Am I better than yesterday?

It’s been a good while since I’ve written and reflected on things. Still recovering from a hard summer, I enter winter cautiously. Since my last post, I have really dialed-in on my nutrition and supplement game, have been doing a lot of cross training and have been taking adequate time to recover after strenuous activities. It’s only been about a month that I have been back to running any amount that I could call “regularly” and this week was a sort of test of where I now stand.

Monday started my week with a 15 mile run on the Marshall Mesa trail with Nick Combs. I had reluctantly agreed to join him after work on Monday afternoon. My recent average weekly running mileage has been about 6 miles per week. I hadn’t run more than 6-7 miles since pacing Leadville in August and I really hadn’t run anything long distance, that didn’t include some power hiking, since 2015. I decided to run the loop to see if I could. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if I would even make it to the halfway point.

Since I spent so much time laid up inside while I was sick, I haven’t been sure if I could do much of anything long anymore. The prospect of no hiking breaks had me feeling equally exciting and uneasy. So, for the first time in over a year, I ran a straight 15 miles. It felt hard, I wasn’t fast, I hurt afterwards, but I did it. Even if I hadn’t spent the better part of the last 3 months on the couch, I would have questioned my ability to sustain 15 miles of running, with only a quick bathroom break. It was a good morale boost.

The strain of the run on my feet resulted in a mild case of plantar fasciitis, so the rest of the week went by without much more running, until Friday. With a snow storm and negative temperatures promised that night, and waking up with zero foot pain, I decided to get myself up Green Mt one more time before the snow – another test I wished to impose on myself this week. It happened that this day was also the day Kyle Richardson decided to attempt several repeats of Green Mt. I showed up in the parking lot just in time to share in on some amazing cookies and hot cocoa, provided by Abby, with her, Cordis and Kyle. I also was just in time to join Kyle on his 6th, and last, lap of the day.

Kyle, on his 6/6 “greenpeat”

Kyle is much faster than I, and trying to keep up, even on his 6th lap of a 2500 ft climb, was a struggle. I lost him halfway up, but I managed to catch him early on the descent. We enjoyed some good conversation back down to the Gregory Canyon trail head. What I had hoped would be a casual day, ended up being a fun outing that gave me an opportunity to push myself a little harder. It had been a while since I gave it a good push up Green and my Strava rewarded me with a PR on the ascent.

As I now reflect on this past week, while resting and catching up on Game of Thrones with Emily, I find myself in a place of satisfaction. Earlier this year, I was obsessed with pushing my body to get to a level that it wasn’t ready for. My focus was on other people’s Strava records and race splits. I wasn’t concerned with where I stood and only cared about where I wanted to be. I’m now taking more time for self-care and try not to focus on comparing myself to what other people are doing.

My question is no longer “Am I better than them?” Right now, my question is “Am I better than yesterday?” By the looks of things this week, I am better. I am stronger. I am wiser. I am improving. This also includes improving how I rest and recover; how I sleep and how I feel the next day. This week has left me with some mild plantar fascia pain, but I am resting now and will allow my body time to heal before another hard push. I will now take time to thoroughly enjoy this time of year, full of celebration and snow, and return to training in the new year with a new mindset and a new approach. Stay tuned, my friends.

 

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