Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Laurel Highlands Fears

I'll be honest. The Laurel Highlands 70.5 mile race scares me. Though I have completed it twice, 2 of my career DNFs have come on this course making it my most failed to complete course. Laurel is not easy, but if it was I probably would not keep coming back to do it. I love challenges!

This year the biggest fears weighing on my mind both stem from my achilles injury. My achilles injury caused me to need to take a month off from my training so of course I worry about being physically prepared come race day. Race day will be a little over 8 weeks since I injured my achilles and I worry about being strong, healthy, and not re-injuring it over the course of 70.5 miles.

Ultimately June 14th is going to come sooner rather than later. I think my ultimate plan is to just adopt the mantra. "Don't think. Just do. Become the Terminator. Finish the objective."

EDIT> It's my fault for not explaining my fears about the Laurel Highlands 70.5 Mile better, but it's not about being healthy. I am back to full health. It is my fitness that is still not where I'd like it to be. I do believe I can and will complete the race. If I didn't believe I can finish the race I would not do it. Like Mike reminded me, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That is the main reason along with great support and friendships that I can and have completed the races I have. I thank you all for being a part of my support and success. It truly does mean a lot to me. Laurel is one of my 2 main goal races this year.<

Thanks for reading.

Run Like a Horse,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Winter Running

How has your Jan/Feb running been? Did you end December with a bang, but begin the year with a dud or a thud? Maybe your running has been consistently GOOD so far this year like mine. It may come as no surprise to anyone that whenever my running is consistently good through the winter my running year is really strong.

Consistency is the key here. Notice I did not say your running needs to be strong in the winter. Strong is a relative term. In comparison to our running the rest of the year our winter running is not usually as strong, though you could argue we sometimes have to be strong to run in the winter months. Consistently good running though the winter will make you a stronger runner come the rest of the year.

Maybe injuries have put you on the sidelines and now you have taken too much time off or your just starting to recover. I had this problem last winter. It wasn't until March that I started to get back into it and then due impart to poor training the first part of the year I got injured again. Here again being consistent is the key. When we are steady with our training throughout the year, especially in winter, but without over training, then our chance of and frequency of injuries decreases. Another huge factor for strong running and preventing injuries in winter is strength and core training. As our running decreases some in winter it is a great time and almost a necessity to supplement our running with strength and core training.

If you have been in hibernation mode and now find yourself saying "Oh crud!" about that upcoming spring or early summer race it will be alright. We can't change the past. All we can do is move forward from here. Ease back into it and simply be consistently good in your training. Sign up for a race to give yourself a goal and target to work towards. Buy some new gear that you will need to get out and run in. Just don't point fingers at me when your spouse asks what your spending money on now.

I am not saying that running in the winter is easy, but like most things that are challenging it is worth it. I have found myself trundging(trudging + running) through the snow a lot this year, but I have been consistent and I fully believe 2014 is going to be great running year for me. I hope your training has been consistently good and you have a great year too. Thanks for reading.

Run Like a Horse,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Post Goal Race Accomplishment Syndrome

Post Goal Race Accomplishment Syndrome or PGRAS for short is a depression, funk, cloud, or rut feeling sometimes experienced by endurance runners within the year following completion of their big goal race such as a 100 miler. Symptoms can include, but may not be limited to a "What Now" feeling, lack of motivation, and a loss of mojo, zen, passion, along with an increase in around the abdomen, buttocks, and thigh regions.

Today I am speaking as former sufferer of PGRAS in hopes that I might offer some help to some of my friends currently dealing with PGRAS and anyone else who might be affected by PGRAS.

The first things you need to know is that the year after your goal race accomplishment can and probably will suck and it will not be easy, but ultimately that really depends on you. I have 3 things that can help you get back to "your" normal.

1. Mix in a little or a lot of non running training activities in addition or in place of your running to spice it up. Try doing things such as swimming, weight training, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, cross fit, yoga. The point is to find something fun to get and keep you moving. I can speak from experience and say that too much time off will only lead to an increase weight, injuries, and just plain bad luck in general it seems.

2. Set new goals. "He who fails to plan, plans to fail." Not having any goals makes you like a rudderless ship getting tossed around by whatever the day or race may throw at you. When things go great it is no problem, but when things go poorly it is just plain miserable. I wouldn't necessarily pick out another really big goal mind you less we become an accomplishment junkie always having to have a big goal to strive for so we can push ourselves. Pick out goals that are fun but still challenging yet attainable with "reasonable" effort.

3. Have fun!!! What makes us passionate about running? Remember why we run in the first place. For me it is for fitness, to see how far I can push myself, and for FUN. I accomplished my one 100 mile finish. 100 miles is the farthest distance I have any desire to cover and I finished it so I am good. That takes me back to "what now" right? Well I can still see how far I can push myself in how fast I can complete certain distances and courses. Let's not forget the other two reasons I run: fitness and FUN. I would dare say that if we did not somewhat enjoy running we would not do it all. So let's go back to what it is about running that makes us passionate about it. Get out on some group runs with a crazy friend or friends, take it all in, live in the moment, and remember to just HAVE FUN. Make this your number one goal for the year after your goal race accomplishment. To quote a great friend who is very inspiring and fun loving, "Breathe in. Breathe out. Life is good my friends."

I would be remiss if I didn't add a bonus step to the recovery process. Celebrate your accomplishment! Live it up and take pride in what you have done. Look back at just what you have accomplished and let it be the fuel that helps drive you forward and propel you into new adventures.

Hope I was of some help. Thanks for reading.

*Mick Quen is not a registered physician. His medical license comes from Whole Grains University in a box and he accidentally poured milk on it and had to hang it up so it would dry off. His findings and opinions may be pure horse manure.*

Run Like a Horse,