March 21, 2014

Spring: Rebirth of Running

Yesterday, I cleaned out a big stack of papers that have been lingering from 2013. Among the pile was a little sheet with a list I made of races I would love to complete in my lifetime. I won't list them all, but they are all ultras to include big names like:

JFK 50 - the race that inspired the ultra itch to begin with but has never been attempted

Leadville - an obvious choice previously but now I'm not so sure I want to run it

Bull Run Run - a race that I've longed to complete ever since I volunteered and BRR in early 2012 and spent time with the awesome members of Virginia Happy Trails Running Club

Hardrock - because I guess I had a death wish when I made this list. I am one of the most terrified people of lightning you will ever meet, and yet I wished to go run this already extremely difficult race, where it's known most years to have thunderstorms at some of the high thank you

Bear Mountain 50M - the 50M version of the first 50k I completed and vowed to never return because it was the most brutal thing I have ever encountered

Muddy Marathon - still thinking it would be an awesome time

I can't recall why I put some of these on my list, other than I was really foolish ambitious at some point last year. It had to have been before my latest 50M attempt in San Francisco, since that seems to be what shattered my running mindset and ruined me for running for the past four months. So much so that I haven't even wanted to go to the gym for the running wods. Sad.

If I get really introspective, I guess I could say that the 50M didn't ruin me, but that I was already ruined before that race. I went into it very resigned to my fate, and frankly just didn't give a damn anymore.

That's not true. I did care and felt that whole spectrum of emotions a runner feels when they decide to pull out of a race.

Disappointment, failure, some kind of sick relief - the kind where you see one of the course's monster hills after dropping and say to yourself 'Boy am I glad I don't have to go up that now!' and then immediately hate yourself for saying it... anyone with me on this?

I'm not going to go down the long disappointment road again...don't worry. Many non-runners don't understand, and I suspect maybe even some runners don't get it. It is usually devastating to me when I have to DNF...which unfortunately has been more often than I would want in a lifetime.

SO. What am I going to do to fix that? I have the Spring training itch that is moving in with the warmer weather and longer sunshine-y days, along with needing to get in shape for the wedding.

I have signed up for a very local half marathon in June to get me going again and I am resisting all urges to be my usual foolish self and sign up for something much longer. I need a plan.

1. Get good at running.

1. Stop being a chickensh*t and actually get out there and complete some runs. Without a watch. For the hell of it.

2. Get faster by doing tabata runs, hills where I can, and sprint intervals. Goal to get consistently under 35 minutes for a 5k (yes yall, I really am that slow)

3. Get a PR in the half marathon, so under 2:40.

4. Reassess progress in a couple months and entertain the idea of a late year marathon, with sights set potentially on a 2015 ultra as either a 50k or 50M. Everyone calm down. I'm going to ramp up properly, and make sure my hip doesn't fall off before I enter into that realm again.

I will admit that lately I've been incredibly homesick for my old running routes. I don't so much miss other things about DC (other than friends and ironically my old job), but damn do I miss the route from my apartment in NW DC down to Haines Point and around on Ohio St, across the bridge and over to Arlington Cemetery...running through Rosslyn. Even more so I miss the Potomac Heritage Trail a stupid amount. I miss the safety I felt out there since I knew the trail so well. Seeing the deer in the ridiculous early morning, getting slapped in the face with spiderwebs because you are the first runner out there. Those trails will always be my first love, and I thought that I would be ecstatic to run out here in the Rocky Mountains, but instead I feel a little hollow on their trails. I loved feeling the green lushness around me and the feel of the ground. You don't get the same atmosphere here. Maybe in time I'll learn to love it, after I get over my fear of rattlesnakes being everywhere.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that a VA ultra is probably highest on my list because I miss it so intensely. Maybe I rematch North Face DC, properly prepared and finally conquer the distance that eludes me on the same course as my first attempt. Time will tell.

Oh yeah, I get new running shoes in the mail tomorrow! Going to try out some Newtons and see how I fair! Pretty damn excited.

Be on the look out for a Couch to 50 Mile Plan - the over a year and a half long edition ;)


  1. i'll be starting back at running in a month or two and would offer you some company to explore the trails. I'm good friends w/ Joe C:) who I believe you know from Crossfit. He can tell you more about me. Feel free to shoot me a message if you are interested.

  2. I would love to do that! We will have to figure something out!



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