Sunday, August 17, 2014

They said...

They said you weren't built to run you ran 10 of them.

They said to stick with you started running 50K's.

They said, that's you started running 50 mile races.

They said stay you went to Patagonia and ran a 63k, and 8days later ran Twin Cities Marathon.

They said you need a two weeks after that you ran a 55K.

They said you shouldn't go from the rim to the river and back in one day at the Grand you guys went from rim to rim to rim in one day.

They said you can't run 100 miles....

They haven't been right yet...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Learning Lessons

There's a great line from one of my favorite documentaries 180 Degrees South that says 'It's not an adventure until something goes wrong.'  This summer, training for the Superior 100, running has been going very good.  Not getting all the races or mileage that I hoped for at the beginning of the season, but I've stayed healthy, put in some good, challenging runs and overall was feeling pretty confident. 
But then I headed to Afton a few weeks back and suddenly things changed.  The night before I headed out for what I hoped to be a really long day on my feet running trails I was searching for motivation.  I was tired, mentally and physically, been on and off the road a lot and wasn't too far removed from running a trail marathon. 
On my commute home from a game that night I tried to figure out what I wanted to do, run for miles or time, what route should I take, do I have to stop at a store to load up on stuff?  When I got home I hadn't answered those questions, and when I got up and started packing they were still just hanging there, I'll figure it out I thought. 
Threw my hydration pack in my car, my handheld, a pack of shot blocks, gel and some Nunn, made a fruit/protein smoothie for later that I put in my cooler and headed out, still unsure of what that days goal would be...on the drive I enjoyed a cup of coffee, listened to the new Trampled by Turtles album, felt the warm sun and thought 'This will be a great day' but that feeling never really took over, there was doubt in the back of my mind, though I wasn't sure why. 
I never stopped to pick up any food, thinking the bagel I had for breakfast would be enough, as I parked and grabbed my stuff the sun was already glaring down on me, the first few miles down to the creek & back up to the prairie felt really hot and humid.  I made a mental note to drink more fluids then realized I didn't have my salt tabs, add another mistake to the list. 
First few miles went great despite the heat, and then as I climbed to the campground I started to get hungry, ate a gel, drank more water, but the heat was taking its toll.  My shirt was soaked, shorts followed suit, visor was dripping.  Foolishly I thought I had figured out how to stay hydrated, I mean I had run the Grand Canyon earlier this year I knew what I was doing! 
And I did...until I didn't.  In the Canyon we took tons of precautions to make sure we had enough water/electrolytes, food etc.  On a little run in Afton I didn't have those things, sure I had enough water, but I didn't have the salt tabs, I was behind in hydration & there was no catching up, I felt it more on the long, flat stretch that came next, a small stone in my shoe started to make me mad, I was frustrated, mentally I was starting to lose it, I was only 13 miles in when I stopped to get the stone out & realized my day might be done.  
Trying to regroup I hiked the Meat Grinder hill, dropped into the snowshoe trails, the shaded single track usually gets me fired up and focused,  but all I could think about was the hole in my sock my big toe was sticking out of and how hungry I was. 
Made it back to my car, mile 16 the midway point, feeling depleted and spent.  I opened the cooler and chugged the smoothie I had made, it went down but didn't settle easily.  I spent a few minutes in the shade trying to regroup; I was in great shape what the heck was going on?? 
After a few minutes I shuffled back to the trailhead hoping that smoothie would replenish me and things would turn around soon.  They didn't, I power hiked to the top of a hill and hit the meadow, no shade, sun now hammering me, and the tall grass made it humid, no wind to speak of, drinking water and Nunn practically every other step I realized today was not my day.
It was humbling, I got to a patch of shade, looked at my watch, 18 miles, if I turned around I'd be at 20 when I got back to my car, not the day I planned but then again I hadn't planned well at all. 
Shuffling back through the meadow cramps began to crop up in my quads just above my knee.  Not what I needed, feet suddenly felt like ground beef in my soaking wet shoes. 
Just before a big downhill I stopped and sat on a bench, cramps moved up and down through my calves, I could see them just below the surface pulsating.  As I stood up to get moving I got stung by a bee, are you kidding me??  A string of expletives exploded from my mouth, I just wanted this to be over. 
A day that started with such promise ended with me laying on a picnic table in the shade by my car, completely humbled, maybe the Superior 100 was not such a good idea, maybe I should take up golf, can't believe I burned a day off for this terrible run...frustration and exhaustion feeding off each other as I wallowed in self-pity. 
But that's where it ended, as the line from another one of my favorite movies Big Lebowski says 'Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you.'  Today the bar ate me, chewed me up and spit me out, but it wasn't the trails fault, it was my fault.  I didn't plan well, I was arrogant thinking I could just breeze through it, a day like this was coming as I got comfortable with my runs & thought I was smarter and tougher than the much as days like this suck, they are a great reminder to respect the trail and distance every time you step out the door.
My muscles were shot, body more sore than it had been in months as the cramps has just wreaked havoc, I limped around the rest of the day working out what went wrong, what could I control and fix for next time? 
The next day I was back out running, not fast, not smooth, but moving, working out the kinks and planning my next big run, mentally and physically working to bounce back.  Not every day can be a great day, bad days happen but if you plan better and run smarter a bad day can be mitigated to a not so good day, it doesn't have to become a train wreck.