A year is a long time to be working towards a goal - espcially when there’s so many individual milestones to be met along the way. In 2018, ...

Mar 8, 2018

Conflicted on Goals

March - normally by now I've gotten my entire event schedule planned out, with goals for the season. This year has been a little different. I still haven't quite gotten the plan down other then Growler and a few small running races. Part of the problem is there is so much to choose from - a race or fun sounding event nearly every weekend.... And what do I want to focus on? After a year of mostly cycling, should I maintain that momentum so I'm even stronger for 2019? Or maybe a mental break off the long rides and return to some running fun? So many questions.

I find myself torn between sports this year. The riding focus last year was great and really what I needed after the effort of the 50m race. But I find myself seeming stuck in a rut as this year starts - same races, same rides, same trails. While I love the Growler and the atmosphere around that race, I don't find myself looking forward to it right now. And after that, still so undecided. Five would be nice, but maybe something else would be more fun. Unfortunately there's so few races with the chances for night riding anymore and that's one thing I love doing. I know I want to return to my first 100 mile MTB race, but find the motivation for that event lacking. So maybe next year. Maybe. There's a whole host of options if I wanted to skip the night riding, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

While I wrestle with the idea of maybe not really racing my bike much this year, I'm drawn back to some of the running races I missed last year because of my eye. Is it a need for redemption or just something to prove, that I'm still a fast trail runner? That I don't know. Or maybe just that fear of missing out - of not being present last year and now needing to make up for that. I feel like I've lost a little of my spunk running after last year's bike focus and find that the time on feet has been making me very happy so far. I love my bike, but there's something about the simplicity of running. It's been two years since the 50m - long enough for me to forget how much it hurt and start pondering another one!  Maybe. I don't know.

Again, there's so much out there to do it can become overwhelming. I know I need to buckle down, find the events that call to me and then the motivation will come. It might be a return to the familiar, to a cozy start on a bridge in the middle of the night. It might prove to be something completely different.

Mar 1, 2018

Only human

As athletes, we sometimes get caught up in the more then only human mind-set. We are stronger, more healthy and more resistant to things. That's true, to a point. It's also hard to determine when you've pushed past that point until it's too late. Sometimes it's there's a clear line, like an injury - but with most cases it's a gradual build of just not feeling "right."

I'm as bad as the rest of them - both in feeling invincible to illness or injury and then ignoring that something has been holding me back. Back over Christmas Break, I got something - the crud that was floating around. Started out with three days of just miserable sore throat, so bad I couldn't even sleep because any kind of swallowing was pain. The sore throat turned into fatigue and congestion, which turned into severe congestion, unending coughing and fever. I of course ignored all of that, even after spending an entire night awake coughing up crap. I would take a few days off, but not much. And I still wanted to race the Rescue Run 5k. I've never been known to make the best choices....

All through January, with the Winter Series races and my bike workouts, I felt like I was struggling. I had gone from running some of my fastest times on local loops to just feeling run down and tired. I thought I'd recovered enough from the crud, but wasn't sure. Maybe another recovery week... I was still coughing a little, still really tired and not motivated to do much of anything. The Winter Series races felt like hard efforts despite not running that fast and not having any spunk at all. Getting up to pace was a struggle. And on the bike it was even worse. No power at all, with numbers much lower then I was used to seeing - even indoors. What was wrong? Did I need another recovery week? But that didn't help. I would finish the recovery week still feeling exhausted.

Of course, I kept racing and pushing myself. The Game Day 5k was another disappointing race. A solid start and then no energy to bring it home. And with the lack of energy, came the emotional let down. I felt like I was going backward. On a flat course, I should have been able to run faster then at the Rescue Run. Again, the doubts plaguing my mind about what was going on. The third race in the Winter Series was another nail of self doubt. A pace that I should have been able to hold, even with the snowy conditions, was a struggle. The motivation to be there, running was gone and all I wanted to do was go to sleep when I got home. I felt so run down and tired.

Finally, something broke. The rundown feeling developed into a sinus infection - something I've never had before. The pain from the sinus pressure was incredible and I just totally felt like shit. After two days of feeling like crap with sinus pressure, more coughing and slight fever, I finally gave in. Time to go to the doctor. And lo and behold! Rattles in my left upper lobe, not good. Time for a chest x-ray. There was a small amount of infiltrate in the left upper lobe - not much and barely a clinical positive. But combined with the rattles and the fact that I'd been feeling like crap with some low level coughing since the beginning of January, the doctor decided that it was time for some drugs. Of course, I ran the last race in the Winter Series - I'd gotten that far and couldn't bring myself to drop out with just an hour and forty minutes of running left. I gave myself permission to take it easy though, walk when I needed and generally chill out with the sole goal of reaching the finish line. And then it would be time for some solid recovery. Give my body a chance to work with the drugs to clear out whatever's been lurking.

Hopefully, I've learned my lesson for this year. I'm only human and I need to pay more attention to what my body is trying to tell me. With some big events coming up, I have to get healthy. I can't look back at what might feel like a wasted two months from not being healthy. I can only look forward.