"Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations. If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won't exist because you'll have already shut it out." -Mae Jemison, astronaut

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Feeling Pumped

I've got some more research reading on the go, but thought I'd devote this post to catching up on what I've been doing in terms of running since the Coburg 24hr race on 5-6 April.

The original plan, which I have commented on before, was to run 12 hours at Coburg and then run the Sri Chinmoy 24 Hour in mid-June. With my best crew away in June, I swapped the plan around. So the plan after Coburg was first to recover, then to see if the body was interested in coming along to a 12 hour party! :)
Running up "Childbirth Hill": Rule is you have to take a rock for the cairn

I messed up the beginning of recovery by over-hiking (very pretty place, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria). I had an aggravated right retinaculum (the band that's like a tensor bandage over our ankle that keeps all the foot tendons sucked down against the foot). It was likely aggravated because I seemed to have developed a subconscious habit of walking, running, and standing around with my toes flexed and pointed up, not relaxed on the surface of the world. (I have now met two others with this odd toe-flex habit). Going for walks after Coburg was helping to get the swelling out of my feet post-race. That's a good thing. BUT, then I went for a BIG hike. Like more than 3 hours. And as the podiatrist informed me later, my particular foot issue would have been aggravated by the gait pattern involved in walking. I would probably have been better to do short runs to get the swelling down! Go figure.

A week after the event, I went out for a 15 minute run. I wore my Garmin. Sounds pedantic, but I knew that if I didn't have a timepiece on me to keep me honest, I'd do too much (Hmmm, how did I get that idea??) It was trails, so that meant I covered 2k. Woohoo! From a one-day max of 238k to a 2k. It was like I'd eaten a mushroom and entered The Land of Running Extremes.

The next day I backed it up with 30 minutes. Then a mix of rest days and runs of about 7-8k. I had to ice the top of my foot at least four times per day. I had a rather large pea in my retinaculum. We all know that icing and other self-care work takes a lot more fortitude than running! My shoes were unlaced from the top row to avoid putting pressure on the joint when I flexed my foot.
The 57k run day. How did we decide everyone had to do a bridge pushup?!

Very disciplined with my recovery, I was running short and with few hills. I was icing, elevating, rolling, going to massage and the podiatrist, and getting needled. Then 3 weeks after Coburg, I went out for a nice 57k 8 hour trail run with 1650 metres of gain. Ummm, that might have to go into the "Addicted Runner's OOPS" basket! That brought the week to over 110k + elevation. A bit of a quick jump, which I was well aware of and the risks that came with it. I ramped up the self-care more and brought the distance back down below 100k for the following week. Consolidate + recover!

And then the following two weeks (we're now into the beginning of May), I ran 158k + 3100m and then 150k + 2330m. Amazed still that I can achieve weeks that are essentially double the mileage of a couple years ago.

I was also back at strength training, looking to try to bulk up a bit. It is an experiment - looking at the legs of a few of our greatest ultrarunners, including females, I saw some pretty big, ripped muscles. So I decided to conduct an experiment on myself.
When ultrarunning ends, powerlifting awaits.

The long hours running plus strength training plus the required self-care routine to manage all this (including yoga, as well) made running almost a full time job for those two weeks. I loved the running and didn't mind the self-care, but it was a LOT to manage. I started back at track, provided the body wasn't too wrecked to take on the speed work each week. I also added another new element to this block of training. Specific to my 12 hour goals, I started doing my long runs on Wednesday and Saturday so that I could do a "short" race on Sunday morning (usually backed up by a short easy trail run later in the day). By "short" race, I mean a road race of 10-15km. Though today's road race was 25k. It is now two weeks until the Sri Chinmoy 12hr, so that's my last long run or race. Wow. Writing it brings a mix of relief and wariness, as I know I will miss long easy trail runs for a few weeks.

Whilst I've had several timed goals to get off my chest this year (6/12/24hr), I admit that the best part of today's Masters Athletics 25k Road Running Championships was the short climbs up and over bridges spanning the river. I'm definitely ready for mountain running season in the northern hemisphere :) The second best part was the event itself, with great views along the Swan River and good competition and camaraderie. The third best part was that it was the final in the 50km Road Running Championships, where the combined 10k RRC, 15k RRC, and today's 25k get added together to give your 50k total. Securing wins in all three races, I also achieved a 50k PB of 3.36.08! Okay, maybe I won't get that in the 50k world rankings, given that it was over 3 events. Pesky details ;)
Masters 10k Road Running Champs (I received the Dot Browne trophy)

In terms of my fitness, my race today suggests I'm on par with my pre-race fitness for the other 2014 events. Strength wise, I have added a cm to my calves (I just happened to know those measurements from getting my Compressport calf guards.) I also have a lot more definition in my arms, abs, and legs, and can lift a lot more weight. Is this a good thing towards my ultra-endurance goals or have I gone overboard? We'll find out. And, lastly, in regards to niggles, my retinaculum has only a small (painfree) pea and my tight tib post has finally let go. If I do nothing stupid now, I should get to the start line with that body ready to party! All night long, since it's a night race.

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