Suddenly Summer

It happens every year.

One minute you are sitting in your house freezing and wearing long tights on a morning run.

The next minute you can’t stay cool in your house and are sweating bullets in shorts on a morning run.

Today, on a hot, muggy morning I ran 8 miles on roads and trails. While the temperature on weather.com reported 70 degrees and humidity at 67% it felt higher and I was melting. Ugh. I seriously don’t know how I lived in Tucson for three years. 

I just looked at the details of my Strava and it states that the temperature was 63 and humidity 88%. That sounds a little more correct than weather.com

Either way. Hot and muggy with full sun exposure. I liked the route though: through the quarry trails and over to Winant to run an interesting 8 mile loop before starting work. 

I’m going to try and get away for a short bike ride at lunch time since the weather is so nice; nice bike weather means not windy and rainy. The high today will be 80. I hope to follow the training plan this week and maybe get a 4,000 footer in on the weekend. 

This morning I read a Twitter post about the death of David Clark. I read some posts about his passing last week but only his name was mentioned and I didn’t know who he was; at that time there were few details. I found the story today from Rich Roll who gave a tribute to him and I was instantly drawn into Clark’s story. 

His story is about how an obese alcoholic who loved fast food found a new life in running. And not just running – ultra running some of the hardest races. As someone who struggles with so some of the same things I wanted to know more about his story and bought his book, Broken Open. I’ll let you know what I think once I pick it up from Gibsons.

Training & Racing Update Week 5

This last week was good. Hiking, Running, Biking.

Although the training plan had me on a recovery week so low-ish mileage was good. 

I didn’t bike as much as I did last week since it was so windy but did get 40 miles in. My ankle is about 90% – it’s still sore – but after a recover day today, Monday, I hope to hit my mileage numbers this week and get some decent bike miles in, as well. 

Things seem to be returning a little bit back to normal. Restaurants open outdoor seating today. Stores are open, sort of. The YMCA is still closed and I’m eager to see what being in the weight room will look like when they do open. Also, I wonder what swimming will look like. 

I still haven’t heard from upcoming races such as the White Mountain Triathlon and Ragged Mountain Stage race. 

My neighborhood

The trees and grass are finally green. Spring has arrived in Concord. Week 5 is looking promising to get my miles in and keep the momentum going as we head into the strangest Memorial Day weekend ever. I hope to do some hiking somewhat close to home, perhaps Ragged Mountain and / or Kearsarge. I’ll wait to head north to the White Mountains after the holiday. 

Still working from home….I don’t want to go back to office life.

Do you like running?

This morning I read an article from a Facebook Group post. The article: Why I won’t stop running due to COVID.

The question the writer posed to himself “Do I like running?

McConaughy’s story made me think about this year and how wacky my training plans were compared to a year ago. Last year my motivation was high to run a race that was way out of my league and at high elevation. [Leadville]

The challenge spurred me on to do my training plan every day, lose weight and created a new world for me in ultra running. I remember feeling excited about every run. When I knew I had to run 10 miles or 20 miles, I was looking forward to the run, planning what I would listen to and what I would eat for a meal after (I love a good post-run food plan).

However, 2020 started so different because I was injured and training for a 100 mile race I wasn’t super excited about. Training and motivation were nothing like a year ago. The weather beat me up and I didn’t follow the plan. I wasn’t excited about running and spent more time in the gym lifting weights.

McConaughy’s article reminded me of the feeling of being on trails. As soon as I hit a trail I’m suddenly feeling better and happier. While I am faster on the roads (and like seeing a faster pace on Strava) and sometimes do enjoy roads, I’m happiest when I am surrounded by trees, running past an occasional stream and see dirt under my feet. 

Like him, “I was captivated by the challenge of trying to run longer distances in more wild places.” That’s why Leadville was such a positive in my life last year. The Leadville 100 was long and wild. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. That’s what got me up in the morning and out the door to train. That drive and happiness drove my desire in all aspects of my life. I was so excited for whatever was around each new corner. 

McConaughy asks himself and readers, Why do you enjoy running in the first place? For me, I like the simplicity of running. Not much gear is needed and I can open my door and go. I especially love running to the top of hill, and when I’m fit, I recover fast and keep running; it makes me see progress and makes me happy. I love the days when I can run 10 miles and it feels relatively easy. 

There may be no races this year but somehow I will run 100 miles if I have to do loops around my house and ask friends to support me.

I had this poster on my bedroom wall during high school. It’s still true.

Weekend Recap, Podcasts, Book Review

My friend Shelly, from Houston, finished her first 100 mile race at Brazos Bend in December, and her name appears in this month’s Ultra Running Magazine. She is amazing. 

While I was in Houston in January for the Houston Marathon, I had a few minutes to talk to her about her race and get some tips for finishing my first 100. I wanted to know every training secret and figure out what I could do to get to the finish line at Umstead

Here are a few tips she gave me:

  • Find running partners
  • Join long run groups
  • Run after work and into the night (with someone)
  • Get up and run at 3 a.m. for a few hours
  • Listen to podcasts and books while running

As soon as I got home I joined Facebook groups and vowed to find people to run with. I have tried to run after work but I’m too tired and it’s too cold. I haven’t woken up at 3 a.m. to run either. And, I pretty much always run alone. 

However, today as I was running for hours on the treadmill I decided to look at some podcasts and take Shelly’s advice since my music wasn’t motivating me and all the TV channels were talking incessantly about coronavirus. 

I started listening to Motivation vs. Discipline from Trail Runner Nation because I’ve been having some problems with motivation and discipline lately. 

I’ve also been having recurring pain in my legs as my mileage increases; I’m thinking from my prior injury. 

I’m a mess. 

I decided to start listening to this podcast to force me to stay on the treadmill and finish the workout. I don’t listen to podcasts because they become cringeworthy to me, and it’s feels like I’m listening to a reality show that I want to turn off when everyone starts talking over each other. Today, I decided to give podcasts another shot and listened to this entire podcast.

The biggest take away from Motivation vs. Discipline was the discussion about the ultra running community and how at races people ask “what was your experience” not, what was your time. These runners care about having a great experience. And this is what needs to motivate my running. Another discussion topic is about how motivation is needed at the beginning of learning a new distance versus discipline; however motivation and discipline fuel each other. My favorite discussion point in the podcast: listen to your body.

If you only go out and exercise when you feel great you are not going to reach your goal.” It seems like my legs are always tired. When I do my long runs they are so tired during most of it. I acknowledged that it is good training to run on tired legs, but why are they ALWAYS tired? This podcast really motivated me to keep going. 

Then, I looked for another podcast to help me fight longer on the treadmill. 

However, as I walked for a bit on the treadmill I decided to find the Libby App for the library and find a good book to listen to.

But my mind moved back to a point from the podcast, Motivation vs. Discipline, that I should use Training Peaks to plan my week because seeing a red workout (meaning not completed) would help motivate me. So I tried to Log In to Training Peaks.

It all helped pass the time and I kind of, sort of, finished my workout.

I need to do more of Shelly’s recommendations since it’s now just about 6 weeks to race day. Training is not going as well as I’d like, but I’m doing it. 

“Individuals on the path of mastery are driven from within.” The Passion Paradox

Reading The Passion Paradox is helpful too. The idea of mastery and a goal of getting better, has helped me realize that I’m in this for the long-haul. I really want to finish a 100, get better at figuring out what my body needs to go long [successfully], and try other distances and endurance sports. The only way to do this is to learn more about what will cure all my aches and pains, get better at nutrition and recovery, and to figure out what truly motivates me. After 17 years of training and racing endurance sports you would think I’d have figured it out. 

Maybe this is what keeps me motivated: there is always so much to learn.

The Passion Paradox, Run 33 Miles

Another Saturday morning and it’s time to head out on a long run. Today I must run 33 miles. It’s cold outside; about 4 degrees. I’m procrastinating. I’m drinking coffee and refreshing weather.com every five minutes. I will run all  33 miles today. Not only do I have to, I want to.

However, the caveat, the but, the …… I’m not going to be able to do it all at once. And, I’m okay with that. 

Today I will do a few trail miles with Winnie-dog. Then I will run until I need to meet my friend for a walk and dinner. Then I will finish the miles later in the evening. I will get all my miles in. 

As I wait, I start reading the book that I bought: The Passion Paradox by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. I’ve read book reviews and excerpts, and a ton of articles by Stulberg, and I follow him on Twitter. I kept writing down lines I liked and referencing his articles, so I decided it was time to buy the book, and their other book, Peak Performance. [Peak Performance hasn’t arrived yet.]

What I like about the book is how they use science and philosophy to talk about the dark side of passion and then suggest tools to help find a balance. Passion can help you be successful but it also can break you, they write.

I’m on Chapter 1: Passion Must Be Handled With Care. 

I can’t wait to keep reading because I have big goals this year. I always have big goals. And I always go through dark times and feel lost because I can’t get training in or I sleep in or make bad life decisions. I know that I don’t push myself hard enough some days and some days I overdo it. [I seem to only remember that I don’t push myself hard enough.] 

Trying to balance big goals and still wake up in the morning to get things done can be difficult but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

This is a quote I’ve kept on my phone from over five years ago; I’ve always felt this to be true.

One of the lines at the beginning of The Passion Paradox states: People who are passionate about their lives and put “tremendous passion into everything they do” cannot be content. And, alas, this is my problem – I’m never satisfied, I always want more. I can finish a race, whether it is an Ironman or 50 miler, regardless of the challenge, after I cross the finish line I ask myself –  What’s Next? 

Maybe this is healthy, maybe it’s not. I’ll find out as I continue reading. 

Okay, now it’s time to get outside and RUN. It’s now 19 degrees!!