Confessions of an Ultrarunner: I Really Don’t Miss it at All …

Remember this girl?

Yeah, me too. I love her. She is a totally awesome running machine, a 96 pound badass.

She’s resting right now. And honestly, we don’t feel one bit guilty about it.

Or do we?

Last week as I read Mint’s (amazing!) training log, I had a strange mix of emotions. I’ve flirted with the idea of racing a marathon again, and I’m still not sure where I’m at with that. I’m sitting on a pair of 3:17’s that really want to be 3:14’s, and my long-term goal as a marathoner had always been to break 3:10. Back in the day, that was the first men’s Boston qualifier, and it would also represent having taken one full hour off my first marathon time of 4:09. I don’t know that I care to leave the trails long enough to focus on the 3:10, but even just typing that “3:14” got my blood rushing a little. Okay, a lot.

I’ve left tempo runs, Yasso 800’s and dictated long run paces behind to focus on hills, mud and obscene distances. And I do it well, and I did it well for most of the summer. I ran a fantastic race that I’m quite proud of at Burning River, and had the privilege of pacing runners at Mohican, Western States 100 and Badwater. I followed all that up two weeks ago by pacing DB for 50 miles at the Hallucination 100. But the truth of the matter is, I’m done. Right now, I’m just done. And I’m really okay with that.

Getting ready to pace Darris for 50 miles at the Hallucination 100. And after running my own great race at Burning River, I actually had no desire whatsoever to be on the starting line for the full 100.

I’ve gone from running 90 – 100 miles per week (which included three runs of 21 miles or more per week) toย about 65. Sometimes only 60ish. I know that’s still major mileage to most runners, but to me, it’s about half. I’m doing one long run a week with a 13 thrown in here or there. And I’m a couple of pounds softer and don’t have quite the same snap – and I’m really okay with that. Except how do I have more “snap” and energy running 100 miles a week than 60? Oh to be an adrenaline junkie.

And except for Mint’s training log – I’m really okay with that. All around me, fall season marathoners are in peak shape – thin, fit, sinewy and primed – and all I really have to talk about is my standard morning 8. And it feels kind of good right now. It’s kind of nice to get up in the morning, run for a bit more than an hour, and be done for the day. It’s kind of nice not to chase miles, schedule every day around my workouts, have to consistently find 3 and 4 (and 7) hour blocks of time to play in the woods. Though I certainly do miss the woods.

Saltiesย one and all: REST IS OKAY. Rest is GOOD. It is good for you not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. It’s good, once in awhile, to play the old “Venus and Mars” game, and stretch back a little – so you can SPRING back together later. I haven’t fallen out of love with running – we’re just not in that hot-and-heavy, constant flirtation, can’t-get-enough-of-each-other stage of infatuation right now. We’re comfortable together, settled in on the couch watching a movie for a few hours, and then getting on with the rest of our lives.

This is what one looks like 100 miles later. Is it any wonder I don’t miss it right now?

And I’m really okay with that.

Except for Mint’s training log. I can’t deny it. That training log made my old friend “Running” look good. Damn good.

I’ve got a rematch with the Rocky Raccoon 100 this February, which means I’m coming after my old friend “Running” real soon. And we’re bringing sexy back with a vengeance. I’ve got plans for him – him and the raccoon. Big plans.

But I read Mint’s training log last week, and it made me a little homesick.

This is no permanent vacation.

What about you, Salty readers? Are you as dedicated to rest and recovery as training, or do you struggle to take off the running shoes for a month or two each year?

 

Trail and adventure enthusiast. Girl who swears like a sailor but not when she's teaching Sunday School. Survived infertility without a successful pregnancy. Self-employed, primarily working for Clif Bar and Company. Thirteen 100-mile race finishes with seven top 3 placements. An original Saltine.

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4 comments

  1. I just read an article about Bernard Lagat that said that he peaks at 65 miles per week and takes one 5 week complete break from running every fall and then another 2 week break in the spring. Crazy, right? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444032404578006274010745406.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet

    I usually take a week off after a marathon and then a do-whatever week after that before starting back to base-building. Last fall I did that and 2 weeks wasn’t enough. I was sluggy and beat-up even after the 2 week break. But I kept up with my schedule and was on the DL 2 months later. So yeah, this is important. And it’s important to listen to your own body and not what someone else does, a training plan suggests or your coach insists you can handle. Only YOU can really know when you’re ready to get back at it and that’s not even easy to figure out.

    PS I haven’t had a 60 mile week during 2012! My training log is jealous of your training log!

  2. Yes – she is a badass!

    Glad to hear my training log has inspired you. Sometimes that is just what we need as we near the end of our recovery cycles. Typically, I take a full month off after a hard marathon. I’ll still run, but not much and without any schedule.

    I for one would LOVE to see you shoot for 3:10 – do it!! Any way you could make a go at in while training for Rocky Raccoon – or are the training regimens too different?

  3. If I hit 25 miles it’s a big week for me, and I’m relatively comfortable with that. I don’t know where I’d find the time to run much more without making my husband incredibly fed up and my son maybe a little insecure.

    Your analogy about running as a relationship made me think that it sounds like you and running are married now. Not in that crazy infatuation stage, which isn’t really sustainable except on TV, but that deep set, forever love that has good days and bad days but you know you’ll never be without it. And that’s a pretty good place to be.

    But your abs in the first pic were incredible. My abs are jealous of your abs.