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 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.