It was important to me to recover properly from Boston for lots of reasons, one of them of course being that I wanted to be in shape – physically and mentally – to run my 50 mile race and remain injury free and NOT burned out. I ran a strong but conservative race in Boston, executing it exactly as I hoped I would and really having such an amazing experience there. Up until I crossed the finish line of Boston, I was so focused on that race and didn’t want to put any thoughts of 50 miles in my head until that goal was accomplished.
I took the first two weeks after Boston very, very mellow – not running at all for the first 8 days. A soul-cleansing and heart-opening trip to the mountains of Whistler, Canada for the lululemon Ambassador Summit (an experience which I really really REALLY need to write about – it impacted me so deeply) came exactly one week after Boston and really gave me such a renewed perspective and fresh outlook on so many things in my life, including my approach to running.
|first run after Boston – a trail run in Whistler!|
When I got home, it was time to shift my focus to 50 miles. I felt recovered from my marathon. My body was healed and I was itching to run fast and hard, but I knew the priority needed to be on maintaining my fitness and on teaching myself to control my pace (as in RUN SLOWER) so that I could accomplish my goal of running 50 miles without getting injured.
I love setting goals and going HARD after them, but the BIG PICTURE is always the most important thing to me.
Running is a huge part of who I am – it makes me feel healthy and strong and alive and connected to myself. It gives me energy and strength and opens me up to my joy and to all of my life’s possibilities. If I run myself into the ground, pushing as hard as I can all the time, it will defeat the whole purpose of me doing it in the first place. I need to be in tune with my body and to learn when it’s okay to push and when it’s just plain foolish.
Training for 50 miles after my fastest ever marathon, even when I ran it conservatively, was NOT the time to push my pace.
Every day when I went out to run while training for the 50 miler, I had to remind myself to switch gears. My running buddies helped me with this A LOT, ever so politely telling me to put on the brakes and slow it down when I would get carried away with myself and lost in the moment (this may or may not have happened frequently, especially in the beginning). The trails have a way of doing that to me – the beauty around me takes me in and I just sort of forget I am even working. Trail running feels almost like a different sport to me.
|so much beauty|
At times I felt so antsy, missing and even yearning for that feeling of depleting myself to fill myself back up again … and I often caught myself feeling anxious to be on the other side of my 50 mile race because I was so ready to train hard again, so excited about the fall marathon training season. But I knew I needed to reign those feelings in because I didn’t want to squander the moment I was in, and because I knew that the time would come when the time would come. And if I was smart, I would be SO much more than ready when it rolled around. Setting myself up for good things.
So here I am, almost 3 weeks since my first ultra and about a month to go before it’s time to start training for my fall marathon (Richmond). Somewhere between recovery and training. It isn’t a bad place to be, this in-between place. It’s a pretty sweet spot, actually. Most days, I run easy and chat with my friends as the miles fly by and I enjoy catching up with them and savoring the simple act of moving and feeling alive, doing something I love so much. Other days, I choose to push myself and run some faster miles. I love those days because I have really really missed them and they remind me of what I am made of deep inside. I haven’t yet done any official speed workouts, no real tempos or track intervals, but I can feel the speed returning to my legs and my determination and heart swelling up inside of me. Nothing is really structured at all and it’s a liberating and hopeful feeling.
For these next few weeks I will stay in this in-between place, running because it is what I do and it is who I am.