Sunday, 25 November 2012

Finding light in other places...

Something doesn't quite feel right.... nah it's getting better.... I think it's gone! About 5km later it's back... damn I knew it wasn't right! It seems that scenario has been playing over and over in my training the past while before the recent 5 weeks off I have had, hence the lack of exciting blog posts with photo's that make up for some pretty random running stories :)

It has been a bag of emotions the last couple of months, the elation of finishing my first 100km trail race, feeling unstoppable the days after, and then a little over a week later feeling pretty weak and sore. The only problem was that during my approximate 6 days of invincibility I managed to convince myself (which didn't take much!) that it was a good idea to enter in the Great North Walk 100km. At the time it was 8 weeks away and I thought there was going to be no problem at all in recovering and then getting another nice training block in before tapering and then racing again.

The problem/dilemma I have always had is that I find any way humanly possible to find positive light amongst injuries or body aches. If it feels microscopically better then surely I am good to go right? Since the Glasshouse 100km in Brisbane I have had a hamstring tendon issue. Initially nothing too concerning hence why after a 2 week break I felt good to go and run the half marathon in Esperance, running 76mins.

Fast forward 7 weeks and here I am after having the past 5 weeks or so off after tearing my calf muscle and also trying to deal with the persistent hamstring tendon injury. There was some slight hope that the Great North Walk was going to happen after a couple of solid weeks training but before I could gain full momentum my calf was more than happy to let me know this was in no way going to happen!

So after a few physio acupuncture sessions and the final call to have a rest to get things right, I was left with the prospect of time on the sidelines waiting for the legs to come right. For once I felt like I was really listening to my body and not just taking the "it'll be right" attitude like usual. After reading blogs and listening to the Talk Ultra Podcasts, I realised that I don't have to be racing/training full on for every minute I am awake. We all need rest and downtime to get refreshed and ready for the next challenge ahead. I have learnt that there is no point in going all guns blazing for as long as possible and just seeing what happens. "What happens" I have found really really sucks! What happens can also come along really quickly and can leave you wondering how the hell did that happen?

Lucky I am new to this whole ultra running thing and can be excused for making so many rookie errors. So much of this year has been in the unknown. How long do I need to recover? How many races is too many? How many km's per week is too much? How many hills per week is too much?

I have been taking on board everything that has happened the last 5 weeks and have been thinking as the year comes to an end of what went right and what could have gone better. I'll go into this more in another post but It is safe to say I will be doing my absolute best to find the balance with training and racing and also non-running activities. Balance is so crucial in everything, whether you are an Olympic runner or a high profile businessman. It doesn't matter what you are trying to excel in, you need balance to prevent tipping the scales and burning out.

The past week has been fantastic, getting plenty of kayaking in and after a final visit with the physio I have been given the all clear to ease back into running. I ran 5km on Thursday which was amazing and then 7km on Sunday which was even better. For the first time in what seems like forever I am running without any niggles or pain.

Something else that has been awesome was last week when Liz and I went for a "walk" out at Lesmurdie Falls. I decided that it would be pretty cool to try and climb up the side of the falls. Part scrambling/part free climbing, this is hands down the most fun outdoor activity I have done in a while. I have since been back finding new routes up the falls having an absolute blast doing so!

Another great thing to come out of the downtime was the creation of a new strengthening program that I am now using in order to help strengthen my core muscles, mainly glutes, hip flexors etc.

So things are definitely looking up and I am really looking forward to easing back into things and coming back stronger than before. Only a few weeks left of work for the year and then have a decent break so I'm hoping to make the most of the time off, especially when the old man is here so we can go for plenty of runs!

Me at the start of the climb

The view from the bottom of Lesmurdie Falls, not much water now we are heading into summer but nice there is still a little.

Half way down a pretty sketchy descent on the second outing.

After the final ascent on Friday I went for a walk and this is looking back towards Perth City.

2012 is by no means over, but I am really looking forward to seeing what 2013 is going to bring. For the month of December it will be mostly easy running with plenty of cross-training to keep those scales level, and likely numerous Lesmurdie trips as well!