Friday, December 2, 2011

"Burn out and Barfing".....

Cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since I have "blogged".......time flies!  Just to start off with some exciting, and scary, news....I have sent a few chapters of my book to an editor!  Now I wait to see if this thing is actually publishable or just better off the online ramblings of a new Catholic, ultra running,  crazy man :-)  Stay tuned......

Anyway, have not written a lot because I "hit the wall", "burnt out", "lost motivation", "over trained" - you name the term, I did it.

After I finished the 53 miler in March, I almost immediately decided to do my first 100 miler in November of this year.  I put together a training program and then, LIFE HAPPENED, and I decided it was just not the year to do it.  So, I trained with a couple of buddies who were training for the Lake Tahoe 50 miler (they both finished, kudos to both of them, 50 miles at altitude - nice!) and then decided to really kick ass in the Mystery Mountain Marathon in October that has kicked my ass every year.  Well, what this messed up and non-directional training schedule did was not give me any real recovery time (mostly what I needed was mental, not physical) after the 53 miler and had me doing long training all through the summer - my least favorite time of year to train.  About a month before the race I did a really strong training weekend on the course and felt awesome on the 2nd day (looking back, this is what happens to me a lot when I over train, the candle burns brightest......) and after that, I lost ALL motivation.  About 3 weeks before the race, after all of my training, I decided to drop down to the 12 mile option, and felt totally fine about it!

Ended up being a great decision, it was a blast to actually "run" the whole race as opposed to fast walking the hills and suffering for 6 hours (funny story, we broke down about 3 miles from the race and had to hitch a ride to the start - got to the starting line at 7:52am for 8am start, doing the 12 I was fine but if I was stressing about prepping for a full on assault at the marathon distance, I would have been FREAKING OUT)!  We make plans and God laughs.

After that, I actually stopped logging my training and decided to just "free flow" until the bug hits me again (it's already starting, BTW, so my recovery is working).  Doing sporadic runs, no trail runs over 60 minutes and starting to do some "CrossFit Endurance" workouts to get ready for Pinhoti 2012 (yep, I was able to transfer my entry so, unless life gets in the way big time again, I am hitting that starting line, and, God willing, finish line in November of next year)!

OK, so that is the "burn out" part, now, what am I talking about with "barfing"????  Suffice it to say, sometimes I am not a very good Dad......let me explain - mistakes (lessons) in bold!  A good buddy of mine lives down in Miami and does triathlon coaching and sports marketing and he told me about a trail race that was happening over the Thanksgiving weekend and, guess what, we were going down for the holiday to see family - perfect!  Ryan (my son) and I had been talking about him doing his first trail race (a 10k) on 12/3 here in Georgia and this race had a 5k option so I thought that might be a better idea (in hindsight, I am so glad we didn't sign up for the 10k)!  We had about 3 weeks to train for it, but Ryan is in good shape and how hard can a trail race in Miami be (its dead flat, after all)??- MISTAKE (LESSON) NUMBER ONE:  Because they don't have hills, they designed a mountain bike trail that was so technical, it was like an obstacle course!  Add to this, in typical trail running fashion, the distance was 5k "ish", more like 4 miles - the "5k" winner went 28 minutes, the "10k" winner went 51 min!  So, we were both severely under trained.  Add to that, Ryan had been sick and I hurt my back (worst ever in my life, could hardly walk) in a workout I had no business doing.  My wife commented "Ryan is sick and won't tell you and you can hardly walk and you won't tell him, you both don't want to disappoint each other by not doing the race - men!!!!"  I won't count this a mistake, more of a severe character flaw I have and seem to have passed on to my son that is not gonna change :-)

So, we get up at 6am on Sunday for a 7:30am start - all good.  I give Ryan a banana and a G2 on the way - MISTAKE (LESSON) NUMBER 2: Ryan was not feeling good and does not have my digestive system, next time just sip on water and G2 and if he gets hungry give a gel during the race!  

We arrived a bit late and didn't have time to warm up, but that should not have been a problem.  Now, digress a bit here before we move on to Lesson number 3 - when Ry and I train together, he normally asks to go out front cause I run "too fast" when I lead - then he immediately picks up the pace to a drop dead sprint!  I coached him many times that the race would begin fast and to run his own pace - MISTAKE (LESSON) NUMBER 3: Don't let a 10 year old set the beginning pace of a race!uppy feeling"....."Dad, can we walk a bit"???? Uh-Oh.

Mile 1.5, we pull off the trail and he pukes his brains out (too add insult to injury, there was absolutely no privacy on this trail so everyone we went out ahead of in the beginning passed right by us and saw him puking!).  I am feeling like a pretty bad Dad now and wondering how I am going to carry this boy back to the start, remember, my back is hurting so bad I can hardly run!  Miraculously, he recovered a bit, walked about 1/2 mile and then started running again (when we got to the 2 mile rest stop and the guy told me we had at least 2 miles to go, I made sure he didn't hear it!) At one point he said, "Dad, you have said we are almost there a few times, I don't think I believe you anymore" - smart boy.

Gotta tell you, as many "lessons" as we experienced that morning, I have rarely been so proud of my boy finishing that race!  I told him it took my years to figure out nutrition and pacing, and I STILL make mistakes so not to worry about it.  He didn't and felt really good about himself, good enough to ask to get Pizza at 9am and is ready to sign up for another race!!!!

God was with us the whole time, teaching us, guiding us, protecting us and we are listening - thank you so much for the lessons!

Remember, no matter how you feel, we are all truly blessed - when you can be thankful for your life every day, even when things seem to suck, you have found true happiness!

In Christ,