Monday, February 21, 2011

Finding those climbing legs, nutrition, and thoughts in this "off" season.

I guess, I'm considering this the off season. Although it doesn't look much like it. I've been running 50-80 miles per week. I'm racing some local 50Ks, but I am refusing to let myself get seriously into a training cycle. Okay, the whole training cycle is kind of a joke for me, but for what it's worth, a training cycle usually looks something like - mountainous runs (consistently), good nutrition, and weights to further core strength and climbing legs.

What I'm doing now looks something like this:
  • Mountainous run, whenever I "feel" like it. I live close to the canals and greenbelt system, so it's "easy" to just run here. Let's face it, though, the canals aren't gonna get me up 3K feet in the wee stages of Angeles Crest. This week, I climbed like 8K total. I also live like 15 minutes from two mountain preserves - when's it time to get serious, I need to start getting my butt out there. 20K + per week should be a part of my AC100 training.
  • Nutrition on my runs is not working. I know this. I ran 18 mountainous miles the other day on 2 bananas and an orange, and I did NOT feel good afterwards. I had stomach cramps that nearly sent me to the hospital. To top it off, if I eat like shit during these long runs (and for me this means malnourishing myself), then I eat like shit for the rest of the day. When I get motivated (which needs to be soon), I need to start training with nutrition that WORKS. I'm not ever good at craziness on the nutrition front, but I need more consistency. The run, starve, and binge cycle does not work for me. All fruit does not work for me. Last year, for Leadville, I got really good at nutrition, and I think a mix of fruit and "processed" foods (chex mix) works - salt + sweet.
  • Core Strength and weights. I've always done a pretty "dynamic" weight routine. Two reasons: 1) Dynamic=energy boosting and fun 2) Leg Speed. So, I'm not quite Insanity or P90X, but I incorporate stuff like that. That said, I've gone very non consistent with this. I used to do 3 days a week at 30 minutes a day. Now, I'm lucky to do it once a week. I know this works, helps me hike up hills, helps with stability, prevents injury, but wouldn't you know it, I'm not doing it. Well, all this ends (with the weights at least) THIS week. I can go to the gym, or I can do some stuff at home. I'd still love to own at TRX, P90X, Insanity, or even a 20lb kettle bell, but I have to work with what I got. It's easy. Some nights, after Alexander goes to bed at 7:30/8pm, I veg on the couch for hours. Well, I could get my sorry but up at weight train for 30 minutes. 30 minutes!! Duh! Makes sense.
Common sense all these things are, but still, I don't do them. Why is this? Well, I think this time of year, sometimes all I can do is just run. School picks up, John's busy at work, Alexander is a lovely handful of a 5-year-old, etc. But, I've always done better with more. I like busy. My best accomplishments are the ones that make me feel like superwoman. Clean house, teach, cook dinner, do homework with Alexander, run, spend quality time with John, take dogs out, lift weights, and shower. On days where my list of accomplishments look like this, I feel great. It means I'm a success. I'm not just a runner that sits on their but all day "waiting" to run. I've done it all, gotten everything out of that day, and for that I feel amazing. So, here's to getting that feeling back.

Speaking of feeling amazing, I did the Pemberton 50K a couple of weeks ago (?). It was a night run, and my list of things to do beforehand was a mile long. All day, I cleaned house, ran errands with Alexander, had amazingly severe GI issues, dropped Alexander off at my mom's, and finally finally, I could race. It felt good to do everything while I was fresh, then go running, then go home and sleep (not just nap at 1pm, waking up and feeling useless). The race was alright for me, but some of my GI issues made my energy level really low on lap two. (See nutrition issues above. LOL!). But I clocked a good enough time for third woman - about a minute behind second and seven minutes behind first. If only I was well-nourished! Lessons learned!!
(Pemberton 50K photo, courtesy of Ian Torrence)