The Month Since My First 100-Mile Run
Pretty much all of life as we experience it comes down to chemicals and current. Hormones and enzymes and neurons reacting to electrical pulses. That sort of stuff. All of what we are and all of what we do are affected. Ours moods and motivations, our literal and figurative hungers, our desires and, ultimately, our relative level of contentment.
After a really, really demanding physical challenge, I’ve heard there can be a few weeks immediately following where, due to a stressed nervous system and fatigued endocrine system, a guy can get all sorts of weird. I’m superhuman, however, as I’ve been told quite a few times since hobbling to the finish of my race, so there was no reason to fear such a post-race psycho-physiological collapse. In fact, I was back to running after just 3 days off. And just a week removed from my nearly-28-hour run, I was hanging with my Boulder trail buddies for a 9+ miler. Back to 40+ mile weeks 1 and 2 weeks after the race.
Then it hit me. Aches from nothing. Shortness of breath just walking around. Low level depression that I couldn’t shake – even with espresso. And, as readers of this blog might have noticed, a lapse in motivation that extended to even putting thoughts into the computer. Thanksgiving week, spent in St. Louis, was particularly rough. After what I’d say was my first run of any quality since the race – a 9-miler with Josh Wallach that included some tempo – I kinda fell apart. After falling asleep at 5pm on Tuesday, in all my clothes (flannel shirt and jeans and wool socks) and shivering for a couple hours under 3 layers of bedding, I knew I was over-extended. Alison (again, as always) was great, allowing me to sleep guilt-free for nearly 15 hours in an 18-hour stretch, which started the turnaround. I squeezed in a couple of lackluster runs to try to shake myself out of the funk, ending the STL trip with a walk-through effort in the multi-decade Friday-after-Thanksgiving football game. [As an aside, I'm thinking that my now-150-something-pound frame isn't all too well suited to O-line and certainly isn't ideal for pass-rushing.]
Good news is that I’m back to Boulder and getting back to myself mentally. On Sunday I made my return to running long with a 25-mile, 6-hour mountain run with something close to 7000′ of climbing. It was the first in a really cool non-race 2013 Winter Expedition Series of Fat-Ass (group run) event where like-minded folks suffer and celebrate together, free of charge, over 10 or 25 or, in one event to come, up to 62 miles on the trails. The dedicated organizer, Sherpa John, even put together a video of the outing and compiled results from the day:
|Name||Where From?||Goshawk? Y/N||Approximate Miles
(If you did not run all)
|Randall, Mike||Austin, TX||Y||25||5:56|
|Friedman, Jeff||Grand Junction||N||21||5:21|
I got lots of time in my head, wondering in the early miles if I was ready for such a long day. But after the first 10 miles or so I came alive and very much enjoyed the running and conversation. The time went much faster once I got to chatting with Greg Salvesen (9th place at the Cactus Rose 100), Liz Weiss (likely the best trail-runner in the group), Rob Harsh (Eco-Challenge and Primal Quest adventure sport veteran with more inspiring stories than time to tell them), and a handful of others, all with good attitudes and strong legs.
My full motivation isn’t roaring back yet but I am excited to get back at training. I haven’t locked in any specific new goals or signed up for any races yet but I’m ready to start thinking about what comes next. More importantly, I’m getting out of bed looking forward to the day, nothing hurts, and the mountains out the window are calling.
A guy I know a little, Jake Zmrhal, just ran around Mount Kilimanjaro. Congrats!
Over the weekend ultra-running couple friends/superstars, Silke and Ryan, ran all the way across the Grand Canyon, turned around, and ran all the way back, in an adventure run known in ultra circles as the “rim to rim to rim” (R2R2R). They covered the nearly 50 miles in “something like 10:20 running time and 12:15 total time”. That’s really moving, as most people who I know (who are also pretty talented runners) take many hours longer. I expect a full report will be posted soon at http://www.dirtproof.co.uk/.
Congrats to Greg and Julie Nash on adding some more ballast to the running stroller. Sarah Lynn Nash was born November 19.
While 100-mile races are still largely under the radar for the general public, and even many runners, there is one that is king of them all. The Western States 100 Endurance Run is the one that has made it into the mainstream, at least a little. It is one of the oldest trail races around and, I think, the first organized 100-miler. It draws the most prestigious field of runners, has been the backdrop for multiple documentaries, has gotten tv coverage, and features a point-to-point course that has, in the same race on the same day, had thigh-deep snow and triple-digit heat. It has a very limited field and tight qualification standards. Since I was able to qualify at the Hells Hills 50-miler in April, I figured I’d toss my name into the lottery. Chances of getting in are mid-single digits but there’s at least a chance. And it I do get in, oh boy. I’ll know on December 8.