Race recovery

Recovery from last weekend’s Thunder Rolls adventure race was a little slower than after March’s LBL Challenge.  Both races were 24 hour races, but that’s where the similarities end.  We finished LBL in 28 hours, while we were “only” our for 19 hours at TR.  Even so, Thunder Rolls kicked my butt.  I think the difference can be attributed to four main things: the terrain, a load of new experiences, the midnight start, and my level of fitness.

TV: Thunder Rolls 2012 (Photo credit: John Morris)

The area of northwestern IL where Thunder Rolls was held had some seriously steep hills; Land Between the Lakes, on the other hand, is on the whole much gentler.  The dearth of distinct features made for tricky orientation, but easier (NOT easy) trekking.


And Thunder Rolls was filled with first-time challenges: hiking through a quad/hip-flexor shredding river, rappelling, ascending.  My body was definitely used in new ways. The midnight start was a new experience for me, too, and the lack of rest definitely hurt.  For LBL, we at least had a few hours’ sleep before the start time; at TR most of us were sleep deprived even before the race start.  Most damaging, though, had to be my general lack of fitness as compared to where I was in March.


TV: LBL edition

I was in shape in March.  I had been training for a 50K (which was thrown to the curb so I could race in the CAC, a brilliant decision), so my endurance was strong.  I did two races in April, but after I registered for Dirty Kanza, May was consumed with the bike.  I ran three measly miles in May. 

160 miles of gravel…ouch (Photo credit: Ellen Thompson)

June was spent either riding in two huge bike races or recovering from them, and I didn’t really run again until July.  I started picking it up more in August as Bob and Luke’s more consistent training started to make me nervous, but the damage was done.  My endurance is far from where it started the year.

I’m off work all summer, so there is NO excuse for this, but that summer vacation is my downfall.  I get in this mindset that I’m off, I can sleep in, and then when I do get up I’ve got J to take care of and the “later” when I intend to fit in my workout never seems to get here.  I do much better when I have concrete things to schedule my runs around.  We’ve talked of making Thunder Rolls our peak race next year, and I hope that I can remember how it felt to be weak this year and stay disciplined through summer 2013.

Mental recovery was as tough as the physical.  There were points in Thunder Rolls when I was just broken.  The memory of hanging for so long on that wall and taking so long at the top stings.  Not to mention dragging on the bike and consistently feeling like the weakest one on the team.  And make no mistake, I loved that race.  LOVED it.  But it took me a couple days and a few nights’ sleep before I could really process it.  Heck, it took me until Tuesday to really start (OK, and finish) my race report…that’s unheard of! 🙂

It was the best of times…it was the worst of times…. (Photo credit: Bob “Goldmember” Jenkins)

Since I have this silly 30K race coming up in November, I don’t have time to just sit around and rest, though.  I had thoughts of running my scheduled 3 miles on Monday, but that quickly became a slow 2-mile walk…and even that hurt. By Wednesday, I was able to run my scheduled 5 miles, though I did it as an easy run rather than the tempo run on my plan.  Thursday I ran 3.5, and then I had two trail runs this weekend.  8.3 miles Sunday, and 3.6 today.  That brings me to a total of 21.XX miles in that Monday-Monday span!

I know some of you have long runs longer than that, but its the first 20+ mile week (or 8-day span) I’ve had in ages.  It’s like getting my butt kicked by that race woke me up again.  That, and the fact that actually doing my scheduled training is motivating…and much more effective than waiting for motivation to kick in and make me run.

And my runs, honestly, are pretty much sucking.  It’s hard to remember where I was as a beginner and realize how much faster I was than I am now.  Still, I’ve been there…I know I can do it again…I just have to do the work to get back there.  And at least the scenery is pretty along the way.

On the Lewis Trail during my 8-miler
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