Monday, January 10, 2011
Actually, it's Monday and I will run today. It's a beautiful day and I feel great.
Yesterday was Sunday. I ran the Boney Mountain 21k put on by Xterra. I did it in 2008, my first trail run ever. I posted a 2:09, loved it, was hooked on the trail/mountain type of running. Loved it. No perspective on that time, was smashed afterwards, but, again, love was in the mountain air.
Yesterday was a different story. Let's make this easy. What I did not like and what I liked.
I did not like my time: 2:14. I was slower than my first trail race ever, when I was fresh off the turnip truck. I ran the race blind then. Pretty disappointing.
I did not like my preparation for this. I have not been training at all. I have been staying active, running regularly, but mostly that running has been aerobic because my allergies dictate that kind or running and aerobic running is a big part of "the program." In the last week and a half, I had a little tweak on the foot and the allergies were "there" so I was just trying to get to the line. And I got there feeling good. No foot issue, feeling pretty good on the breathing front (which is nice going into an anaerobic mountain running event). So, I got there, but I wasn't necessarily geeked on the training front. I took 2 days off the last week because of foot and allergies (but I was "tapering" so that's okay - sarcasm). I just wasn't FLYING into the event. I did not like the training.
I did not like the night before. I slept about a two hours. My wife told me she would've bailed on the race. She slept the same way. We stayed at friends in L.A. Just a bad night. Which I do not count-on. I don't put that much stock into sleep. Usually you're itching to race, so sleep is iffy anyways. The only reason I say this is because. . .
I did not like the way the race started. I was out of breath early-on. I kinda paced (led) Paul and me through the crowded single-track early-on. And that first climb (see profile) pretty much drilled me. I was not climbing very well. I did not climb much coming in, but I didn't think I would struggle that much. I was kinda gassed by mile 4 or 5.
I did not like mile 4 or 5 through mile 7-8. I was questioning my ability to run. Were my allergies that arrived last year at this time going to limit my running life? Am I done? It's been a strange year. Sure I have always had allergies, but not the kind that I deal with now EVERY SINGLE DAY. The doctor say that can happen. The body is weird. Getting older is unpredictable. Obviously. But the difficulty I was having climbing and training was starting to weigh on my mind at this point in the race. Pretty dark. Bummed. But I kept on.
I liked mile 8-9 to the finish. I found my legs. I started to climb. I started to reel guys in. I reached the top (mile 10) and started to feel good (it's about time). I descended well. I continued to chase guys down. At mile 11.5 there is a little half mile climb. Guys were walking, gasping. I ran by them. The last rolling section was 7:20s on the watch. I ran hard to the finish.
I like how I feel right now. No pain in the body. My breathing feels great. I can't wait to run today. This is a great sign.
So, a lot I didn't like. But in the end, I was smiling and running hard. Sure I was slow. I felt old, fat and struggling. But I finished feeling a lot better.
Maybe it takes me a little longer to find my breathing and my legs. I will be running 43-45 miles with a friend this spring, which is what all of this is building towards. Yesterday was a training run, a long run. Memo to self: my long runs need to get longer. Time to step things up. I may be better suited for longer efforts.
Finding my goods at mile 9 is a bad scene for a half marathon. Finding my run by mile 9 of a marathon (trail) or 50k is probably a different story. A better story, I would like to think.
Back to the first 7-8 miles. My legs were tired. I was tired. Was that a sign of the bad night of sleep? Maybe. Maybe getting older I need better prep including a solid night of sleep. But I was tired at first. And my legs. Because of my gimpy ankle/foot, I wore my compression socks for a couple of days straight. Sure I showered, but I kept wearing them. And it worked, I think. My left foot/ankle feels good. But was I cutting-off my circulation? Pretty nuts. I was looking for answers.
So, the first "race" in about a year and a half (I raced once in 2010 so I have not been lining-up, at all really). Cob-webs are kaput. I'm ready to get back at it and "earn my beers."
In other words, I found the only answer I was really looking for: Keep running!