Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Recovery Is Hard. Physically AND Mentally.

Second run after Javelina. Very difficult.
Recovery sucks. I mean, it’s worse than tapering. 
At least when you’re tapering, you are looking forward to a big race. Whether it is your first half-marathon or your first ultra, there is a sense of simultaneous excitement and nervousness, but all in all the anticipation level is high. As you taper, your muscles heal, recover and repair from the stress of training. They become primed for your event. They quiver with excitement and they become difficult to tame. 
Then there is the frenzy of preparation in the days and hours preceding your event. You lay out your clothes on the hotel bed the night before. You carbo-load. You drink entirely too much water. You pin your bib crookedly on your shirt. If it’s a really long race, you organize your gels and electrolyte tablets, bars, food and toilet paper for the inevitable times when you arrive at a port-a-potty only to find that 20,000 people have already used it. 
Even so, you’re still excited. 
You get to the starting line with the thousands of people about to embark on the same journey. There is camaraderie. There is awesomeness galore! 
You run your race. You cross the finish the line. You get your medal and pig out on the after-race fare (that is, if they haven’t torn everything down yet—that’s another story). You run into the arms of your family and friends (that is, if they’re not sitting at the Buffalo Wild Wings as you’re finishing your second Marine Corps Marathon—again, another story). You shuffle painfully around in a contented daze, visiting the beer garden and marveling at yourself and at others for completing what you had thought to be impossible just a few months prior.
This is exactly how I felt in the two weeks after Javelina.
Read more of this post in Women's Running Magazine!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Training for and Running 100K: Not Easy, Not Impossible

Part of the Pemberton Trail, McDowell Regional Park in Fountain Hills, AZ site of the Javelina Hundred 100k
Two weeks ago I flew down to Arizona to participate in the Javelina Jundred 100K put on by Race Director Jamil Coury of Aravaipa Running. It would be a unique way of celebrating my 40th birthday. I don’t like regular parties with DJs and sweaty people, but I do like TRAIL RUNNING PARTIES with DJs and sweaty people! 
I have not yet even begun to process the entire experience; it was so varied, soul-searching, physically and mentally difficult, AND phenomenal. My actual race report will be up on my blog soon, but I wanted to pass on some things I learned in my training and during the race. 
You must train.And you must train hard and long. 100K is, for me, an enormous distance to cover—there are tons of people who do multiple 100-milers and even some crazier folks who do 200-mile races but this was HUGE for me. 
I spent most of my weekends over the summer and in the early fall doing long runs and races to train my body to not only be able to do distance, but to even CRAVE it. I did the Tortoise and the Hare Hourly Ultra in Canton, Georgia, the Catamount 25K in Stowe Vermont, the Finger Lakes Fifties 50K in Hector NY, the Montour 12 Hour Run in Danville, Pennsylvania, and the Georgia Jewel 35-Miler in Dalton, Georgia. This was in addition to countless miles spent on my own both on pavement and on the trails. 
I knew that in order for me to be able to finish my epic journey, I would have to do run lots of miles consistently to get the body accustomed to being used and abused for hours on end. 
It worked! 
Read the rest of this post on my blog in Women's Running Magazine!