max Gods. It doesn’t.
So Thursday I found myself finally getting back to it and all I had in the engine was the power for walking. Friday I returned to the strength training which was equally abysmal. But Saturday I woke up energized and thought I’d jump in with a solid 10 miles. The only thing solid was the wall I hit around mile 5.
I had to give myself a pep talk through the next 5 miles. When I say pep talk I mean full-on, out loud to myself saying things like “If you want to be like Sally McRae you better learn how to suck it up!”
It’s been quite humid in the Midwest so when I finished my 10 miles I was dripping in sweat and I was thoroughly beaten. It was a few hours before I felt like myself again. OK, I admit it, I had to eat lunch and then a few hours later nearly an entire pizza before I felt like myself.
Sunday I figured I’d broken the altitude exit spell and I’d be back to normal. That’s a negative!
It was every bit as tough except my legs were tired from the day before. I cranked out 6 miles and at the end I was ready to be done.
Yesterday, I decided it was a rebirth! I just finished reading “Running Beyond the Marathon” by Grahak Cunningham about the Transcendence 3100 race. Yes, that’s three-thousand one hundred miles around a city block in NYC during the summer. It’s happening now, in fact. When you consider folks are slugging it out every day for 18 hours for nearly TWO MONTHS to reach 3100 miles and beat the cut off of 52 days my problems are small, very small.
I am getting focused and taking the approach suggested by Sri Chinmoy, creator of the Transcendence 3100. He told his followers and devotees to run from their heart not from their mind. I could use a bit more of that. If you run from your heart, he said, you can never be disappointed. That feels like good advice.
So I am back to it with heart, with renewed perspective, also throwing in a squat challenge and a race in about 5 weeks. We’ll take our annual trip to Howl at the Moon in Danville, Ill. This will be my 10th trip and John’s 11th. We are either creatures of habit or loyal to race directors who provide beer, maybe a little of both. All this training, though, is in service of our 2016 crowning jewel of Nashville Ultra on Nov. 5th.
It will be the first race reunion of Lowi and G in more than 2 years!
(L) While G was slugging it out at sea level I was trying to get back at it in Colorado. Unfortunately, I was continuing to be taught lessons that apparently I still haven’t learned. G, being on my wave length and all sent me this:
Clearly, we all struggle with learning lessons the first time or the thousandth time. So, what is my lesson that I can’t seem to learn? Life balance, priorities, taking care of myself – take your pick! I am motivated and I have goals. The problem that continues to arise for me is the fact that everyone around me has needs, their own schedule and I am at their beckon call. At least that is what I keep telling myself the problem was. I have trained for marathons and ultras before. I do know how to do this. Once again, though I feel like I need to invite the crazy in, seat it at my table, serve up some coffee, and figure out why I continue to struggle with this.
I realized that I have the support and I do have the time. In fact, I manage to get out for at least an hour each day to walk/run my dogs. When I am in the mountains I rarely have trouble getting out and running my trail. This weekend, we even kayaked for several hours each day. Time is not my issue. On Sunday night I was frustrated with myself for not officially beginning my training program for the ultra. I know I have plenty of time, but I made a commitment to myself and I was not following through. I literally sat in my room praying out loud, “what is my problem? Why can’t I get my training together? What is wrong with me?” I went to bed without a resolution.
The next morning while talking on the phone with one of my daughters about how she needs to plan her week out and stop trying to cram too many things into a small amount of time, it hit me. I was listening to myself tell her how she needs to prepare for her week, decide when she is going to run, what she is going to eat, and fit it in around her work and music schedule. I actually heard myself say, “in the past, when I have been successful at training it’s because I have planned it out ahead of time each week.”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
So, basically God is using those around me and my own words to speak to me. Maybe I just wasn’t asking before. Perhaps I wasn’t ready to hear or maybe I just wasn’t listening.
You might be wondering what my plan is now that God has opened my eyes and ears to my training dilemma. (ok, I know He has more pressing things to worry about right now, but I think even God is sick of hearing me whine about my lack of direction). Wonder no more because quite literally within the hour of my “Aha! moment” G sent me a training schedule. I am not even joking.
I did have a slight panic attack when I saw it was a 20-week training program and I only have 17 weeks to get my act together. G quickly followed up the message with something along the lines of, “I know you won’t actually follow the exact plan, but you’ll be good.”
Get out of my head already!
Buckle up, Lowi & G are back to training together for an ultra!
17 weeks and counting!
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G