Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The final push!

I am in the last couple weeks before my Ultramarathon and I am TIRED. Tired body and sleepy tired mind. This week will be the last of four 50-plus mile weeks. That's a 200 mile month - no wonder I'm tired!

I've decided to bail on all other forms of activity at least for this last big push. No swimming and no biking this week. Only running (and yoga).

Next week my running mileage will go down while I taper for the race. I am looking forward to the taper. I'm not accustomed to being so darn tired. I day dreaming about tapering! I cannot wait for the extra boost of energy I'll get from my reduced running volume. I look forward eagerly to my rest days; previously I hated them and only employed them because I'm supposed to. Friday, blissful Friday, is my next rest day.....

I think I'm OK though, and that this is exactly how I'm supposed to feel at this point in my training. My running feels pretty good - not super fast, but not too slow either. I am uninjured and amazingly un-sore. I am sleeping well (really well and a lot).

I hope to write a post soon that tells of how spaztic I am with all the energy from my taper. I have faith that my training program will deliver me rested and full of energy to my race!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Are you there Internet? It's me IttyBittyBetty.

Blogging has not been the same since Facebook and my job with Ayuda. I see it in some of my other blogging friends too; we all get busy and Facebook is so easy and quick. We post pictures and brief updates. The blog falls to the wayside.

But Facebooking is not writing and I have missed writing. So I am back to blogging, at least while work is not crazy busy. Here's what I've been up to since my last intermittent posts:

Work has been very good and goes through very busy periods interspersed with more sane times. I still completely love my job and have been given more responsibilities as our small company grows. I just got through a few weeks of intensive travel and fire-drill crises projects; but right now things are relatively calm and thus I have some spare time to write over lunch.

Learning to Swim Competitively
My younger sister Chris learned to swim a few years back and raved about how wonderful a work out it was. She touted its benefits as a low-impact, all-body work out that would compliment my other more punishing sports like running and mountain biking. I'd like to be an active old lady some day and swimming seemed to be a sport I could incorporate into my routine and do for many, many years. So, I decided to give it a try.

This past December I started taking swim lessons at my fitness club, Lakeshore Athletic Club, located close to my office. Lakeshore provides Masters swimming classes and the Tuesday/Thursday lunch-time sessions are heavy on coaching and geared toward adults just starting a swimming program.

I knew how to swim before, in that I could splash around in the water and not drown. But I certainly knew nothing about technique or swimming efficiently.

I've come a long way since my first lessons where I was floundering and hyperventilating in the pool, choking on mouth and nose-fulls of water. It was quite humbling at first to be unable to complete a workout when other swimmers in the class, clearly less fit than I was, were kicking my a$$.

But my learning curve has been steep and I have worked hard at my swimming. No doubt when stacked up against a serious swimmer, I am still not fast. However, I can complete the workouts right up there with the faster swimmers in my class and my stroke has some semblance of efficiency. Best of all, I really enjoy the classes and my solo pool sessions.

I've signed up for an Xterra Triathlon in late August, so now I need to learn to swim outdoors!

Whole Lotta Running
Last year I ran my first official Ultramarathon, the Northfork 50. I completed the 50K version and had a great experience with the training and the race itself. This year, I've signed up to do the race again and will be joined by Jesper, who decided that all that running looked like fun! Having a race like this on the calendar is a serious motivator to stick to it; you cannot pull 31 miles on rocky mountainous trails at altitude out of your a$$.

My training took a slight detour in March when I began a process to resolve my long-standing piriformis syndrome. I embarked upon weeks of PT (lots of stretching and exercises), trigger point dry needling, a gate analysis and finally gait modification. It wasn't until May that my 'new' gait started to feel 'normal'. I think my new form is faster, but my real hope is that it is more sustainable.

One of the negatives from my training last year was that I ended up spending so much time without Jesper. This year has been different. During the week, we each do our own runs as they fit into our busy work schedules. But for the weekends, we synched our training plans so we would be running the same distances. On Saturday mornings we head off to a trail head and run the same course. We run at different paces and Jesper finishes a bit before me, but not so much that he's waiting bored out of his skull. We catch glimpses of each other throughout the run and get to chat when we pass each other at an out-and-back. Afterward, we hop in a cold river or lake for an ice bath together. Then we have a post-recovery meal together. We also both go to bed pretty early together! We sometimes do our shorter runs together, but just knowing we are both doing a 10-miler the day after a 22-miler engenders togetherness without us needing to be on the trail at the same time and place. Yep - we like doing things together!

We are up to 22 miles for our long runs and almost 55 miles per week total. All on trails. Lots of it very hilly and rocky. We are both amazingly injury free and feeling pretty good! The big race in in three weeks (on July 16th). Wish us luck!

New Sports
Once again, Jesper and I have added new sports to our already full bin of outdoor activities. We've taken up Stand Up Paddle Boarding, otherwise known as 'SUPping'. This is a sneaky way to get an awesome whole body workout in without you even realizing it!

The Front Range of Colorado has seen an explosion of bike parks over the last year or so. The newest, Valmont Bike Park, is very close to our house. Jesper got us both dirt jump bikes to ride the slopestyle, dirt jumps and pump track at this amazing new FREE venue right in Boulder. No pics of us yet, but stay tuned for AIR!

I hope to write more about our upcoming race and the other adventures we have planned for the summer!