“Batteries not included”

              Most of us, as adults, have that one thing that keeps us moving. We have the one passion, the one idea the one goal that keeps us moving forward from day to day. For some of us that is something as beautiful and precious as the smile of a child or teaching someone how to read, how to dance…….It is something tangible and for most, those types of goals/ideas/passions make sense. 

         There are a growing number of people however, for whom their passion is an ever evolving animal. When I began playing around with triathlons six years ago, they were my passion. I wanted to be a Triathlete! I trained hard and focused a great majority of my energy on doing what was necessary to at least place in the top ten of my age group…..There was something lacking on my part though. I was, and still am, a two sport athlete. I became pretty strong at the bike portion and did alright for the run – all things considered. That swim though! I jokingly tell people when discussing the topic that I am not a swimmer but a sinker. Well, I am only half joking! You know what? That’s quite alright with me because now I have realized that the purpose of the triathlons was not to make me a great triathlete, rather to re-introduce me to the art of competing (against myself). 

        Yes, yes, I know. We are all competing against one another for something but you know what drives me….competing against the most recent, best version of myself. Hence, the reason why I graduated from running 5 K’s and 10 K’s 5 years ago to running marathons and ultra-marathons in the last 2 years. How far can I push myself? What can I do better/different/faster to make me a better runner? That drive to compete keeps me pushing forward! Am I competing with the woman next to me? Yes and no. Mostly I am competing with the woman INSIDE of me…..

        My “batteries”, the charge I receive, is from an internal need, for lack of a better word at the moment, to persevere – in spite of or perhaps even because of all the odds stacked against me. To explain this to someone who has as their passion something a little less competitive or a little more run of the mill is next to impossible. In fact, if someone had told me 5 years ago that my goal would be to run 100 miles in 30 hours, I would have promptly informed them that they were NUTS! 

      The charge I get from running out on the trail is……..hard to put into words. It’s like, how to do you describe love to someone who’s never been in love or that feeling at 2 a.m when the baby you adore and who simply won’t stop crying, finally does stop crying and lays nestled in your arms? The feeling running brings is like one of those feelings. It’s not about the distance, or the act of running in and of itself….it’s the FEELING. 

   Stay tuned for there is much more to this topic but duty calls…….

Peace

Training…….and Pushing through it

        As I said before, a decision has been made. For me, making a decision means that I set my eyes on some goal or another and then I start to plan how to make it to that particular goal. No matter how far fetched it may seem to others, no matter how crazy they think it sounds…..and sometimes the disdain and disbelief of others is exactly the fire that keeps me moving toward my goal. 

     I am pretty adept at planning things! Reverse management, backwards planning – whatever you want to call it – I like it! It’s pretty simple really: find something I want to do thereby providing a deadline, then break down the steps needed to attain that goal – piece by piece, write down those steps and then follow the plan. Right now the goal is to run 100 miles in 30 hours or less for a race in December!! Yep, I said it……run one hundred miles in under 30 hours (preferably under 24 hours, but that is a dream)!! Sounds crazy eh?

       I CAN and WILL do it……..just because of how crazy it sounds, or at least partially because of how crazy it sounds. Another piece of it is trying to find out how far I can push myself. How far can I run before I can no longer do so? What does it take for me to do it? The deadline is key in planning the process, for without a deadline – there is no push, no hurry and no plan. To plan means, in part, to conduct research. As I was once told – there’s no sense in recreating the wheel – somebody already did that. So, in order to work smarter rather than harder, emulate someone who has already been successful at the thing you want to do. This means doing your research.

    In doing some research I determined that the best way to train for this undertaking is to run most runs using a heart rate monitor and keep my heart rate down in zone 2. (This equates to 119 – 137 beats per minute of my healthy heart!) Sounds easy right? NOT!! For someone who loves the feel of the BURN in her thighs when she sprints 100 yards, running slowly does not come all that easily. On top of that, I have a tendency to try to get from point A to point B in the fastest way possible, so even when I am walking I am doing it quickly.

     Hence, the 10 mile training run I did yesterday took me 2 hours and 20 minutes!! Oh my goodness! Two hours and twenty minutes to run 10 miles…….The good news is – that’s a terrific start! I actually need to slow down a little bit more because about 50% of the time I was running in zone 3 which means I need to slow down to make my body more efficient thereby making my body less tired. 

   Doesn’t that sound backwards to you?!! Boy, it did to me as well! Run slower to make the race easier on your body? What?!! Try it out though and you will see…….run your 10 mile training run SLOWER….guess what happens when you finish? You will feel like you can keep going! Crazy!! Don’t take my word for it though. Go to our handy dandy friend by the name of Google and type in the Maffetone method…….read and be educated! LOL 

   Oh yeah….and helping me to slow down and appreciate the view on my local trails yesterday were deer, roadrunners, lizards and a 15″ in diameter turtle!! 

Until next time………..peace

And so it began…….

           Hell’s Hills 50 K was a turning point in my running. I think a decision had been made that day, only my conscious mind did not know it yet. When you surround yourself with people who live full lives, it begins to make a change in the way you perceive all that is around you. For me, this journey in the land of ultra running started only 22 months ago. The very first time I set foot on the local trails with this crazy group of runners who called themselves, Belton Endurance Junkies. A man by the name of Mark Chandler was the originator of this group of people who ran the trails……..for fun. After 4 years of running the roads – only long enough to be ready for this triathlon or the other and training for several half marathons here and there – I had no idea what I was setting myself up for that first time on the trail.
          I won’t bore you with all the details of those first 30 days spent running the trails but know that a change began the very first time I heard Mark say it didn’t matter that I was slowing the group down and he had to keep coming back for me, because it was “time on his feet” that mattered, not the (very slow) speed in which we were traversing the trail. 
Time on your feet is what matters? What the heck does that mean? What do you mean, the speed doesn’t matter? I remember thinking those questions but feeling too silly to ask them! While my other triathlon friends were talking about this “gu” or that “gu”, I watched Mark inhale corn tortillas mid-way through a 15 mile run, and thought he was crazy…..Yep, those few times on the trail is what started it all!

More to follow…….