Peaks and Valleys

6 Apr

Well, this post has been almost two weeks in the making. Last Sunday I had one of the worse runs of my life and unfortunately Jen had to suffer through every step with me. It was truly awful. Given the opportunity I like to think I would have stopped at an aid station to help out the other runners, for running was not much of an option for me this day. However, in hindsight, I probably would have just ended up in the fetal position crying in a cactus by the trail. I felt that bad.

We had registered for a 13 mile trail race for training purposes, but after the run we had the week before I think we were both silently optimistic. We had such an amazing time and had run a truly respectable pace that it was such a high. The problem with highs…they are followed by really low lows.  While I was feeling terrible, Jen felt good. So here we were out on a trail with other runners, talking about how to handle situations like these. Jen was having a good day. She looked good, and may have even been moved by the race spirit. I wanted her to go out and run her race, but she chose to stay with me and run as a team. Doing this brought up conversation about how to handle differences like these, and we had differing points of view. So as a result we talked a lot and argued a little…OK maybe we argued a lot too. It was emotionally exhausting for both of us. Plus we were hot, thirsty, and four miles into a point to point race! Not because of Jen, but due to the fact that I was exhausted, I just wanted to cry. (Fortunately I was dry enough that I did not have the ability to make tears.) Neither of us had slept the night before, and I had just come out of working 2 twelve hour shifts. When I woke up I had leg cramps and chapped lips. We joked about it, got dressed, and headed out the door. In hindsight, maybe these are things not to joke about but to heed as a warnings. So with my dehydrated unrecoverable muscles I took the trail hoping for a decent performance. Here is the hard part…when you sign up for something as a team event and you and your trail partner are in very different places that day, what do you do? Well if you have estrogen you talk, argue, cry if you have the ability to make tears, shut down, then apologize. All of these things happened between miles 4-9. It was an awesome day. (Read with sarcasm) We did finish the course together, and we were not last. While I had originally wanted Jen to run ahead that day, I am glad she stayed with me. The last mile and a half would have killed me. One; because it was a half mile longer than it was supposed to be. Two; it was mostly uphill. So even though the race was not a lot of fun, there were some important issues brought to light.

Lessons learned:

  • We need to learn how to communicate when both physically and mentally exhausted.
  • We need to drink more.
  • We need to not register for any more races. The training for a race is so completely different than training for 2000 miles.
  • We need to heed the warnings our bodies send us.
  • We need to better adjust our sleep patterns for long run days.

** Stay tuned for lessons learned from our first overnight with our new gear.

One Response to “Peaks and Valleys”

  1. PapaBear April 6, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Eyes on the prize! I think you are right to separate the very different goals of a one-day race event and a mega-multiday long run. It’s not only the training but the mental attitude that needs to shift: what’s right for one situation is very wrong for the other, and vice versa.

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