Monday, April 23, 2012

New Week, New Outlook

Thanks to everyone for the kind words from last week's post. Can't say I wasn't slightly embarrassed to write about it, but it's honestly how I felt (and still do feel a bit) and I know I'm not the first, or last, runner to feel that way.

After hearing from some great people and taking a step back, I am feeling much better about the frustration and sadness I was feeling last week. I am realizing that it's okay if I don't do all of the races I have planned this year. I do plan to do my 12 hour race as I love that one too much to pass it up, but after that race, I'll see how I feel about doing my 100 miler. I don't want to attempt my first 100 miler while feeling any mental negativity. If that means I don't do my 100 miler I'm registered for, that's okay. Not going to lie, that's a huge step for me, but I have to honor all sides of me, not just my competitive side.
How beautiful is where I ran this weekend?!
I did, though, get in 58 miles this week, including a 31 miler back home. I did struggle with my long run like last weekend, but instead of freaking out, I just pushed through. I didn't think about what I'd rather be doing instead, but how beautiful the running path was and how very few people have done what I have done. I also got excited thinking about other things I'd like to try if I relaxed on the ultramarathoning, like joining a real gym and taking fun classes. Who knows what the future will hold!

What will be in the future for next week's post? A yummy recipe for some Cinnamon Maple Cashew Butter Chocolate Cups! I just finished my first batch and they turned out quite yummy. Can't wait to post the recipe next week.
Hope everyone had a great weekend and has a great week this week!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Am I really an ultra runner?

I'm in a running funk and it's bad. The last couple of weeks, I've been dreading my long runs and when I do run them, I fall apart during them. When I read about other runners who adore their long runs, I just think about how much I hate my long runs. Shouldn't I adore it with every fiber of my being like every one else seems to? I'm learning, maybe not so. This has me wonder if I really am cut out to be an ultra runner or if I'm just in a bad mental funk.

Two weeks ago, when I did my 28 miler and didn't have a great run, I just blew it off knowing that bad runs happen. This weekend, I was back home and got in a 30.5 miler on a much hillier path than I'm used to running. I felt awesome for the first 13 miles, then tiredness set in and I just couldn't keep up my pace. The whole time I was falling apart, I kept thinking of a million other things I would rather be doing than suffering through the run. I kept questioning my abilities, my mental strength, and my true desire to run ultras.
I've become known by friends, family, co-workers, and friends of friends as "that crazy person who runs a lot." I almost feel the that it is the expectation I've created about myself that I must live up to. I know that isn't true, but if I didn't do ultras all the time, what would I do and who would I be? I don't want to quit running all together, I just need to find a happy space mentally for my training and races. I've fallen down the negative rabbit hole and I need to pull myself out of it quickly. I have to understand that if I stopped doing ultras for a bit, people wouldn't be disappointed and honestly probably wouldn't care.

What does this mean for my next couple of races? I have my 12 hour race in less than 4 weeks and my 100 miler in less than 10. I'll see how my 12 hour race goes and go from there. I need to realize that it's okay if I don't do well at of my races all the time and that going out there and attempting it is an accomplishment in itself. I hate being such a Debbie Downer, but if I was perky and happy all the time, I wouldn't be an honest person.

Here's to hoping the next few weeks go better than the last and that if I overcome this, it leaves me stronger than before.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Odd Week of Exercise

This past week of exercise was just kind of weird. I actually totally skipped out on all of the bootcamp workouts from last week. I kept messing up my alarm on the days I was supposed to get up early and do the workouts. I did get in most of my runs, but no bootcamp workouts.

One new thing I did was Zumba. I was given some Zumba DVDs from my mom and I wanted to do something different. I am so glad the BF wasn't home yet because I could tell what a fool I looked like doing the dance moves. I took Jazzercise classes with my mom growing up, so I enjoyed dancing, but I felt like I lack the rhythm to do the moves right.

Lastly, I helped pace a new runner friend in the Philly 100 miler. I paced my now good virtual running friend, Jon, last year to his first 100 finish. One thing about social media is that I am able to connect with runners I wouldn't have met otherwise. Through Twitter, I met Kino and Ryan, who were coming to Philly for this year's race. I offered up my pacing/crewing abilities and was happy to help Ryan during his race.

I showed up to the course around 4 pm, 10 hours into the race. Ryan ended up not having a goal to necessarily do the whole 100 and when I met up with him, he was 42 miles in. We ended up walking/running the last two laps he did together. It was great talking with him through the hours we spent covering the course. He had such a great attitude the whole time and even though he didn't do the full 100 miles, he just planned on doing whatever mileage made him happy and content. He finished the race in such a great mood and I really respected him reaching deep inside himself to find happiness in a sport that sometimes can be so painful. I hope to take that lesson with me in my future races.

I didn't do nearly enough exercise this past week (skipped bootcamp workouts and a run). A few years ago, I would have probably flipped at that. I've learned to loosen the reigns a bit and know that off weeks are okay, healthy, and won't be the worst thing in the world for me. Just leaves me more determined to kick some butt this week!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Great Race, Bad Run, and Bootcamp Recap

Wow, this week was filled with plenty of exercise. As there is now just less than 6 weeks until the Mind the Ducks 12 Hour Race, my training has really kicked into high gear. I ended up getting 53 miles this week, which included two runs on Wednesday to equal 15 miles and a 28.2 miler yesterday. I used a new route and ran from my apartment in Center City Philly to Conshochoken and back. I liked doing something new and it felt really cool to run to a different town, but the run wasn't a great one. I wore my heart rate monitor and found my heart rate too high for most of the run. My legs were also stiff for most of the run, but alas, the run got finished, which is a major accomplishment for how poorly I felt during most of it.
My route on Sunday. Can't lie, feels cool to see how far I ran.
A positive part of the weekend was that the AT&T Back on My Feet Halfway to Broad 5 miler occurred on Saturday and it went so well! I was on the race committee, focusing on the PR for the race, but for the race day, I was in charge of bag dop. Everything seemed to just go so perfectly, including the freezing rain holding off, and the racers all seemed to enjoy themselves. The BoMF team I run with, OBP, had a huge presence at the race, with a handful of people racing and a bunch of supporters on the sidelines. Couldn't be prouder to have been a part of a great race that supports an even greater organization.

My team before the race started. <3 OBP!
Finally, this past week as week 4 of Tina Reale's Best Body Bootcamp. This week had us doing the same exercises as week 3, but we were to do 4 sets in each superset instead of 3. I found myself being able to use heavier weights with a lot of the exercises, but things like pushups still were so tough for me. I am noticing that I am getting stronger, so I'm really happy with how things have been so far. Week 5 looks like it will be a doozy, so I'm excited for it!

Hope everyone else had great weekends. Anyone do anything fun or race this weekend?