January 28, 2014

Training. Don't Pick Your Fruit Too Early

Staying fresh. It’s not easy. Here’s my theory – when it comes to training, we runners can easily end up like a piece of fruit left up on the counter for too long. In other words, don’t expect to stay ripe all the time, because you can end up rotten when you need to be fresh the most.

This last season was a lesson for me on being “on the shelf” for too long. I trained and raced for nine consecutive months, grinding through 3,250 miles from February to November. Completing four races; a 100k, two 100 milers and a 50 miler. By the time I was done, I was feeling like forgotten banana at the back of the cupboard.  

The races were the easy part. The hard part? Staying motivated. There were times when I struggled just to lace up my shoes and go for a run. My body was holding up, but my motivation was slowly waning. I even tried to mix up my training. The excitement that normally courses through my veins was getting thin. What I learned is this: once the fruit is ripe, I can’t expect it to remain that way for very long.

The coming season has me a little worried. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve got four 100 mile races over a four month period starting the end of June. This makes last year look like tiddlywinks. So I’m planning on doing things a little differently. First, its January, and I’m not running much at all.

Sounds crazy, but I’m not going to get sucked into a serious training regimen until I know I can sustain it well into the summer. That would start around March and will take me through April, May and then into June. By then, my fruit will be just ripening and, if I treat it right, will remain that way through all the mountain miles before me.

Keep it real runners!

January 12, 2014

The Grand Slam...Not Just at Denny's Anymore

Why? Why am I doing this? Another year in front of me and I’ve gone and signed up for four hundred mile races. I’ve signed up for the Grand Slam. Western States. Vermont. Leadville. Wasatch. What the *$%@ am I doing this for?

I’m hanging on to something here, but I’m not sure what. An obsession? Sometimes I wonder. Then I find my repose by refusing to believe that I’m the obsessive type...and what loony tune ever would? It all comes down to a grudge match between self-awareness and delusion. Which just means that I’m aware of my own delusions.

I guess it wasn’t very helpful that I told my wife about my Grand Slam ambitions while we were at Denny’s Restaurant, and I was eating the Grand Slam breakfast. Wow, I should have gone lighter on the Tabasco and pepper that day. I can still taste that one.  

It will be hard. It always is. Work is getting more demanding. Or, maybe I’m demanding more of it. There is travel on the horizon. And goals and the vision. My family is and will remain my greatest priority. They are done with the 100-mile family vacations. “It’s just not fun anymore dad,” my oldest daughter said to me recently. What I’m trying to get my arms around now is how to maintain more balance, and to find the time to run without jeopardizing these important things in my life.

I’m learning along the way that, much to my relief, there is no perfect time or balance for life’s priorities. Time is always tight when I’m trying to keep priorities in balance. Family, work, training, in this order, is the balance that I seek. I am very fortunate that I have this triangle to begin with.

These are the days.