Thursday, September 10, 2015

So much has happened....

Well, gee, if I would only wait another eight days then I could claim it's been a whole year since my last blog post. But, as with most things in my life, if I want it, I want it now. Patience has never been a strong suit of mine. So here I am. Again.

Why am I back? I'm not sure. What I do know is that I miss writing. There is something simple and fulfilling about turning a proper phrase, and I miss that particular playing field. I doubt I'll ever write the Great American Novel. I probably do not have the wherewithal to journal daily, but by God I can spend some time blogging every now and again. And, there are just times when the odd sentence or two on Facebook doesn't seem enough.

So, since this is mainly a running blog, I guess I should say something about what has happened in my running life this past year.  Contrary to what you might believe, I did not stop running. No, that's not why I stopped writing. In fact, I ran quite a bit.  Here's the short version:

My big focus this past year was training for and completing a 100-mile trail ultra. In preparation for that, I ran lots and lots and lots. I also cross-trained (biked and yoga'd) lots and lots and lots. I still did not finish the darn race.

Was I undertrained? Maybe. Was I too wimpy to finish? Maybe. Did I not want it badly enough? Maybe. I am still chewing over what happened and what didn't happen, and what could have gone better. While there probably were underlying mental factors to my not finishing the event, the official cause of DNF was the massive blisters that formed under the balls of my feet and that completely encased one pinky toe. I was slowing down a lot during the race and losing motivation at about the same rate, so when my crew saw the sad state of my feet and said I was done, I was done. I didn't even argue. In fact, it was a relief. Still, I made it 70 miles, which is further (by 20 miles) than I had ever gone before.

So, that was the BIG GOAL EVENT THAT WASN'T. There were other races and other stories as well, such as the 50-miler where I rolled my ankle at about mile 9 and then still finished the race just before the cutoff (even though I had to hobble most of the rest of the way with a wrapped ankle, depending way too much on the trekking poles I had with me). That was probably a better story of triumph over adversity. However, on the other hand, it could be easily flipped into a story about stupid pride and idiocy, so why write that one up?

I had a few firsts this year:

- First time completing marathon distances on my own just for training
- First time completing a 50K followed by an official marathon the following week
- First time doing back-to-back 5Ks, as in Saturday evening/Sunday morning

I had a couple of PRs:

- 50K PR
- Distance PR (although not the one I wanted)

Etc., etc., etc.

Mainly, it's just been a busy, roller-coaster year. Working so hard for something that didn't work out took a lot out of me somehow, and since then I've just been enjoying my running life. I thought briefly about feeding off of my earlier training and trying to complete a 100 still this year. I even had one picked out. But then something curious happened. I noticed that running was feeling stressful. Training before the first 100-miler was fun for the most part, and I wasn't feeling that this time around. So, I backed off and reassessed and decided maybe it would be best to just let it go for now. And, guess what? Running suddenly became fun again. I was doing the exact same runs (distance-wise) as before, but without the feeling of "needing" to do those runs the stress just fell away. To be honest, it's been nice.

So, that's where I am right now. I do have a little race coming up in two weeks - a 50K. And, I am really looking forward to that. With any luck it will go well and I'll have another story to tell once it's done. Until next time....