Monday, June 20, 2011

Training to Race

Hi, how the hell are ya...

This is my first post on my personal training blog. My other blog, "Conversations with the Trail" took on a life of it's own this year. I realized it was not a training blog anymore, but more of a place to focus my stories or the stories of others. I will still maintain Conversations with the Trail, but I felt like it would be a great time to share my personal training and racing. I feel this will be a great racing year for me.

This is my 6th year in ultramarathon.  My first few years were a battle between my athletic I a triathlete or am I a trail runner? After finishing two Ironman races, I felt I was no longer challenged by the event itself. My decision was further solidified by ever increasing entry fees for the point I was priced out of the sport.  Triathlon is also expensive for reasons of equipment, i.e. carbon fiber bikes, wheels, tires, etc...

Coming to full terms last year with my identity as an ultramarathoner, I have focused my efforts into being the best ultrarunner I can be. This seemingly simple decision has raised my training and helped me advance upon my previous years. 

The ironic thing is, I have yet to test myself in a race.  The last event I ran was the Western States 100 in June, 2010. The highlight of my ultrarunning career, I was satisfied to just be there and finish in time to earn my sub-24hr buckle. My time was 23:04.

I spend the latter half of the year preparing for a solo charity run called "Run The Coast". I ended up running 281 miles in 10 days.   A personal best, I completed my final mile in complete agony but surrounded by close family and friends, who supported by effort to run for diabetes, a chronic disease which impacts 7 members of my family.

Following 'Run the Coast', I fell into a sort-of running depression. I didn't run for almost four months. I was saddened by things related to my charity run I cannot post here. So I had to stop running in order to find my drive once again. I also had to heal my IT bands, which were completely shot after such a long distance road effort.

This spring, I welcomed the sun and laced up my shoes. My first few runs were quite painful. But, before I reached a full month of training, I started feeling like myself again. This momentum carried forward over several months. And, my acquired knowledge of Colorado trails (moved to Colorado in 2008), allowed me to start exactly where I left off in peak training for Western States the year prior.

Milling about before Western States last year....

Right now, I feel like a caged lion. I am hungry and anxious. I have been training harder and more consistent than any year before now.  My weight has always been an indicator of my fitness, is now at its lowest ever in training.  My body fat is hovering around 6.5 %. Every indicator I have to measure myself against my previous training is telling me I'm ready to compete.

I credit two developments with my current state of fitness. That being Bikram Yoga and vegan nutrition.  With high mileage (90-120mi for me), I previously found myself injured and overtrained. In the past two years, I began practicing Bikram Yoga and 100% plant-based nutrition. These two things allow me to train at very high mileage, avoid injury, and recover in ridiculous time. I call this "the balance."

Half-Moon Pose at Badwater. The temp was "just right"

My first event this year will take place on July 16th here in Colorado. A relatively unknown race called, "The Northfork 50 mile" will serve as my first chance to test my new found strength. I am quite anxious to tackle this event because it serves as the first time I'm planning to "race" an ultra since 2007. My intentions are to leave nothing on the course that day.  We will see...

Until then, I'll continue training and swallowing these blueberries.

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Thanks for your comments to Rise Over Run...I read all the comments and appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts. Run long, eat plants........Jerry