Sunday, July 31, 2011

Egg Shell Syndrome

As you may have read earlier, I hate the taper. Just like most runners, tapering is one of the hardest things to do leading up to a race. You've trained and trained and now you suddenly feel like you're stuck in mud. Personally, I think I'll be skipping the whole taper thing after my next race. It just doesn't sit well with me and it makes me go a bit mental. And I don't think it will help me that much. However, I do think a recovery week will help me rest a bit and heal a bit before a race. But that's a future experiment.

Today's post is about the odd phenomenon I've discovered that I go through in the days leading up to a race. Especially a big race or one that I'm very nervous about. It's the Egg Shell Syndrome (ESS). ESS is nothing more than the sudden increase in paranoia that anything and everything you do could injure you in some way. An injury to your feet, legs, toes, or something along those lines that will take you out of the race. With ESS, everything becomes a potential landmine. Legos on the floor. Socks on the kitchen linoleum. A careless kid that steps on your toes. A hidden divot in the yard. Any sort of cough or sniffle or sneeze.

ESS almost entirely mental. Yes, there are certain hazards that we are required to deal with in our daily lives. Some deal with more, some with less, but they are always there. That hose waiting to trip you on the sidewalk has been there for a month. But in the days before a race, ESS makes that hose look like a military obstacle course.

Unfortunately, I've found no treatment for ESS. Just like tapering, it happens. There's no way I have found to conquer the sudden change in mental state. No medications, no therapy, no treatment. You just have to deal with it and push through. It's just part of training.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Treg loper

I'll be using the #tregloper tag on my tweets between now and my 50k. Maybe longer. But the real reason for this post is because of my mother. It seems she wants a picture of her son. Specifically, her son's haircut. Because I told her what I did this past weekend. Because my wife blabbed.

Not that I was keeping it a secret or anything. In fact, it's rather difficult to keep it a secret. Hell, I got stares left and right everywhere I went this weekend. I got a few comments about losing a bet (including from my barber). My barber even asked if my wife knew what I was doing when I went in for my do. Amazingly she not only approved, she even gave me the green light to allow William the same should he want to be like dad (he declined).

The real reason for the new style is to do something wild. Something that will keep me sane while I struggle through my taper. Something so shocking that those working the aid stations will remember me as I pass through. Oh, did I mention that I'm getting it dyed bright orange next week? Yeah. I'm going for that level of shocking.

So here you have it. My new haircut. And yes, I know my head looks a bit pink. I'm working on my tan and got a bit too carried away yesterday.

PS - That's all you get to see for now.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mid Year Review

No, not the dreaded mid-year review you get at work. I'm talking about a mid-year review of my running goals. Or just goals period. What ever you want to call it, I think it's time to review and reassess where I stand and what I want to accomplish. You can see my original list of goals here. Updates below are in Red.

My running goals included:
  • run 1 marathon (already registered for Richmond in November) - Still the only full marathon I have on my calendar.
  • run 2 half marathons (already registered for DRHT half in February, MCHH in May, and Williamsburg half in May) - Done. And then some. Ran the DRHT Half, the MCHH, and the Williamsburg Half. I also have the VA Runner Half in December that I'll run. I also have several 13 mile+ training runs that I've finished.
  • run 1 sprint triathlon (this will likely be in February) - Nope. Not going to happen. Triathlons are officially off my radar.
  • run 1 50k ultra marathon (this will be the DRHT 50k in August) - Just a few weeks away!
  • run 35 miles by my 35th birthday (October 3rd) (this is my #run35 and #tregløper project) - Not sure about this. The fundraising portion isn't going to work and the whole 35 mile run may not work since I'm on a wait list for a 100k the week after.
  • raise money for the Friends of the DRHT (Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail) - Seriously slacking on this but I have been volunteering and attending meetings.
  • run on the DRHT (or any trail) once a week - Pretty good on this. Maybe 80% completion.
  • set a half marathon PR (2:35:06 set on 12/12/2010) - Did this twice. My trail half time was 2:33:35. My MCHH time was 2:30:55. Sweet!
  • set a 50k PR (8:42:52 set on 8/8/2010) - Hopefully this will still happen.
  • lose 5 pounds (231 pounds on 12/22/2010) - Really struggling with this. My food consumption hasn't changed too much.
Other goals included:Link
  • improve core strength - Thanks to my trainer, I'm doing well.
  • run more on trails and uneven surfaces - About once a week I'll hit the trails.
  • avoid the treadmill at all costs - Going strong!
  • shop for and maybe buy a road bike (assuming triathlons are in the mix for 2012) - Nope. All triathlon stuff is gone, so no new bike.
  • do more stability/balance work - Again, thanks to my trainer, I'm doing well.
  • adhere to the cross-training in my training plan instead of sleeping in - Once again, the trainer has been helping. I still slack on doing some of the cross-training on my own, but I'm still hovering around 60% on that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tip Tap Taper

I hate the taper.

It leaves me feeling weak and slow. It's purpose is to rest your body before the big race. The big race may be a 5k or a 100k. For me, it's my second ultramarathon. My second 50k. My second time running the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail race. I ran it last year and finished. Last. But I finished. My pacing was way off. My training was way off. My respect for the distance was completely missing.

So this year I took things more seriously. I hired a personal trainer. Twice. I trained with higher mileage. Both longer runs and more miles per week. I've done well so far but I fear I've over-trained a bit. My left calf has been bugging me for weeks now and I'm starting to get nervous. I have roughly 3 weeks left to prep for my race and I've bitten the bullet to begin my taper.

And I hate it.

But I'm hoping the extra rest will heal my calf and heal my mind a bit. I'll continue to run during my taper but will ease off my LSD (Long Slow Distance) runs and ease off my overall mileage. Right now it sucks. I hate it. I want to go run. I have trails I want to explore, I have routes I want to test, I have fuel and fluids that need to be worked out. Instead I'm stuffed inside. At least I'm missing a lot of the heat.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to prep for my 50k. Mapping out the route. Planning my drop bag. Doling out my fuel and fluid needs. We'll see how it goes.