Training (and psychology or something, probably)

You guys know I’ve been up to a lot of business lately. And by business, I mean activities. As I’ve been planning my upcoming amazing trips, I’ve realized that there’s a couple doozies coming up fast and in addition to the things I’m already training for, I have some areas to step up. It’s got me to thinking about the difference between working out (for the sake of working out), training for competition, and training to do epic shit.

I’ve been involved in competitive sports for basically ever, with maybe a 2 year reprieve after I stopped racing (road running) after college and before I picked up roller derby. Training for competitive sports is a discipline and an obligation. Sometimes, it’s awesome. As long as I’ve had something to work for, I’m able to train (even if I don’t always like it). But, like I say all the time, I road run to support my trail racing habit. And it’s exactly that. Most of my training for running is on the road, and it sucks. I would never be like “I’m going to crush 10 miles on the ROAD!” it’s more like oh dear god, 10 miles. 10 monotonous, repetitive motion injury, joint shaking miles that make me question my commitment to long distance running in general (more on this later). But I still do it.

I’ve never been one for working out. When I’m at the height of intense training for something, I can really crush a work out. And yeah, I like it, and it feels good. I’m never going to question the amazing effects of endorphins, et al. But I can not bring myself to work out for the sake of working out. Plenty of people do, it’s awesome, because exercise is really important for your health and not every human is willing and able to commit their lives to physical endeavors. I teach a spin class once a week and the beautiful souls who attend that class, I tip my hat to them. No music in the world would make me work that hard just to be healthy.

What!?  So many miles!

What!? So many miles!

So I’ve been keeping track of my bicycle commuting mileage on a calendar all month, without doing anything with it (like adding it up) and when I realized the other day that I MUST start training for my bike tours, I added it up. I ride 70-100 miles a week, and that’s mainly getting to classes. I don’t think I entered in when I ride to a restaurant for dinner or something, and I usually walk to the store. I was pretty impressed. Although with the Mt Evans trip (50 miles by bicycle, from Denver to Echo Lake, then summit Mt. Evans, then ride the 50 back) looming, I need to increase mileage by a lot. Something about planning and committing to this training feels very different. I rode an extra 30 miles yesterday, and it felt amazing. I haven’t been riding much outside of commuting lately, so that was probably part of it. But it was more than that. It wasn’t an obligation. It was a commitment to become stronger so I could live a stronger life. There’s been a tone of falsity in my race training lately, and that’s what it is. I consider that training obligatory so I can race hard and obtain a good time and all the glory that comes with competition. Whereas, training to walk and ride mountains; that feels very authentic and like I’m working to be better.

Yeah, this is how I ride training miles...get better sunglasses, Sarah.  And wear a MF helmet!

Yeah, this is how I ride training miles…get better sunglasses, Sarah. And wear a MF helmet!

How do I bring this into my race training?

Updates and coming up:
Monday Long’s (this should be 3/20 and my last winter ascent of the season, I hear the conditions up there are actually still WINTER)
6/11 Mt. Evans
July 2-6 Wanderlust Festival in Aspen
July & August Nolan’s Fourteeners 100 miles backpacking, bicycle tour to Estes via Peak to Peak Highway
Breakdancing: still working on the same two moves but they’re getting better!
Ashtanga: finally getting back on track

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Week 3: TRAINING (here we go). And! New Goal (it’s a doozy)

Just finished my first post-race training run; 9 miles (sigh). New rule for post run fuel down: 1 bagel for every three miles. Long distance runners get to eat as many bagels as possible (or, as many as they want). It occurred to me before I ran today that now that I’m gearing up for the Leadville Heavy Half, 8 isn’t the goal anymore…8 is the starting point. And we’re heading towards FIFTEEN. (I spelled that out so I could use all capital letters, it’s a shame you can’t get across an all-caps emphasis numerically). Not even just 15…15 miles with 3000 feet elevation gain. Oh-and we’re starting at 10,000 feet…so it’s also at elevation. SIGH. AGAIN. MORE SIGHING.

How do I feel about training? If I could do all of my training on the trails, it would be epic. But I don’t remember the last time I ran 9 or 4 or 2 miles on the road and said “yeah! great run!” because it wasn’t…it was always miserable. Repetitive motion, general boredom, annoyance with cars, playlist problems. All things we don’t need to worry about on the trails.

I mentioned before I’m considering selling my car and buying a nicer bike to do more touring and potentially racing. Well, I was thinking about how I could do more trail running but also not driving. The answer is: I bike to the foothills and run. Very simple. This idea, throughout my morning, grew legs and started running. By the end of my run, the idea is now: I RIDE TO THE MOUNTAINS AND RUN THEM. And I tow Luna in her trailer, because she wants to come to.

How does Lu feel about fourteeners?  Obvious.  She loves them.

How does Lu feel about fourteeners? Obvious. She loves them.

SO. In addition to all of my other goals, and my upcoming races (Vail and Leadville in June), I shall ride to the mountains towing Luna and carrying camping gear and food, and hike fourteeners. First one is Mt. Evans. 60 miles from here. BAM. Now, it’s time for an Epsom salt bath.

How do I feel about Epsom salts?  Obvious.  I love them.

How do I feel about Epsom salts? Obvious. I love them.