Setting goals, reaching goals…and what happens next?
It’s very suitable that this topic could apply to anything. In this case, it’s ultrarunning. But during the course of my training for the Death Race I found life lessons along the way that applied outside the trails. Personal lessons (I can go harder than I think I can), career wise (I am capable of more than status quo), and body image related (I am not, in fact, as ‘big boned’ as I’ve always thought).
But as far as running is concerned, after setting and (thankfully) achieving a lofty goal, what happens next? I’ve been experiencing postpartum running syndrome.
Let’s start out by saying this is kinda a great problem to have. Finishing the Death Race was by no means a guarantee, I very easily could have DNF’d, DNS’d, or DNGITFO’d. (Did not Grind it the F*ck Out). Fortunately the lofty goal I set for myself nine months prior was achieved, everyone celebrated, and here we are.
The three weeks after Death Race were about anything but running. The first week was all about walking properly again. That took about five days. Then came a trip to Vegas (because what else says ‘healthy ultrarunner’ like 4 days of drinking, eating, dancing, and poolside-lounging? I did hit the treadmill. Once. For an hour. While my friends were at the spa. It was torture.) Then came a friend’s wedding, and dancing, and brunches, and after-work beers, and and and. As you can see, none of these post-run plans included running. This is fine, I suppose, if you have a plan and goal. The dangerous part about this all is there was no new goal. There was no new plan.
I got a reprise in the most wonderful way by doing the #1 run on my running bucket list, exactly three weeks after Death Race. I was thrilled to hear my friends wanted to give the Rockwall Traverse a go. It was going to be my return to running, a great chance to see Canada’s most beautiful run (I’m convinced it’s true) and challenge myself with some faster runners.
Well, Rockwall is definitely the most beautiful place ever ever ever. That’s a guarantee. Unfortunately my running performance was slightly (incredibly) underwhelming. My legs had an overall fatigue I could not shake. I was tired. Not particularly sore or in much pain, I was just fatigued. The stunning views (and wolf sighting…and GRIZZLY sighting!!!) are something I’ll remember for a lifetime. It was a really big day for me and my ability to get out on my own two feet was a giant feat (as opposed to hunkering down in the Wardens cabin until a helicopter appeared to get me out. Which I did daydream about at one point, but decided not to vocalize). I was trying incredibly hard not to be a pain for my running partners who were much more fit and much less whiny. That goal was most definitely NOT achieved and I ended the run with the nickname “HM” which stands for “high maintenance” which they say is a joke but guarantee it is not At least I managed not to cry, which I came veeery close to at one point and only held off due to stubborn pride. Aside from my own suffering, seeing how much my friends enjoyed the run was inspiring – a place I’d like to get to. Most runs I usually struggle, worry about how much I’m holding people back, or thinking there’s no way I can keep up. Need to shake that thought because obviously I can run! I look forward to the day I get out and simply run, eat, drink, and enjoy the views. It’ll happen eventually.
Keeping that in mind… I operate well with a goal and poorly without one, so..easy fix: pick a new goal! There’s a new ultra close by so I’m officially signed up for the solo Grizzly 50. Why not pick a race named after my most feared animal in life
I’ve been working with a great chiropractor on boring strength and stretching that is absolutely essential to the health of my IT bands (which hate me, and are tighter than an emo rocker’s jeans). I know I need to be better at this stuff in order to maintain running health long term. Anyone have tips for making better friends with a foam roller? Mine is sitting on the ground right now mocking me for blogging instead of foam rolling. It knows how to get under my skin…
Now that I’ve resorted to humanizing a piece of foam, I’ll wrap this blog post up.
Thank you to all for reading, especially my new Death Race readers and friends. That race was a big milestone for me and hopefully the start of many years to come of suffering through damn long races. Thanks for coming along!