Wow! So I just took a look at my race calender and realised to my dismay that I only have 13 weeks of training until the Leadville 100! I must admit that I shuttered a little bit when I realised the short amount of time remaining to train for the longest, most hellish day of my life! I figured that since I have been away from the blogging world for a while I would spare you all the sentimental stuff and give you a little training update. The ups, downs, and honesty of the whole process, so... brace yourselves!!!
Overall, the whole training experience had been a very positive one! I am incredible surprised that I have been able to sustain the miles requires to this point considering that 8 years ago I was told that I was not supposed to run! I have figured out my dreaded blister problem... the agony of de' feet! Thanks to a beautiful little invention called Dry-Max socks, I ran my last 50 with not even the tiniest blister. Dry-Max does not sponsor me but they should now after all of the amazing advertising they are going to get from this blog!
I have also figured out the quadraceps breakdown issue. You see, after running 30 miles or so on brutal terrain and many severe downhills your quads start to feel a little like hamburger roadkill... if there is such a thing. The key to conquering this is to run long on VERY tired legs in your training. Some people would call this over-training and believe me, it is! Training for a 100 mile race is just a bunch of over training followed by some ice, ibuprofen, and a few mental breakdowns.
I am also very amazed at how my body has adjusted to the ultrarunning lifestyle. I have lost 10lbs, which has significantly helped the impact of all of this running on my back and my feet. I have also lost a lot of muscle bulk which I am convinced 7 years of Ironman training has done to me. I also have noticed that I am a much more efficient calories burner. I seem to require around 120 to 150 calories per hour, which is much easier to consume than the 180 to 200 that I have needed in the past. Am I turning into a fat burner... maybe?!
My biggest fear in this whole process is that during the next 13 weeks my body will break down and I will suffer an injury. I must make it clear that up to this point I have not been injured (except for a little foot pain which I will discuss next), but I have also been going for bi-weekly massages, acupuncture, strength training 3 days per week, yoga 3 days per week, spending 1 hour on a foam roller each week, seeing a Chiropractor once per month, and recently a visit to a podiatrist. This Leadville training has been all consuming and very expensive and I sometimes wonder if I should take up a new, much less demanding hobby such as stamp collecting or knitting?
Mysterious pains are very common for an endurance athlete but I have come to figure out how to heal them quite quickly. My knee hurts; ice, stretch, foam roll... cured. Back discomfort; a little yoga, heat, and a chiropractic visit. However recently I have been plagued with a mysterious foot pain which no one can diagnose for me. No, it's not PF, or a stress fracture... a recent visit to a podiatrist confirmed this. When I asked him what it was, he simply told me that it was a little inflammation due to all of the miles I was putting on and, I quote, "your body just might not be able to handle this amount of time on your feet." My first reaction was to say "screw you buddy, if I listened to everyone that told me that I would be a Cheetos's eating couch potato watching old episodes of Jerry Springer!" But... I do have to admit that in the back of my mind I ask myself if I am chasing a dream that is not meant to be mine. *sigh*
So there you have it! An honest little report on the whole incredibly crazy process of training to run, walk, crawl, 100 miles. I will try to revisit soon, for an update or just a little venting as I know the next 13 weeks might just put me over the edge. So... if you see a short, dark-haired girl running down the road foaming at the mouth and cursing up at the sky, just drive on by... it is all just part of the process!