Considering that I started the year with 100.78 miles at Across the Years, I'd say things went well this month.
5 days after the race, I was out running again, albeit slow and not that far. Still, this was a major improvement from my last ultra, when I got injured and couldn't run for 8 weeks. My legs felt weird during my first run after 100 miles. Kind of like when I was a kid and we would play this game where you had a friend on either side of you, pressing your arms against your body, while you pressed as hard as you could against them. Then after some amount of time, they would let go and your arms would just float up, feeling... weird. My legs felt like that for some time after Across the Years.
|Yes, that's a mustache on my hat. It felt hilarious to be running again 5 days after a 100 miler.|
I kept plodding along with recovery miles as the days wore on, feeling better and better. It was hard to get in any kind of decent runs though, what with the snowstorms that kept pummeling us, and the ice that lingered after. Seriously. The ice is terrible. I know far too many people who have fallen and broken a limb on the ice this year.
|WTF. This is not beautiful. I am so effing sick of running through a foot of snow.|
Finally, we had a warmer, sunny day, and some of the treacherous muck melted. I took my chance, put on short sleeves, and ran 10 miles.
|I was neither steep nor high.|
Ten miles is always kind of a milestone for me after an ultra. The first double digit run. After Bear Chase, it took me a long, long time to go that far. And it felt so hard when I did it. But this time, I just ran. It was fine.
|Will lost a tooth. And then he ran a mile with me after school one day. <3 td="">3>|
By the end of the month, I felt ready for something more substantial. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was calling for a massive blizzard and a foot and a half of snow that weekend. I had to take what I could get, which was an 11.5 mile run on Saturday night after Rob took over childcare when he got home from skiing with a friend. The snow had just started falling, so it wasn't too bad yet. I packed my Yak Trax in my Jenny vest and took off about 5 or 6pm.
It wasn't all that late, but it was dark. This was the first time I've run at night since Across The Years, and it did some weird things to me. Which is to say, my brain was back out there, circling the course in 14 hours of darkness and cold. There were a couple of moments when it was a little hard to keep from going crazy. Plus, it was the same weekend as the Riddle Run back at "home" in Mahomet-- the fat ass ultra Rob had won the year I was lying on the floor dying of hyperemesis. I couldn't not think about these things as I ran-- the dark and crazy of Across The Years, the complete and total mind-fuck of hyperemesis that I still don't know how I lived through.
Tears were shed.
The snow started falling harder, and I noticed I started to slipping as I ran. It was for the Yak Trax.
The problem with Yak Trax is that they are very hard to put on. You can't, or at least I can't put them on while standing, or while wearing gloves. So I sat down in the snow, complete dark and silence all around me, took off my gloves, and got the Yak Trax on. It was weird and eerie and terribly cool.
The snow was falling hard enough that it made wearing a headlamp difficult. I couldn't really see anything else but the driving snow in front of my eyes, and I felt like I was going to have a seizure. I tried holding the headlamp in my hand for a while, but eventually I just shut it off. The path is not lit; I've been there many times after dark and it is normally pitch black if you don't have your own light. But now with the snow, everything was illuminated.
|I find that Yak Trax work best for me if I need lite to no traction.|
When I got home, Rob had made me a veggie burger (with onion and avocado, just how I like it) and french fries. That was great.
It turned out we didn't get so much snow that night. By morning there was just a couple of inches, but the forecast was doom. A foot and a half still coming our way. Who knew when I would be able to run, for real, again.
My New Year's resolution is to be more selfish, so I left Rob and Will at home and went for another run. This one wasn't as long (6.6 miles). I headed over to the trails, just to see how bad they would be, but the gate was down and they were closed. I ended up running on the road parallel to the trail. It's a reasonable little hill, and I ran up and down it 4 times. It wasn't too slippery what with a thin layer of snow creating some traction over the icy spots.
I felt glad about finding this hill because a rising concern of mine that I've signed up for the North Fork 50 in early June, and that's got the most vertical of any race I've ever run. I need to start running hills, but the hills here are all trails that are closed or solid ice. This winter might linger through May. Which won't give me much time to hill train before the race. The little road hill is at least something, and maybe running up and down it again and again will help if I have no better option.
I liked the way this month ended, with these 2 runs that were harder both physically and mentally. I'd kept things so even and easy since Across The Years. That was getting old.
101 miles for the month, give or take. I've switched from Map My Run to Strava, which tends to round things in your favor. I don't like Strava. But it seems like it would be too much of a pain to figure out how get all my data back to Map My Run, which I didn't exactly like either. I guess I will keep using Strava to see if it grows on me, and in the meantime, I promise not to become a Stravasshole.
|I ran approximately the same amount of miles in all of January as I did during Across The Years.|
Thanks for reading.