Category Running Partners

Je suis prête

On the heals of our first ultra we ran our last long race/runs this weekend, a combo 5K/15K street race followed by nearly 19k on our usual trail loops on Turkey mountain to complete the distance. As mentioned in recent posts Trex has been bouting with injury and this was our last chance at a solid long run before we start the taper.  In total we logged 24+ miles, just shy of our goal, but a strong comeback in my opinion, in spite of the significant amount of pain we both experienced during and now after the runs.

Speaking of heels, it seems that mine took a bit of a beating during our 5/15K combo which was made worse on the trail, and now I have a nasty swollen red lump at the back of my heel that hurts quite a bit when I walk. So I am elevating it and icing it in hopes that there is no real injury, because being injured this close to our race would “sucks major donkey balls,” to quote my RH.

having a plan B–an alternative exercise routine to stick to during downtime, is extremely crucial for your mental game.

I took time off running and have been cross training with Trex since I frankly didn’t want to suffer injury as a result of over training, and had had a few early signs of things growing a bit unhappy with me right about the same time his foot started giving him fits. So in a show of solidarity and to grow my cross training muscles I joined him in his downtime in efforts to minimize the impacts of our grueling running schedule on my own body. Frankly I feel it did us some good to take some time to do more alternative exercises. I think we both needed to find some greater balance in our approach to running and sometimes being forced to is how it has to happen.

In an effort to maintain my cardio and core strength I have reacquainted myself with the love of the water, and have been swimming in addition to doing stationary bikes and weight exercises along side Trex. We also tried aqua jogging which I find to be quite awkward, although a good cardio workout, when done without the jogger belt. It will take more time to get used to this exercise and in the end it is rather boring which makes it more of a challenge to maintain focus while doing, that and frankly I feel ridiculous doing it!

But the key take away from this experience, for me, has been that having a b plan–an alternative exercise routine to stick to during downtime, is extremely crucial for your mental game. I for one found it very beneficial to be productive physically, even if it wasn’t gaining me ground in my running, because it has been a chance to practice fighting off those pesky mental demons that like to taunt and try to scare me into thinking I’m not ready.

I fully understand the impact to my bodily training by not running. It is extremely difficult to face a race feeling that you may be under prepared physically, but it is crucial to remember your training, and be prepared to face down those mental demons that try to tell you that: a few weeks of not running has undone nearly 2 years of base training. A BOLD FACED LIE!  I am using this time to hone my positive self talk skills, practice how to be supportive to my partner–who is facing those demons daily, and just as importantly to slay my own demons.  And after yesterday’s battle on the streets and trails I know that my plan B has been working. Je suis prête. 

A note about Anchors

I have run well over 1000 miles with Trex, including during my (our) most triumphant and worst races thus far in my (our) running careers, and from my perspective he is most definitely my Anchor.  On this we agree. It’s just we don’t quite agree on which particular definition of the word applies to our partnership.   While Trex has this nagging feeling that he is dragging behind and slowing me down he is anything but that. So allow me to set the record straight.

Anchor leg
anchor leg is the final position in a relay race. Typically, the anchor leg of a relay is given to the fastest or most experienced competitor on a team. The athlete completing the anchor leg of a relay is responsible for making up ground on the race-leader or preserving the lead already secured by their teammates.[1] An anchor leg is typically part of a running relay, but may also be part of swimming, skiing or skating relays.[2][3]

Having swam competitively in HS, I was often the anchor swimmer on relay teams. I can still hear the voices of my swimming sisters yelling my name as sprinted past the other swimmers, cheering me into the wall, and shouting how much they loved me at the moment we all realized we had just earned first place on the podium and qualified for State at our first regional meet.  It was a proud moment in my life and has always stayed with me.  Coming from behind, and over taking my competition was something I thrived on. Ask my family or friends and they can attest to my fierce competitive nature. I love to win.

But a few years ago, while serving as the captain of a Roller Derby team, I had my first daughter and I came to realize that there wasn’t enough room for the fierce competitor in me and the nurturer. This was a hard day.  I realized that in order to be the mother I wanted to be that I had to make room for myself to grow in this capacity. At the time it meant I had to retire my skates because I knew I wasn’t strong enough to balance both sides of my nature. Frankly I am still not, which is why I don’t really compete with anyone but myself in running. Instead I take pride in the fact that I constantly work at balancing being a wife and a mom, with having a full-time (stressful) career, and run long distance. This is no easy task and for me it means keeping my competitive nature in check.

So today I am part of a two person team, and we are our own competition and I am more than okay with this. There simply aren’t enough me hours in the day to let my raging ram loose on the course (I am an Aries btw). While she is in there I don’t have any more time or energy available to do what it takes to complete with the likes of runners such as RAbbit or other women, who dominate the course in my age group, without paying the price of missing out on my family life or falling behind in my career.

So frankly I don’t give it my all, I give it what I can, day in and day out, saving enough for the rest of my life. Sure I most definitely have it in my veins to go faster, but at a serious cost. I have to keep this drive in check to maintain balance. I am my own boat anchor {1}.

an·chor
ˈaNGər/
noun: anchor; plural noun: anchors
1.  a heavy object attached to a rope or chain and used to moor a vessel to the sea bottom, typically one having a metal shank with a ring at one end for the rope and a pair of curved and/or barbed flukes at the other.
2.  a person or thing that provides stability or confidence in an otherwise uncertain situation.

It is because of my natural tendency to want to take off and race to the finish that I have needed a little help learning to stay grounded with running. It has been a learning process and I am more than grateful for Trex’s influence in this area. I have never known anyone as steady like a rock (or an anchor as the case may be) as Trex.

To start, if it is a run day, he runs. His words, not mine. If it is 1 billion degrees outside, raining flaming locusts, and it’s a run day, then he inevitably has some gear for just this occasion, pulls it out, and he runs.  Yes that is a tad bit of an exaggeration, but the analogy holds. I don’t know anyone who is as thoughtful about preparedness, and who is as dedicated to finishing what he starts as Trex. I have adopted this same credo to help maintain a place for running in my life. My family and co-workers understand that running is important to me so if it is a run day, I run; perhaps not as fast as I am able, but I run. Period.

During my runs I have also come to rely on Trex’s metronome-like rhythmic foot falls to keep a steady pace and structured form. This has helped me steadily improve my running and most likely prevented numerous injuries and has ensured I have enough fuel left in the tank to complete the ever increasing distances we have tackled over the past year.

Anchor
A person or feeling one uses to keep his or herself grounded or in a calm state when things are not well. He’s my anchor. You know, he keeps me calm on days everything seems to go wrong.
#anchoring #helpful #anchors #anchor #kind

Lastly,  there have often been days when my busy life has left me feeling like a one arm juggler in a circus, and when my emotions threaten to devour me like the hungry lions perched around the ring. Running has helped to be an outlet for times like these, when I feel, quite literally, like I have to “run off the crazy”. On those day’s Trex is more like my very own #luckdragon helping to pulling me out of my emotional storm by the sound of his steady rhythmic pace, his friendly optimism, and his calm demeanor.   I count myself lucky to have such a running companion.

So I guess in the end Trex was right. He is my #anchor and for it I am #better.

Okay I know, enough with the hashtags already. #whatever