What’s Next?

We took my son to a Mavs game a couple of months ago, and had the world’s most obnoxious fan sitting behind us. At one point, she hollered at the ref (like he could hear her from our seats), “What are you? Stupid?” Then she yelled out “S-T-O-O-P-I-D.” My 13 year-old swung his head around and mouthed “she can’t even spell stupid.”

When I think about my next endeavor, that phrase runs through my brain.

Here’s how I got there:

Part of my post Houston race meltdown meant I needed to shift my focus. I’ve been chasing that BQ goal for several years, and I’m coming up short of where I want to be. My journey will continue though. Since my race schedule was wide open after Cowtown, I felt a little lost on what to do next. I made a list of what things I needed to work on, to continue to improve in the marathon specifically. But honestly, it’s easier for me to get out of bed to train when I have races on the calendar. I guess that’s why it seems like I’m always training for a race.

A friend of mine suggested the Danman Challenge. It’s close – maybe an hour’s drive from my home – and it’s free. That’s perfect for this frugal runner. It would also help take my focus off the numbers (paces) for a bit, while I could do keep doing what I love to do – run a lot. The drawback: the distance is a jump from the marathon to 50 miles. It is definitely a new challenge. No fanfare. No medals. Just testing my limits on going the distance – and that seems to be the point of Danman.

I’ve kept it kind of quiet on social media, without really putting out there what I’m planning. Admittedly, there’s a fear of falling short. I’ve never run more than a marathon, and here I’m going to attempt twice the distance – on a trail setting. I’ve been winging the training. Long runs on the roads on Saturdays, long runs on trails on Sundays. Lots and lots of miles. I treated Cowtown as a hard training week, and was running the week after. I don’t know if it’s enough, but I fit in what I could while keeping the household running.

One of my running friends recently asked me what I was training for next, and my answer was “I’m training for stupid.”

But on a serious note, I’m going into this challenge with the mindset that I’m going to complete 50 miles. If I don’t, I’ve already given myself permission to quit when it gets tough.

I’ll come out on the other side either all in for ultra distances, or I’ll be happy to step back to the marathon. I’m sure I’ll find out a lot about myself.

Here’s to being S-T-O-O-P-I-D. 😉

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Summer Break and Loving the Run

Late in the spring every year, I start to look forward to the break from getting kids up and to school. I come up with ideas of all I will accomplish through the summer as I take a break from heavy mileage and marathon training. I imagine elaborate strength training sessions, new fitness activities, and sleeping more. Then before I know it, it’s time to start back to school shopping and I haven’t done half of what I planned!

Somewhere along the way, my mind and body ignored the memo to take a break from early morning workouts. With the decision to train for a triathlon, I needed to focus on my weakness and have been at the pool three mornings a week for lap swim – when they open – at 5:30 am. That means I am rolling out of bed no later than 5. Even on my run days, it’s the time of year where “you snooze, you lose” has a different meaning.

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Either skip an evening run, slow way down and suffer through the heat, or just suck it up and get up early.

I am enjoying the variety in my training right now though.

A friend and I have started a 5k beginner’s group, and we meet every Saturday morning to help them. Our goal is to complete the training for a local 5k on August 15th.

I have done some trail running. Under a canopy of trees, it’s almost like air conditioning. It also helps to have that natural slowdown due to the nature of the trail.

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I have combined workouts and done some “two a days.” Swim, then bike. Bike then run. Swim in the am, bike in the pm, etc…I can almost eat like I’m marathon training. Yay food!

I have built some upper body strength in a big way since I learned how to operate the weed eater.

But the biggest thing I have noticed about all this: I appreciate the run so much more now.

Also, I need real trail shoes.

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Do not attempt to run through sun baked hardened footprints (which were made in the mud).

This week I’m getting ready for my first triathlon on Sunday, and yes I’m nervous. It’s all the details I’m worried about, like being last out of the pool. Oh, and let’s just take a minute and celebrate the fact that I can finally make it from wall to wall (25 meters) without lifting my head out of the water. At least once. Sometimes I can do it twice in a row. It’s that whole breathing thing that makes it hard for me.

But I do want to just go out and have a good time. 300 meter swim, 13 mile bike, and a 5k run. Thank goodness I have the running part figured out. What a busy morning it will be!

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Cross Timbers Trail Run – 5 miler

I decided to do something I’ve only done once before.

I ran a trail race.

I was kind of nervous about doing it so close to Cowtown, (Ack! Is that this week already?) but I had a free registration from volunteering at the Lost Loop last fall. I am a cheap skate, and “free” is something I don’t usually pass on.

I went into it with the intention to take it easy and slow, have fun, and just enjoy the different scenery – and footwork.

I should know myself better than that.

Easy and slow were not adjectives I would use to describe my race.

I fell before the end of the first mile – landed smack down on my handheld water bottle. I guess that kind of cushioned the fall. I was glad I didn’t wear my good tights, because that’s where I wiped the dirt off of my other hand. I’ve never fallen during a race, although I did trip on a root during a training run once, and it was strange to bounce right back up and take off again.

IMG_4371I have to be honest here: there were a few times when I wondered “How the heck am I going to get up (or down from) here?” Tricky spots, steep uphills, and finding roots or trees to help me climb were just a few of the highlights. I stumbled a few more times, almost fell again, and at one point even sat down on a rock to scoot myself down a hill.

It was so much fun!

When I finished the Toughest Little Trail in Texas, I found out I was the second female to finish the 5 miler and 15th overall. Wow!

All 5-milers got a medal!

All 5-milers got a medal!

Other than my burning quads and aching upper body, oh, and the scratches on my leg, I feel pretty good about my race. I wonder how I could do if I actually trained on a trail once in a while. The hardest part for me was not checking my Garmin for my pace.

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On Sunday, I took a nice easy eight mile run to kick off my last long run before Cowtown. I intended on running 10-12, but since the trail was so tough I wanted to play it safe and not push my body. I want to go to the race on Sunday well rested and ready to break 4 hours.

Now, I want to know:

What do you think about trail running? Have you ever done a trail race?