Imagine a table loaded with your favorites desserts.
Cookies. Pies. Cakes. CHOCOLATE!
You know you shouldn’t eat it all. Once piece…maybe two…is quite enough.
But…..you’ll deal with the consequences later, right???
Oh, Spring 2014, you were loaded with sweets. Snow and soggy trail runs in January and February gave way to…snowy and soggy trail runs in March. Suffering in April. So many new trails…so many new friends. I am an addict, and a glutton….and I suffered and enjoyed every minute of it! I paid the price, for sure. Race times were so much slower than last year. But I wouldn’t trade a single second of the fun. FOMO may have hurt my ultra signup ranking…but it absolutely tested and expanded my capabilities as a trail runner…and I enter the summer training season renewed and motivated.
Here are the highlights since Holiday Lake:
– A super fun trail run with VHTRC friends. A beautiful sunset over McAfee’s with Sophie. Quality miles with Sophie, Marc, Beth, Rick, Jack, and Doug. Recovery drinks and dinner with Gary. Trying to stay awake on the drive home to Richmond.
– Working the inaugural Thomas Jefferson 100K. Enjoying every moment of AJW’s RD soliloquy. 7 miles checking trails with Martha, and 18 miles pacing the incredible Jenny Nichols…who was very nice and gracious even after I dumped a pitcher of Tailwind over her head.
– Terrapin! Slower than I wanted. Cramps galore. But oh-so-much-fun running with Jamie and Rick and Siobhan and Johnny Leonardis and hanging out with everyone pre/post race…
– Playing hooky to run The Priest and Spy Rock. Getting lost. Lots of extra miles. Hitchhiking back to the car…cross that off my bucket list!
– Afton to Humpback (almost). A normal training run with Team Crozet that turned into an epic adventure with hurricane (or at least tropical Storm force) winds, snow,ice….and a well-earned Mudhouse latte at the end!
– a 10 mile run with CATs Bob, Marc, Becca, and Christian that turned into a 14 miler. Beautiful waterfalls, 2000 ft climb over 1.5 miles, Ridge running. Views. Oh….and I started from the cabin, so it was only a 20 minute drive for me!
– Bull Run Run. I signed up for this on a whim. Lottery entry – no chance that I’ll actually get in. Crap! “Won” the lottery. In. Decide to use it as a training run to test nutrition. Run easy, fuel well. It get’s hot. Slow slog. Great volunteers. Wouldn’t say I “raced” it, but happy to have it in the books.
– The beach! Spring Break! Time to relax! Decide to run. Run hard. Run fast. Super psyched that I’ve recovered in such a short time from Bull Run.
– Tuesday night. Run-of-the-mill-trail-run. Switch from Hokas to minimalist Saucony’s. Run slow. Suffer much. Undo any “recovery”.
– Wednesday, Thursday, Friday before Promise Land. Sore….oh so very sore…..
– Promise Land!! Start off easy.. Chat with Holly, then fall back as she runs ahead. Enjoy the first 2000 ft. climb. Chilly morning gives way to glorious sunrise. Trot along the horse trail, bounding down, down, down. Run and catch up with Kathleeen, Mikala (first ultra!!), Siobhan. Feel incredible. Trail starts to level off. Hips hurt. Uh Oh. Run Easy, relax. Eat, drink, repeat. Climb and descend. Keep running. Every. Step. Hurts. Dial back at Sunset Fields…the race doesn’t start till mile 20. Immediately get passed by a dozen women (OK…more like 4-5, but still…) Decide it is OK. Not my race…I sacrificed it two weeks ago, and I’m glad I did. Get to see friends on the trail…continue to fuel….don’t stress when I stop to stretch or cool off in the stream. The last climb is endless, the world starts spinning, the final descent unrelenting. Isn’t there a squirrel mailbox along here….will I recognize it from last year? Oh..there it is…4 feet high…not subtle at all. Finally the Camp. FINISH!! Really, really want to smile and chat with the Crozet guys. Throw up instead. Crawl to the creek. Soak my legs, cool my core, and recover. Hang out at finish until the bitter end, cheering on friends that feel like family. I love this tribe.
I’ll give myself the next few weeks to recover. Easy runs, spinning out the legs. But…its all about Grindstone. Building the base. Long intervals. Back-to-Back long runs. There are several major changes I need to make personally to support this. First and foremost is to improve the quality of food in my diet. Less sugar, less beer. More kale and avocados (which I love and adore). More fruit (which I really don’t like at all). Second is to be more consistent with strength training…something I was great at last year, but let slip out of my routine in the fall and winter months.
I’m looking forward to pacing Angela at MMT, running Highland Sky, exploring some new trails in Maine and trying to convince my cousin to run a self-supported 50K over 4th of July weekend in PA. I have dreams of a “running camp” in Montebello this August, and an epic Shennandoah run with the gals over Labor Day. It will be a busy summer, but for the first time in a LONG time, I feel ready for the miles and the challenge. Bring it on!