OK… NOW can I not be sick? How ’bout… now. Now? *sigh*

Yes, it’s been a while.  Yes, I’m alive.  For what it’s worth.

I consider myself a healthy person, in that I don’t get sick or have health “problems”.  In fact, I batted 1000% last year and didn’t get sick once.  So I guess I had it coming in January when I ran into a little tummy bug.  Then I had a bout with dizziness and headaches.  Then I got the tummy bug… AGAIN.  And now, I’m just finishing up a two week long hack fest of a head/chest cold.

I’m just not sure I deserved ALL of that.

Brutal.

I did NOT manage to stay on track, either.  My eating habits, exercise regimen, waistline and mental health all suffered.  I also have had to face a disappointing truth.  My knees HATE spin bikes.  I tried to switch to spinning for a while to give myself a break and after 1 week of classes, I couldn’t walk up stairs.

In fact, at a time when I should be averaging 50+ miles a week running, plus a little biking and swimming, I am struggling to just get decent run miles in.

So as I dig deep for positives, I can find just one right now.  The long run feels… good.  I am up to 19 miles and actually really enjoying it.  Not just during… but after.  Which is really weird for me.  When I did this craziness last time and did my long runs, I just wanted to nap the rest of the day.  But this time, after 19 on Saturday, I was out in the garden all afternoon.

So, not to doubt myself… but I’m wondering why…?  I think I have most of it figured out.

  1. I’m in better shape.
  2. I’m now USED to longer distances.  I can’t stress how important this is.  I notice it mostly in the fact that I’m not getting horrible muscle cramps like I used to after long runs.  And I can actually sleep at night after a long run WITHOUT liquid painkillers… 🙂
  3. I have the right shoes.  Trail shoes (like the New Balance 1210 Leadville) are just more stable and wear longer.
  4. My pace work is better.  I start out between 9:30 and 10:00/mi and slowly speed up over about 6-8 miles.  For me, this REALLY works.  I have gas in the tank at the end of the run.
  5. I found my nutrition.  Tailwind is the right product for me, no question.  It just works.  And right about mid run I have a fruit… bag… thingy (puree of fruit in a gel like container).  Seems to balance out my need for calories and gives me an extra shot of good sugar.

I see this not only in my run and immediately after, but also the next day.  I am able to go out and run another 6-10 miles (albeit slow) the next day.  No way I could have done this before.

Berryman is my spring goal race.  It is in May.  I’m very much looking forward to it.  Since it is my first marathon distance trail race, I have no expectations for time.  I just want to finish upright, breathing and stay out of the med tent.  My biggest fear now is the heat.  I will need to start acclimatizing myself to hotter runs as I go along, but I think it will be OK.

The rest of my season is pretty easygoing and I’m going to run long as long as it feels good.  I want to run Heart of America (very tough road marathon) in September and then do my first 50K at Rock Bridge Revenge.  If I live past that I may even shoot for a 50 miler before the end of the year.  Probably not going to do much else, multisport or otherwise.  Running feels very good and relaxing right now.  I’m gonna ride that pony for a while.  Low stress/high fun factor.  Dirtbaggin’ it, even.

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