So I made it through my toughest running season relatively unscathed. I dealt with a few issues that required I scale back my training at times and simply stay in recovery mode between races. I tried to listen to my body and yet try to continue making progress throughout. It can be a tough balancing act and for the most part I think I managed it fairly well. However after my last race I took a short recovery period and as the beautiful fall weather beckoned me to hit the trails I did so with mid season vigor. This was to be a mistake. Soon I began feeling some discomfort in my ankles but I ignored the warning signs and kept running at a hard pace. Ultra runners as a group develop a high pain tolerance out of necessity. To be able to compete in long grueling races that can take 5,15 even more then 24 hours one has no choice but to toughen up. To learn to push through physical and mental pain comes with the territory. Once the pain in my ankle became severe and it swelled up I could no longer ignore it.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Pushing forward would have potentially brought on a more severe injury. So as I now take a break from running I’ve been contemplating what one can do to avoid such pitfalls. Much of it seems like common sense you read and hear about from various running sources but it’s always good to remind oneself of these guidelines. Here is one such article from Irunfar.com.
Recover Better: 10 Rules For Optimal Ultramarathon Recovery By Joe Uhan.
With the completion of the Waldo 100k race my tired body will get a rest from any more long races this year. This race was my third 100k race of 2015. The Gorge Waterfalls 100k being the first and Quick Silver 100k the second. If I include The Siskyou Out and Back 50 miler I completed my own personal grand slam. Not even close to the Grand Slam of Ultra Running which entails running four tough 100 mile races in one year, but I am proud of my own accomplishment regardless. This being just my second year running ultras I almost bit off more than I could chew. But that’s what drives many of us who run these challenging races. To test ourselves physically and mentally. To see what are limits are.
Trudging up a steep, rocky section during the Quicksilver race. So fun!
I’ll spend the coming months reviewing how my races went and try to figure out what went well and what didn’t. For example was my fueling strategies adequate, how was my running pace, do I need to concentrate more of my training on hills etc. It is a good time to reflect not just on the past year but also what the future may hold. I will start considering what races I may try to get into for next year. Two races on my bucket list are Western States 100 miler and the Lavaredo 119km in The Dolomites of Northern Italy. The stars will need to align just right to make either of these happen, but who knows. That’s the fun part of race planning. Imagining oneself taking on even greater challenges in new locales.
The Dolomiti along the Lavaredo ultra trail.