The Pain Cave

What I need to learn to be a true mountain runner: how to live in the pain cave.

Pain Cave

“set up a [frickin] lawn chair” she says! Yes, ma’am.

My inspiration:

How to live in the pain cave

Source: Irunfar.com

And, last week’s training:

Prep for North Face Endurance race Massachusetts

North Face Endurance Challenge MA

Today is the day before the big race that will define the next 3 years.

No pressure.

This North Face Endurance race in Massachusetts is touted as one of the toughest trail runs, meaning that the DNF percentage is pretty high due to terrain and elevation change. A few months ago I was thinking that I would start and just do what I can. If I didn’t finish, at least I will start – no matter what.

Now, since my training has gone well and I feel good I really want to go ALL IN. I’m going to finish – no matter what.

I want to do the races that I’ve been dreaming about and planning for since 2014 – ultra distances culminating in the biggie – 100 miles.
Tomorrow’s race is now about how to pace and finish a tough trail run at a shorter distance – 26.2 miles*.

I’ve tried over the last few years to sign up for 50 miler and that will force me to train for it; and that just hasn’t worked. It worked for Ironman but a 50 miler was so intense and I couldn’t do the training miles.

So much has changed this year.

I’m highly motivated and my training is going well. I’m 100% vegetarian and 80% vegan (darn pizza and ice cream, but I’m working on it). I feel like I recover better from hard training and I’m a bit lighter (still working on that too). While I’m not living in the mountains (like in Colorado) or surrounded by mountains (like in Tucson) I live in a hilly place and the mountains are 45 minutes away.

I’m working it.

Since I’m not on social media anymore I don’t follow the ultra runners to stay motivated like I used to do. Now, I  watch a lot of YouTube videos and subscribe to newsletters and magazines. But the key is doing the training, following the training plan and staying focused.

Today, one day from race day, I am going to walk and hike but no running. I’ve been tapering all week so I’m going into tomorrow’s race well rested. I’m going to finish this darn race: 26.2 hard trail miles at Wachusett Mountain Resort.
I have all my post-race food ready for me and on Sunday, my recovery day, Mark arrives for week! Woo hoo! He will be training on some hills in Concord all week and hopefully escaping the heat and humidity of Houston. Temps and humidity percentages looks good so far.

Concord NH Temp June 2018

Our next race is Ironman Mont Tremblant.

Here we are back in 2014 in St. George, Utah after Ironman 70.3 St. George.

Kristen Mark IM St George

*Race report will be posted upon completion. 

Athlete Mind-Set in the Office

I used the athlete mind-set a lot these last few years. “Embrace the Suck” is a phrase that got me through Ironman and bad work situations. I read this article today and it hit home.  Endurance sports training, Ironman and ultra running, taught me to deal with monotony, time management and failure in the workplace.  I like how MB writes about “perceived” failure, and that sometimes these failures are out of your control; I always forget that. Every single time I failed in a race or a job I learned something about myself and I did everything to get better.

And it’s true, every failure is a learning opportunity. I try to never make the same mistake twice. I’m always working to the next goal and past failures fade over time.

win or learn

From Muse

How can an athlete’s mind-set be useful in the office?

MB: Training teaches you lots of things, including time and stress management. It’s always hard in the moment to get past something you perceive as a failure, so I think it’s important to frame the conversation that way: failure versus “perceived” failure. Most of the time, there is some reason that things didn’t go well, and sometimes that thing was out of your control. It takes time and perspective to realize that each disappointment is a learning moment, and something that will make you stronger in the future. Viewing it as lesson instead of a failure will help keep you positive, motivated, and working hard to the next goal.