Like a Bigfoot

Motivation, Mindset, Positivity, Endurance, Adventure, Perseverance, and Possibility

Category: Trail Running (page 2 of 5)

Linville Gorge Adventure: How to overcome dehydration and self doubt

Trail running in the Linville Gorge (about an hour east of Asheville) has been a goal of mine ever since we moved out east.  Like a Game of Thrones character this area goes by many different nicknames: the most rugged wilderness on the east coast, the Grand Canyon of the East, or simply the gem of North Carolina.  It is only one of two gorge’s east of the Mississippi and is one of the only hikes around here where you find complete isolation (similar to a hike into the Rocky Mountains).  In otherwords, the Linville Gorge is unlike anything else in the Southeast.

Two years ago I ran my second 50k up some dirt roads on the east side of the Gorge.  It was in a miserably cold rain storm in the middle of December.  A 33 degree downpour where I was lucky to even move my fingers enough to put my gloves on (on the plus side the thought of “getting the hell out of the cold” made me run pretty fast).  As I was running through the fog, I could only see a few feet in front of my face .  I kept thinking to myself “you know, I bet this area is unbelievably gorgeous in nice weather.”  I’ve been meaning to come back ever since.  Sunday night I got the view that was taken from me that day.

Wiseman’s View:

Yeah….the Gorge is beautiful.  I was nearly overcome to the point of tears at what I was seeing.

The next day I met a friend visiting from Iowa and we spent the morning hiking around the Blue Ridge Parkway (Black Balsam Knob, Sam’s Knob, Skinny Dip Falls….all very suggestive names).  That afternoon we met his family and fueled up on breweries and delicious food before I headed back to my campsite at Lake James.

Tuesday morning was my big adventure of the trip.  The plan was to trail run out and back from Shortoff Mountain to Table Rock; approximately 12 miles or, as it will be known from here on out, “the most brutal half marathon I’ve ever ran”.

At 7:25a.m., consisting solely on the previous day’s diet of beer and perogies, I began the run.

The ascent of Shortoff Mountain is probably runnable but, in order to conserve energy, I chose to hike it.  25 minutes later I was at the top where I was greeted by a fantastic view of Lake James.

At this point it was already getting HOT…extremely hot.  And, in classic east coast fashion, super freaking humid.

The next two miles were pretty flat as I traversed the eastern ridge of the gorge on the Mountains to Sea trail.  At times I weaved into the woods where tree branches, thorn bushes, and high grass covered the rocky and rooty path.   (NOTE: all measurements are estimated as I’m too lazy to look up actual distances…your welcome)

The sun was pounding down and dehydration was fast catching up to me.  I had three full bottles; two in the front of my Ultimate Direction pack and one stashed in the back and I was determined to be very conservative on the first half of the run.

Eventually I descended to Chimney Gap and began the climb to the chimneys.  This was the climb that almost broke me.  No tree cover meant that the steep trail was SCORCHING HOT.  Instantly I was soaking wet….my clothes felt like I had just stepped out of a pool.  All this sweat means I’m losing A LOT of electrolytes and tons of water…I need to rehydrate soon.  I chugged a half bottle of water and fought off the voice telling me to turn around.  This mountain will not beat me today became my mantra as I huffed and puffed up the hill.

I love these moments.  When you have to conquer that inner monologue.  Your brain stuck in that negative loop as “doom watch 2016” has taken over and you are stepping into battle with that part of your brain.

I haven’t always been good at battling my own negativity.  Doom and gloom mode has emerged victorious many times before.  “Pre-adventure seeking Chris” would have turned around, whereas over the last few years I have discovered that my body is can push past obstacles that my mind deems too difficult.

This is why everyone NEEDS to create these mini-adventures- self understanding.

You will improve by leaps and bounds once you challenge yourself into tough, grinding, brutal situations.  Step outside your daily routine and find these challenges.  They will be uncomfortable…even miserable at times, but seeking that is a GOOD THING.  These situations will help you discover what you are capable of!  And at the end of the day you will look back with a smile thinking “I can’t believe I almost gave in…what was I thinking??”

At the Chimneys I ran into an Outward Bound rock climbing group who informed me that “no there is no running water at the Table Rock Picnic Area.”  Good thing I was being conservative.  Once I got to my turn-around at Table Rock I chugged a half bottle of water and began to retrace my steps.

It was a tough two hours (and only 6 miles) to the halfway point so I took a few minutes to rest and appreciate the view (and chow down some Honey Stinger Gummies).

The way back was beyond challenging but pretty uneventful consisting mostly of me bargaining with myself…”Okay if you run for the next 20 minutes than you can drink a half bottle of water.”  This helped fight off the dizziness of dehydration as I dragged my scratched up smelly body through the mountains.

I made it back to Shortoff and finished my water.  The last mile was a downhill quad burner that seemed to go on forever.  Two things kept me going: the dream of sandals and of pouring a bunch of cold water all over my body.

10 minutes later I got both of those things.

I was a happy boy.

Throughout the 4 hours (my slowest half marathon!) I faced self-doubt, dehydration (my pee was almost brown by the end), and the fear of isolation in the wilderness.  Make no mistake about it this was mental toughness training as much as it was physical body training.  Overcoming those challenges made me BETTER.  I drove away from the Gorge BETTER than I was 4 hours before.

That’s why we have adventures.

The Well Thought Out and Intensely Researched Key to Endurance Racing.

I truly believe anyone can run an ultra, bike 100 miles, complete a stage race.  ANYONE.

But you have to understand the secret.

The key to endurance racing…..

 

 

 

…..ready for it?

 

 

 

EAT, DRINK, and BE MERRY

If you do those three things you will finish.

Learn what fuel your body needs.

Learn how to stay hydrated.

And smile through the tough times.

 

It’s simple.

 

Also, I just discovered the show Boundless and am so stoked to binge watch all the episodes.  This one is on youtube and will probably confirm my “eat, drink, and be merry” theory.

Grayson Highlands 50k Race Report

First of all, if you live in the southeast (Georgia, Carolinas, or Virginia) you should sign up for a Run Bum race IMMEDIATELY.  What I look for when I sign up for an ultra is adventure.  That’s my number one priority.  I want well designed courses, fun people, a kick-butt challenge, good food, but most importantly- BEAUTIFUL TRAILS.  The race needs to take my jaw drop by showing me touring me through a stunningly gorgeous place I have never been before.  I want some badass views, waterfalls, cliffs, weird animals, and so on.  At some point during the race I want to feel like I’m Indiana Jones lost in the middle of some crazy wilderness.

I think “Run Bum” the race director gets this.  He must value the same experience.  Sure, the “racing” aspect is tons of fun, but its everything else that makes an event memorable.  

I’ve participated in three of his events (Quest for the Crest 10k, Quest for the Crest 50k, and Grayson Highlands 50k).  All three have been unique experiences that have taken me deep into the wilderness, shown me AMAZING views, and have treated the event more like an adventure than a standard race.

SIDE NOTE: Quest for the Crest in Asheville will legitimately destroy your body, mind and soul (if you are in to that sort of challenge)…seriously, it took an hour to complete the first three miles (3,000 ft elevation gain).

Run Bum events have become my favorite races of the year.

The Grayson Highlands 50k was no different.

My friend Travis (“Uncle” Travis to my two year old) flew out from California on the back of the promise that he will witness THE BEST VIEWS IN VIRGINIA in which Grayson Highlands happily supplies.

Unfortunately we consumed by a cloud during the section of our race that would have been nothing but amazing views for 3 hours…  Fortunately, Travis and I went hiking the day before to check out the course.

Long story short: We ran into some Longhorn Steers that were grazing in the National Forest, we got scared after imagining them running around with their giant horns gored through our limp bodies like marshmallows over a campfire.  We scurried back down the mountain looking over our shoulders every few seconds only to see the bulls slowly following us.  Eventually we made it to the flimsiest gate thinking this chicken wire will surely stop a one ton beast and felt safe again.

To be fair (and to keep our man cards) I was wearing a red coat…. to be even fairer, we found out later that the whole bulls hating the color red was just mumbo jumbo.  Man cards revoked.

We stayed in the loft of a barn in Healing Springs, North Carolina.  In the early 1900s this was a popular destination due to the spring water’s mysterious healing powers.  Needless to say we drank gallons of healing spring water, while high-fiving, and assuming that it would protect us from the punishment of a 50k (it did not…though it was delicious!)

Race Day:

We woke up freezing cold at 4:45am (barn loft=no heat), packed our bags, and drove to the starting line.

Travis had never run a 50k before.  In truth he isn’t much of a runner nor did he train super hard.  Neither of us were worried though.  I’ve known Travis for years and he’s the kind of guy that says he’s going to do something and then goes out and gets it done.  He’s also a stubborn SOB.  His exact quote was that he would finish “even if I have to drag my cold dead corpse across the finish.”

Although I hoped that he wouldn’t die, I couldn’t wait to see him attempt to painfully shuffle around the next morning for no better reason than to please my own twisted sense of humor.

We ran together for the first half mile and then went our separate ways at our own pace.

I saw him at mile 24 for me and 18 for him.  He was looking pretty good – still energetic, smiling, and moving foward (the three aspects of a good race). I’m always impressed with Travis when he goes “mindless mode.”

The race itself was awesome.  Here’s a couple highlights:

  • We ran by the famous Grayson Highlands ponies.  They are pretty awesome and not as scary as the Longhorns.
  • Speaking of which, everyone ran by the Longhorns.  I wasn’t as scared this time because I only had to outrun one other person to be safe….
  • As previously mentioned, we were stuck in a cloud in what would have been the most beautiful part of the race.  I was cool with it because just two days earlier one of my students asked me “what would it be like to be in a cloud?”  Well here’s the answer “wet…and you can’t see very well.”
  • The aid station at the old cabin was AWESOME!  This might be the only trail race in which you run through a cabin.
  • The out and back was fun.  You went straight down a mountain, then up a mountain (as I so terribly describe to Travis in the video), then back down said mountain, and then STRAIGHT back up the mountain.  It reminded me of the good old times had during Quest for the Crest 50k.
  • Towards the end, you rounded a corner and saw the finish line.  “Yay I did it!” every single racer thought until they were quickly informed that they still had a mile and a half loop to go.  It probably had the best view though…so totally worth it.
  • BBQ at the finish line= spectacular!
  • The other racers = amazingly nice people! (One of my favorite parts of Ultras are all the awesome people you get to hang out with)

I finished in 4:53 which I was pretty satisfied with since I was shooting for under 5 hours.  My muscles and joints felt pretty good and I did not have to make any trips to the woods this time so my change in race nutrition seemed to work out!  Yay!

Travis finished like a champion!  We ate some BBQ, waded in a cold river, ate some burgers, drank some healing spring water, ate some spaghetti, played some SCRABBLE, then fell asleep.  The next day he had to shuffle his beaten and broken body down the stairs….it took at least 5 minutes…am I bad friend if I say that I found it hilarious!

 

Overall, it was a great experience!  These adventures keep me inspired, keep me healthy, and most importantly keep me happy.  Can’t wait for the next one!

Recovery Month

It’s been one week of absolutely no running.

NO RUNNING….AND I DID THIS ON PURPOSE…

AND I SURVIVED!!!

It has been a strange week.

It’s going to be a couple of strange weeks.

I’ve officially put myself on a running hiatus after training for and participating in two 50ks in the last few months (Holiday Lake and Grayson Highlands).

Basically, I’ve been in training mode since December and need a month off for mental and physical health.

One of my life goals is to stay a lifelong athlete. I need competition in my life. I always want to be competing because competition brings me joy, purpose, a reason to stay healthy, adventure, inspiration and so much more.

Also, I never want to lose my “super power” of being able to run up mountains like a freaking goat.  To keep this ability sharp I have to avoid overuse injury.

To be a lifelong athlete, it is important to take time off.  Not time off from being active, mind you, just time off from trail running.  This allows the body to recover and the mind to relax a bit.  So until June I am not signing up for any future events (beside a few backpacking trips I’m planning).

Instead for the month of May I’m doing two things:

  1. Focusing my running muscles and joints on recovery
  2. Expanding my horizons in different activities

I’m going to be doing much more yoga, bodyweight training, biking and swimming (if my face doesn’t swell up like the StayPuff Marshmallow Man again).

I’m not going to be in “training mode” per se so I won’t be on as strict of a diet or a training regime.  This doesn’t mean I won’t eat healthy most of the time, but it does mean that if someone offers me some cheesecake you can bet your life I’m not turning it down (and I’ll probably ask for seconds…sue me).

This is going to be a fun FUN month.  I’m looking forward to trying some new activities.  And I’ll make sure to report on my adventures (hopefully none involving face-planting on the bike)!

(Also I owe you guys a Grayson Highlands report which I promise I’ll post sometime this week…less training also equals more writing)

SIDE NOTE: I am signed up for a trail series in my town that I will be participating in once a week.  Each Wednesday in May about 45 people will run a 4-6 mile loop on the trails.  Times will be updated every week until there is an overall winner (think NASCAR for trail runners).  I’ve skipped it the last two years and wanted to make sure I signed up this year….though I probably won’t be competing too hard.

Recovery Mode

Recovery week.

So far I’ve eaten the food.  ALL THE FOOD!

I’m taking a week off from the whole eating healthy and exercising routine.  Everything is fair game.  Burgers, Pizza, Reese’s, Cookies, Ice Cream.  Is it bad for you?  Fair game.

Let’s be fair…I won’t go completely off the deep end.  I’m like the kid in the pool who’s on that weird slope between the shallow and deep parts.  I’m still going to eat my normal healthy stuff for breakfast and lunch.  But dinner and dessert is going to be guilt free.

I need this.  After a big event I must hit refresh: physically AND mentallly.

Physically my body needs rest.  I’m trying to promote recovery through gentle activity like hiking, yoga, slackline, and very light weight lifting.  Just no running (more on this soon).  Active Recovery.

Active recovery is the best.  It will heal your body faster than just plopping on the couch like a slob.  (Even though you may want to after an ultra)

Mentally, my mind just needs to take a step out of training mode, a mode I’ve been in since the end of December.  I’m not fretting over nutrition (at least not to the extent I do during training) and I’m spending less time exercising and more time on one of the many other hobbies I would love to learn.

Stepping out of routine can be a good thing.  Especially after establishing the discipline it takes to easily jump back in.

Recovery mode is hard for someone who is constantly in athlete mode but YOU HAVE TO DO THIS for the health of your body and to sustain your career (aka avoiding over-training syndrome- read this fabulous article from outdoor magazine)

So the next few weeks are going to be different and therefore difficult but if I can run long distances in the mountains, I can surely recover in a smart way!

Thanks for reading!  Happy Tuesday!

P.S.- My recap from Grayson Highlands should be up sometime this week.  Check back!

50k Advice to a First Timer

My friend Travis is currently sitting in an airport awaiting his flight to Virginia where he is going to willing put himself through pain an agony for 31 miles.  He’s never ran a 50k before but is prone to crazy events that push him past the edge of comfort.  He is one of the most mentally tough people I know (i.e- dumb enough to never quit)

His only marathon was in college when he asked his sister to “drive me 26 miles out of town and I’ll run back.”  At about mile 20 he realized “huh, probably should have packed some water…”  At mile 22 he realized “huh, probably should have brought a map.” Lost and dehydrated he finally made it to a gas station around mile 26, called his sister, and admitted that he was lost and asked her to pick him up.  He physically could have handled an ultra marathon back to his dorm but it was getting dark and the dude is the worst person I know at directions.  He would have, most likely, been out there for days.

Oh yeah…he did all this just months after getting his achilles tendon reattached due to a football injury.

The dude is tough.  I’ve seen him go into “mindless mode” hiking 14ers, fight through cramps like the Terminator in adventure races, and puke on a offensive lineman in football (I don’t know why that last one is important…but the visual still makes me laugh…to Travis’s credit his opponent lost all will to play football for the rest of the game)

Although he’s a tough guy, I’m curious to see how he responds in a 50k.  So much of it is learned through experience.  Figuring out what to eat, how to stay hydrated, and how to stay one step ahead of fatigue.  First timers usually struggle a bit with these until they figure out what works for them and their bodies.

I told him I would write this article and give him a few little tricks that will help him have a successful race.

  • Tip #1:  Keep moving forward

At the end of the day an ultra is that simple.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other until you eventually cross the finish line.  You can run, walk, limp, crawl, whatever as long as you are keeping forward momentum.  All that matters is forward progress.  You will get there.

Travis has already promised that he is getting across the finish line “even if you have to drag my cold dead body.” So he already has the ultra-runner trait of pure stubbornness working for him.

  • Tip #2: Eat early and Keep eating

Consume calories early!  Consume calories often!  This should be his mantra.  Eating food in the first few miles feels really weird.  “I don’t need this yet!”  But if you want to be successful you have to stay one step ahead of the inevitable bonk that comes from calorie depletion.  Keep supplying our body with energy!  This is of the utmost important.  Eat when you’re not hungry…especially when you are not hungry!

  • Tip #3:  Take a moment to appreciate what you are doing

Enjoy the view, celebrate the energy of the other competitors, laugh at the bizarreness of the event.  Heck maybe you can appreciate the fact that for one day only you have NO RESPONSIBILITIES except taking one step and then another.  We are so busy in life.  There’s always a billion things going on, so many responsibilities all the time.  But in a long race, all of that fades away.  Appreciate that!

  • Tip #4: Buy running shorts

I’ve preached the beauty of running shorts for YEARS to this man and he refuses to listen.  I do not know what biases he has against running shorts, but the dude needs to get over it and purchase some.  If only he would try them out his eyes would be open to their amazing anti-chafing qualities.

  • Tip #5: Make friends

Find someone running around your same pace and talk to them.  Be social.  They could be a key contributor to your ultimate success.  If they are experienced ultrarunner they will be able to share great advice that could help you get across the finish line.

  • Tip #6: Set small goals and small rewards

“If I make it to the next aid station I will allow myself to listen to a kickass song.”  “When I hit ten miles I’m going to let out a primal roar!” “If my pee is clear, I will do a little dance.”  Silly little rewards keep the race fun and will help the time fly by.

  • Tip #7: Smile

Smiling releases endorphins.  Endorphins feel good when you feel like shit.  It’s science.

  • Tip #8: Recovery stream

Find a freezing cold stream and sit in it at the finish line (or during the race….or just dip you foot in it).  It will help your muscles recover after the destruction they just faced.

There are probably a million more tips I’m forgetting but will share with him on the drive to camp tomorrow.  I will be back sometime after to share the story of our adventure.  It’s going to be a great time!  RunBum puts on some of the best races in the Southeast.  Check him out if you are out this way!

Tapermode

Four days out from the Grayson Highlands 50k and I’m in full taper mode.

If you are not an active competitor in endurance races a taper is essentially the few weeks leading up to a race where you lighten the work load.  You take slowly take it easier and easier until (a few days before the race) you do nothing at all.

Everyone is going to taper differently because everyone’s body responds to stress, exercise and relaxation in different ways.  I always suggest experimenting with a few different tapers over a few different events to find out what works for you.  (I’m still trying to figure this out for myself)

There’s a billion websites out there that will give you specific taper strategies (this is not one of them!)

That being said a taper is a necessity.  Especially before your big race.  Without tapering you are facing the fearsome duo of overtraining and injury.

I’m still experimenting to find out what works best for me but I’ve been following this basic idea:

 Gradually ease up on the running workload and focus more on flexibility and nutrition.

  • Four weeks ago I completed my long run of 22 miles. (Usually I would do more but I am already mostly trained from the Holiday Lake 50k in February)
  • Three weeks ago I cut out any long run over 10 miles, eased up on my strength training, started focusing on yoga and movement, and (sadly) ate my last pizza and (even more sadly) drank my last beer.
  • Two weeks ago I stopped any intense (speedy) running, focused more on slow easy miles to keep the body loose, cut out any food that is “bad” for me, focused all strength training on higher reps with lighter weight, and began a routine of cold showers to promote recovery.
  • This week I’ve ran two slow flat training runs (to keep the legs loose), did some gentle yoga classes, went for a few hikes and practiced active recovery.

ACTIVE RECOVERY= Hikes, Slackline, Bodyweight Movements, Yoga, Super slow jogging, Walking.   Really it’s anything that keeps the body moving and loosens up your muscles.

What I’ve learned in this round of Tapering:

  • You need Hard Rock to get through a 5 minute freezing cold shower.  My favorite is “Calm Like a Bomb” by Rage Against the Machine.  You will suffer….but at least suffer with a little bit of rage.
  • Walking around DC with a two year old is enough to wear out even the most in shape ultrarunner.
  • You won’t be really good at Slackline right away.  I keep visualizing myself as Rocky at the beginning of the montage when it comes to slackline skills.
  • Nutrition is still hard to nail even if you are now experienced in endurance training.  Dessert always looks so delicious!
  • I sweat way more during a yoga class than I do going for a run.  It looked like rain was falling off my face.  Oh yeah, I smelled pretty bad too…

That’s all for today!  If you feel as though you are lost or have not accomplished anything of worth lately than I suggest signing up for an event or begin to plan a trip.  It’ll give you something to look forward to and more importantly something to train for!

Happy Wednesday!

Grayson Highlands 50k (one and half weeks away)

Picture from my first visit to Grayson Highlands- Summer 2013- Studly dude= Jake Reed

One week out from the Grayson Highlands 50k and I’m finally falling into my plan of attack.

Usually I get really focused on diet about a month before a race, but for whatever reason I have not nailed this aspect of training this time.  I’m curious to see if this comes back to bite me on the ass.

But for this last week and a half I’m on track!  I promise.  (Even though I’m going to D.C. this weekend where I’m assuming delicious not-so-healthy-food exists on every corner)

Here’s the plan for the next week and a half:

  • Thursday (today): Eat clean whole foods, run 4 miles, light squats and pullups
  • Friday:  Eat clean whole foods, run 6 miles, various body weight movement exercises
  • Saturday: Rest day, wander around the national zoo in D.C, eat salads (or something lame instead of all the junk I’d rather have), 15 minutes of yoga
  • Sunday: Eat a big beautiful brunch, find an awesome trail to hike/run on the way home from D.C.   (I’m driving back by myself while my wife and daughter vacation for a few extra days), recovery yoga
  • Monday: Eat clean whole foods, light squats and pullups, 4 mile trail run at a SLOW pace
  • Tuesday: Resist the temptation to consume ALL THE PIZZA and eat an omelet or something boring, 5 miles on flat pavement to keep the legs loose, body weight movements
  • Wednesday: No more running, recovery yoga, eat a GIANT MEAL of healthy food
  • Thursday: Pick up the man, the myth, the legend Travis Steffen (who is running his first Ultra with me) and proceed to carbo load and consume a crap-ton of pasta and bread
  • Friday: Move just enough to keep the body loose, drive to Grayson Highlands, look at the wild ponies
  • Saturday: Race day!!!!  I’ll write more this week on the advice I’m giving Travis before his first 50k.

After looking at the game plan, it seems that I have plenty of time.  Looking forward to dominating this week in order to have a successful race day!  Happy Thursday!

How Ultrarunners can Maintain Happy Relationships

Over the last few weeks my training has ramped up in preparation for the Grayson Highlands 50k (hopefully one of the prettiest races in Virginia).  That means added stress on my body, my mind (from not eating pizza) and most importantly my wife.

Ultrarunning adds many positive things to people’s lives- helps them stay in shape, shows them what is possible, demonstrates what they can overcome, makes them feel like a badass (complete with the superpower of running long long distances), etc, etc, etc.

But if you aren’t careful the negatives start to reveal themselves.

Specifically in relationships.  Countless families have probably suffered due to obsessing over this crazy sport.  I’m sure divorces have happened because one member places “running” above “making the other happy.”

I’m grateful to say that this isn’t the case in my household.

Ultimately I’m a husband/father first and an athlete second….and a wannabe chef/rock god in a very distant third.

These are a few strategies I use to follow the classic advice “a happy wife= a happy life.”

  • Involve your family- Invite them to your race.  Aid station volunteers, crew, post-race activities are all great ways in involving your family the day of the race.  The ultrarunning community is THE BEST and I highly suggest exposing your family to the other fantastic people you meet during a race.  My wife really enjoys hanging out at the finish line chatting with the other runners’ crew members.  Although she isn’t a runner, now she gets one of the reasons I love ultrarunning so much- the super cool people you meet.

 

  • Family time can mean training time– Hiking with your kids is just extra training.  Playing with your family after a long training run is just “overtime”.  Family time can be an opportunity to put in extra work.  Ultrarunning isn’t all about running, so do yoga with your kids, have them help you with foam rollers, go for walks or bike rides.  Your family might not be able to do your training runs with you, but all the other stuff counts,  so play with your family as much as possible and you will ultimately achieve extra training.

 

  • Wake up early- I mean EARLY.  Freakin’ early!  Man up and set the alarm for the tear-inducing early hours for your long training runs.  I usually do a 4am Saturday morning.  Running through the pitch black woods might be cold and scary but it’s a necessity in my training cycle.  Training for an Ultra takes time and it is important to prioritize your family before yourself.  So get up and run before sunrise (it’ll give you that much needed “night running” practice), have some extra coffee and spend the rest of your day with your family and friends.  You will enjoy the your day even more knowing you’ve already knocked training off the to do list.

 

  • Skip a training session– If something important comes up, skip training.  Family is more important and skipping one day is not going to hurt you.

 

  • Support your significant other’s passions– An eye for an eye.  They are supporting your goals so you have no excuse not to support whatever interest they have.

 

  • Be nice…even when you are bonking– They didn’t choose to run an ultra.  You did.  Have integrity to put their feelings above your own, especially when you are feeling like complete shit.

 

  • Smelly hugs are the best hugs– Don’t shy away from giving them a gigantic gross sweaty hug at the finish line.  You’ve been waiting a long time for this moment, they’ve been waiting a long time for this moment too.  Share your joy with them.  It’ll probably be the best hug ever!

Hope this advice helps!  Remember family always comes first.

The Path

At first running a mile was hard…my back ached…my feet hurt…my lungs were heaving.

Then it wasn’t.

Then running 3 miles was hard…I would put on rock music to try to distract myself from pain and misery.

Then it wasn’t.

Then 10 miles was hard…around this time my body would run out of fuel…my ribs hurt…my back cramped.

Then it wasn’t

Then 20 miles was hard…

You get the point.  Of course starting off was hard.  You have perceived limits.  Your body hasn’t adjusted to the discomfort.  It takes months, if not YEARS, to adjust.  If you are a new runner you shouldn’t be intimidated by these challenges and you definitely should not expect to be a gazelle right away.  It’s a process.  It’s something you have to adjust to.

One day, without warning, you will go out for a run and realize “holy crap! I actually enjoy this.”  Running will become a relaxation.  It will be WONDERFUL!

That day is in the future for you new runner.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Be consistent (show up) and persistent (don’t stop showing up).  This is the path you must take.

Happy Tuesday!  Hope you get outside and enjoy the day.

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