Monday, April 30, 2012

Le Taper Rage

So.  The Ice Age Trail 50 is less than two weeks away, and an ultramarathon taper means an ultra-emotional runner.  Allow me to explain.

I first experienced the mini-rollercoaster that is taper before my first marathon.  And I gotta admit - it gets better with each race.  But still, consider the circumstances: you've spent considerable time, effort, and money training for an event.  A marathon - 4 months, maybe?  An ultra - depending on your base mileage before training, we're talking a 6-month prep period.  You've paid an ungodly sum that you don't tell non-running friends about to enter yourself into whichever suffer-fest you picked.  You've mostly stopped drinking and staying out late on Fridays and Saturdays so you can get up before 6 a.m. to run for four or five hours, back to back on Saturdays and Sundays.  You've overcome emotional and physical hurdles, probably shelled out for new shoes at some point, and probably done some things you're not proud of, like rinsing a cut leg in dirty creek water, teaching yourself to pee in the woods like it ain't no thang, and begging the baby Jesus to let you break your ankle so you can justify a 911 call and Flight for Life airlift from whatever remote trail you are on.  You know your body inside and out - what foods will go down well at certain mileages, how a training run will play out if you get exactly 5.43 hours of sleep but avoid dairy before but also wear those socks with the little nubby thread under your left middle toe.  YOU'VE GOT IT ON LOCK.  And then, two or three weeks before the race, you stop.

Enter the taper rage.  Your body needs a break - you have to stop.  And you have to trust that you did it right.  The right mileage, the right core strengthening work, the right nutrition.  You have to go out for 8-mile "long runs" that feel stupid, but you can't tell anyone because you risk sounding condescending  ("...going out for an easy eight tonight...oh, you're training for a 10k?!  That's awesome, good for you!" sounds awful even when you say it in complete sincerity) or crazy.  And you start to worry.

Things to worry about before race day:
-the weather
-getting sick
-the weather
-tripping down stairs
-twisting an ankle while on an easy run
-not sleeping before the race (I lose a lot of sleep over this)
-oversleeping before the race
-wearing the wrong socks
-getting sick
-packing the wrong stuff in a drop bag
-going out too fast
-the weather

It's hard to reign it in, and for the next two weeks, I'll be itching to just get out and run.  Let's do it.  Let's just go out to the trail RIGHT NOW and run 50 just to make sure we're good.

Coming up next: a post detailing the reasons I'm good.  It's going to be ok.  I know what I'm doing and I'm ready.  I just need to remind myself like, every five minutes!
My sisters and I ran part of the course Saturday, the segment just before the finish.  Deep breaths, Kim, deep breaths!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Additions to the gear arsenal!

Saucony Ride 4's (my 3rd pair; wanted to get some before Saucony switches to an 8 mm drop on these shoes) and Zensah calf sleeves.  Modeled post-5-hour trail run on the Ice Age Trail in SEWI!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Friday/Finishing Holy Hill

Remember that ill-fated 30-miler?  The one where my dad picked me up because I'd essentially run an ultramarathon by myself and STILL had miles to go before I reached my car?  I don't, because I was mentally decimated by the end, but maybe you do.

The beginning of my lovely trail at Pike Lake State Park.
Except I took this when I got was a little dark when I started.

Well, yesterday, on a beautiful day in the southern Kettle Moraine, I ran that route backwards, finishing the lengthy, hilly, and beautiful Holy Hill segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.  I woke up at 5 a.m. to get out to Pike Lake State Park, then ran out for two hours, turned around, and ran back.  It was glorious - good temps, blue sky, bright sun, and a nice mix of farm, forest, hills, and meadows.
Trail to the right, view to the left...obviously, as a sucker for a view, I turned left.
They were right about that view!  Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians.  And PB Berry Blast!

My trail is so badass that there are animal skulls sitting on the trail blazes.  What does your trail have?!

One of my favorite sections: boardwalk over marsh, next to a farm.  The trail comes out next to the farmhouse and you're basically running through these people's front yard.  Not awkward at all.

Post-run at Pike Lake.  It was a challenging 4 hours, but left me with so many endorphins that that LaraBar was the BEST EVER, and my water was the BEST thing I'd EVER drunk, and every song that came on the radio was the BEST song EVER.  Love it!

And as a nice bit of closure in terms of the tough call I made to get picked up after 30 miles...I found out that when my dad rescued me on the road, I was still 8 miles from my finish.  Which means I did the right thing by calling and am officially not a wimp.  Yesssss.