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Doldrums: Sometimes Netflix and a Couch are a Good Combo

September 12, 2012

I hit the elusive 100 miles in 7 days that I was shooting for, the first time I’ve ever been able to hit that mark in a training week.  I followed it up with 23 miles over the next 3 days.  I’m not particularly tired.  Nothing is injured.  I’m not even sore.  I’m just, uh, sorta blah about training.  That hasn’t happened in a long time and I’m sure it won’t last.  It better not, since the next 4 weeks are prime time for training and I better not slack if I want to be ready for the CR100.

To be fair, there’s good reason for me to be a bit burnt out.  This has been a huge year for my running, especially the increasing training load.  The first half of a year was a breakthrough in training volume, with frequent 70+ mile weeks.  Since landing in Boulder 89 days ago I’ve pushed my limits further, logging 872 miles at elevation, mostly on trail, with 20 days of at least 15 miles and probably more climbing than I had done cumulatively in the prior 10 years.  I’ve only taken 10 days off running in that stretch, meaning that I’ve averaged over 11 miles on the running days.  The “rest days”  have only come at an average of 1 day out of 9 over a three month period.

So, I find myself lacking motivation a bit.  Likely it is some brain chemistry getting frizzled.  I know I’ve also lost some muscle, as it is getting harder to find any time during the day when I can get the scale to register much over 150.0.  I’m still doing plenty of core work and trying to get at least some push-ups and pull-ups but all of it is drudgery and my strength is not where it was even 2 months ago.

On the positive side, the run training seems to be working.  Despite a current mental low, I still generally enjoy each run, which is the important part.  While I’m certainly not gaining speed, I’m finding that there is nothing that is really preventing me from just running and running and running.  My aerobic capacity feels limitless and I can maintain (a slow but running) pace hour after hour without any bonk, even on the warmer days.  Mentally, I’m getting tougher and the more I run, the fewer little niggles bother me.  And I’ve discovered new abs, or perhaps protruding organs, that I previously didn’t have the opportunity to observe.

Yesterday was a full-on rest day.  Today I’m taking it easy.  But that’s it.  Time to “zip up my man suit” and get back at it Thursday and Friday for long back-to-back runs.  I’m looking at 4 hours tomorrow, maybe upwards of 6 hours Friday, and one way or another, I’ll do what I need to do.  What I want to do pretty much all the time except right at this moment.  To get out and run trail, some solo, some with friends, until I can’t anymore.

Odds and ends…

I got out for two great hikes with life-long bud, Kevin Lehrer.  The first was a Eben G. Fine Park -> Green Mountain Summit r/t, totaling about 10 miles.  It  took us long enough that we had to break out the semi-emergency headlamp that we shared to stumbled our way down the final 2 miles.  The following day we did a 3.5-mile night-time hike (with proper lighting) of Hogback Loop.  Great to get out on the mountain terrain together and one of these days we’ll get back out for some lengthier adventures, though maybe not as lengthy or adventurous as our times road-tripping across the U.S., backpacking through Mexico, or any number of shared but not-safe-for-blogging experiences.

Ryan Smith and Ben Nilsestuen completed the TransAlpine Run – 200 miles across the Alps over 8 days – as the 9th place men’s team.  Read all about their journey on Silke’s blog.  Tough, rugged, fast, and nice, these guys are inspirational and I’m lucky to have had a chance to spend some time training with them in their build-up.  Congrats!

Some friends are ultra-racing this weekend.  Matt Weincek is tackling his first run beyond 31 miles at Moab’s Alpine to Sliprock 50-Miler  in Utah and Silke Koester will be following up her recent win at the Aspen Trail Marathon with another 50-miler at the Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat Springs.



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