Tuesday, May 28, 2013

April: Rebuilding

After my set-back in mid-March, by the last week of the month I was feeling pretty positive that things were better and I'd have a fighting chance at AR50.  March 31st I had an enjoyable 11 mile run before celebrating Easter with my family, including my parents who had driven up from Morro Bay.  By the afternoon I wasn't feeling so hot. It wasn't long before I was vomiting, had diarrhea, body aches, fever, chills, you name it.  I knew this wasn't the same thing as what I had 2 weeks earlier, this was the full blown flu.

My mother, being a mother, wasn't convinced.  She just knew I was training too hard and was destroying my body.  She was truly scared for me.  I had to agree that I was training pretty hard and my body seemed to be breaking down in ways that I wasn't used to.  My diet could always use improvement so I decided to make some changes.

As I slowly started feeling better, I ordered up some supplements from Hammer Nutrition.  I've been on their Daily Essentials before and feel they really do a good job.  On the recommendation of my coach I also added vitamin D and an omega 3 fish oil pill. I've had no further set-backs and definitely feel better since taking the supplements and improving my diet.

However, I still had to get through AR50.  After battling the flu the week before the race, I really didn't know what to expect.  My best time is 10:03 and I really wanted to break 10 hours.  I caught the bus early at the Auburn Overlook and headed to the start in Sacramento.  First thing I noticed when I stepped off the bus was how warm it was.  This was the 4th time I've run AR50 and it was definitely the warmest start.

I started near the front and quickly settled into a comfortable pace.  I decided to just go by effort and not look at my heartrate.  Since I started toward the front I was able to visit with some of my faster friends as they caught up to and passed me.  The first 18 miles went quickly and I felt great.  I went through the Fish Hatchery aid station 20 min faster than my fastest time.  If the race ended there it would have been a great day.  As it was, I still had 32 miles to go.  And that's when my quads started to hurt.

It must have been the pounding on the pavement, my legs just weren't used to it after so much time on the trails.  I passed the marathon mark only 4 minutes slower than my PR and when I pulled into Beals Point I was tired.  Really tired.  My friend Bill at the aid station took one look at me and knew I wasn't doing well.  My whole body hurt and I was exhausted.  I didn't know how on earth I was going to run to Auburn and yet there was never any doubt that I was going to do it.  I just dreaded how painful it was going to be.  Bill talked me through my deep valley, I dried my tears, and started walking.  I walked until I could jog.  And that became my pattern.  Jog when I could, walk when I couldn't.  Stifle the pain.  Dig deep. 

It took a long time and it wasn't pretty.  My body was just so depleted from being sick earlier in the week and then I went out too fast.  When I looked at my HR average after the race I was surprised how high it was.  My body definitely wasn't recovered from the flu.  I walked/jogged the last 3 mile climb up from the river and was so grateful to see the finish line come into view.  I don't know if I was imagining it but it seemed like the crowd was cheering especially loud just for me.  It really boosted my spirits and I was able to run just that much stronger across the finish line.

I felt pretty unsteady and the exhaustion was overwhelming so the EMS personnel sat me down in a chair and talked to me until I was feeling more like myself.  Getting out of that chair was so hard and I just stiffened up more over the next hour or so.  It seemed to take forever to get my clothes changed, get cleaned up a bit, and eat some food.  I also had several emotional breakdowns where I just cried and cried.  It was really amazing how terrible I felt and emotionally drained I was.  I sent my coach an email that said "10:32 finish.  Horrible race.  I'm never running again."  And I meant it!  Of course his response was, "Awesome! Now you know how deep you can go."  The truth is, it wasn't long before I was thinking of all the things that went RIGHT during the run.  My knee didn't hurt.  My stomach was solid.  My nutrition and hydration were good.

After such a wonderful race at Way Too Cool, it was a real disappointment to struggle so much at AR50.  But after my health set-backs in March, it's easy to understand.  My body was struggling.  It was time to regroup.  I canceled Miwok and the WS100 memorial weekend training runs and just trained.  I needed some consistency without tapering for any races.  The rest of April went really well and I found myself motivated and strong.  Things were finally looking up.

April numbers:
Run: 170 mi, 21,100 ft., 34 hours
Bike: 283 mi, 33,000 ft., 21.5 hours
Bike Trainer: 4 hours

There was a definite shift in April to move more toward the run with less emphasis on the bike.  Time to get 100 mile run ready.

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