Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Brain Spewing

October 2014- In my innocence of newfound happiness and becoming fast just by running in the mountains
This past Sunday was the New Bedford Half Marathon; it was a total shit show. It was tough for EVERYBODY out there racing on Sunday, but for me, personally, it wasn't just tough, it was a total disaster. So much of one, in fact, that it's changed my mindset for the rest of the year. I'm done with the road running for as much as I can be. I'm still going to do the whole USATF-NE Grand Prix and a few short road races here and there, but, like I said before, my schedule is almost all trail/mountain racing this year anyway. So my training runs are also going to be trail/mountain running for the most part. I'll still have to hit the treadmill at work on Mondays and before work on Wednesdays. I also really enjoyed the track workouts last year, so as soon as that oval is clear of snow, I'll be back at it. Other than that, I'll be in the woods. It all should have been obvious, but I was in denial. The more I thought about things on the way home from New Bedford, the more I realized that all of this road running is ridiculous and not sustainable for my body. I've been injured, then on the verge of injury and now on the verge again. My current state does have more to do with the insane racing I've been doing, including snowshoe racing, which I think did me in, but in between all of that, I was out there pounding out fast miles on the road, only to find myself getting slower and slower. Thinking back over the last 2.5 years, I've had nothing but a gradual decline in speed. That doesn't mean I haven't had some kick-ass performances, but in general, I'm fading. That's when the light bulb lit up. I was my fastest when I ONLY ran trails and mountains. My half marathon PR of 1:22:36  was obtained without a single bit of road training. NONE. And I wasn't in fucking pain or tired! My average mileage a week then wasn't consistent because I didn't look at, nor did I care. But looking now, it was probably 40ish miles a week. Granted, I then did jump on the road and had an amazing 11 months of success...BUT most of that running was racing on the road. I don't know. I guess I can't say for sure that I will get faster going back to the trails, but I can tell you that I was injured at the end of that 11 months, then nearly injured a year later...and nearly injured now. It's like a normal thing for road runners to be injured. Par for the course. Well, I'm veering off course. Last summer when I was finally able to recover from VCM and get in the mountains, my entire body was stronger and I came back into road racing season in August faster and fitter. This can't be a coincidence! I've just gotten too caught up in the road running game of high miles and trying to keep up with Jones's. I'm just not built for that. Even with the core and upper body strength I've been doing, I feel weak and flabby...and I hurt. That isn't to say I don't love road running!! I was a roadie LONG before I became a trail runner. Not high mileage or competitive, but I loved a good road run. And I absolutely LOVE the road running crowd here in New England. Such a great group of people. Supportive no matter which team you're on. At New Bedford, I was lined up with women from CMS, Craft, Whirlaway, Millennium, GMAA, Western Mass, and we were all talking like a big group of friends. It's changed my perspective so that I've found the trail running crowd to be far more elitist and critical of each other in my experience these past 2 years. But I LOVE trail racing. It's where I'm happiest and strongest.

So, anyway, before I went off into blah, blah, blah land, the point of this was supposed to be that I'm changing my mindset. I backed out of the marathon I had registered for in April. I can't do it. I just can't. As beat up as I am right now, I'll never recover from it. All of the fun races I have planned wouldn't be as fun. I'd be piece of crap for who knows how long. The amount of relief I felt when I made this decision on Sunday was huge. It's the 100% right decision. The marathon I was registered for was Rhode Races Newport. They actually offer deferments or transfers to any of their other races within a year of the original race. I could have chosen another marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5k, but, instead, I chose their Wine Run. Haha. The money was already spent, so I figured why not do something fun? These events are crazy expensive, so it's not something I would normally do. But the money was already sunk, and I couldn't get it back. So, yeah, I just went from a road marathon to a 3-mile run through a vineyard. Hmm. No brainer on which one sounds way more fun to me. Haha.

So once I made this decision, I was able to look past April 15th (no, not my taxes, the date of that marathon haha) and realize I was actually going to enjoy myself this year. I wasn't going to be recovering at the end of April and May. I'll actually be able to train for Cranmore and maybe have a good race at Sleepy Hollow. Hopefully, I'll go into the 50-miler I'm doing at the end of May and actually not DNF this time, but if I do, fuck it. When I do jump back into some road races, they are going to feel great and not dreaded. Am I going to worry about all of those long road runs I'm not getting in? Nope. My next road marathon isn't until October. By then, I'll be fit enough that I'll only need to put in few long road runs to pull it off. Of course, I write all of this in the hope that I'm not injured already and just about to break like at the Vermont 50, when I went from fine to barely able to walk in a matter of 30 minutes. Yeah, it could happen. If it does, I'll deal with it just like last time. I'll have to. Does any of this mean I won't run on the roads at all. No. I will still get out on the roads some. I have a few dirt road runs that I enjoy, and there will be a few weeks coming up when the trails are going to be difficult to run on through mushy snow. I'll have no choice but to hit the roads. I may even change my mind and feel like a long road run, but I'm changing my overall plan. This worrying about mileage and pace is going to end. I'm not going to peruse Strava and worry that I'm not keeping up with what everybody else is doing. In fact, I'm sick of people I don't really know watching what I'M doing, so I might be thinning out my followers list. If I know you, that's cool, but if I don't? Don't get offended when you end up off my list. I just need to end that feeling of all eyes on me all the time. I don't like being in a spotlight, and to me, Strava is a huge spotlight. When I was first on Strava years ago, Kevin Tilton and Jim Johnson were the only people I followed because they were the only local runners I knew on there, and I often wanted to learn some of trails they knew. It actually served that purpose well. Now, I have 205 followers, and I follow 113! And...I just cut 28 people from my followers list. Nothing personal. I swear!

This post was supposed to be my New Bedford post, but I've decided to write a separate one for  that and the rest of last week. This brain spewing is just too much to read before scrolling down to a depressing race report. Haha. So that will be my next post. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to end this one on a positive note. I guess I could say that, other than New Bedford, mentally, I've been having a better month than last month. My few relationships with people seem to be going well now. I'm in dire need of losing weight and sleeping better, but it will come with the warm weather. I'm cutting back on the beer for a few weeks to give my body a break from those extra calories, since mid to late March is when I ALWAYS gain weight. ALWAYS. Not planning to cut it out completely, but majorly cutting it back. Not like that's going to hurt me in anyway. Haha. I'm also cutting out sugar again for the most part. That's something I need to do all the time since its excess is the reason I've gained the weight I have the last month. I guess I'm just trying to make my life better by doing small things right now. I was so disappointed after New Bedford that I cried a few times on the way home, but, now, I realize that it actually has helped move me forward in a more positive direction.

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