I have shared my thoughts before after experiencing the post race blues. I have also written about race burn out, and taking some time off from racing. I feel that it is really important for me to share my thoughts about running and racing with such a large community of runners. We can’t always be charging forward towards the next big goal, we need time off to relax, recuperate, and put time into other things other than running. But the truth is, I am a runner, plain and simple. I run almost everyday, and if I am not running, I am probably either thinking about my next run, or have just finished my run for the day. But I am also a lot of other things, and I choose not to define myself as just a runner because I get burnt out, I get sore, I get tired, and plain and simply… I sometimes I struggle to find the motivation to get out there.
Since I completed Transalpine over a year ago, racing and I have had a serious love/hate relationship. I took a long time off after that crazy 7 day stage race that completely exhausted me and struck me down dangerously close to adrenal fatigue. After giving my body the time off it greatly needed, I started to get back at it, and was training very specifically for a 50km race. One that I had already ran before, but one I really wanted to do well at. And then I sprained my knee and was side lined for nearly the whole summer. And during that time, I was completely okay with being removed from racing. I hiked, I biked, I spent time with friends. I completely surrendered to my injury and took a big, forced break from racing.
But now? I am ready to conquer another challenge again. I have given myself the time I need to reset and I have reignited the spark to get out there and race again. I think allowing myself that time off, and taking that pressure off, I am finally excited to toe a start line!! I am living in Costa Rica for the next 5 months and that means I will be in an eternal summer this year. There won’t be an off season for me, I won’t stop for the winter, I am going to keep running.
So, since my summer didn’t pan out the way I wanted, what will my “winter” look like!? I am going to toe the line of two big races, that both terrify me and excite me…. exactly what races should do right!?
- The moon run – the website advertises it as a 60+km run. I like that, cause really? Is any ultra really ever what they say it will be on the website? This will be my longest single day event since I started running. It is said to be one of the toughest races here in Costa Rica and has a pretty high drop out rate. Probably what makes it is so tough is that it starts at 9am, when the day is already hot, with the goal of even the fastest runners finishing under the light of the moon. This will be a fist for me… I have never raced with my headlamp on before. I am so excited for a new challenge, I think it is finally time to race farther.
- The Coastal Challenge – This race shouldn’t really terrify me…I have done it before. In fact, I completed it 4 years ago, with hardly any running experience. I hadn’t even taken electrolytes before, let alone ran 6 days in a row, close to an ultra distance each day. But even though this time I have a lot more experience under my belt… I have the pressure on myself to do as well as I did last time. My challenge will be reminding myself that racing is fun, and that I am out there for the experience, not to push myself to beat myself from 4 years ago. The coolest part of the race this year? The race directors and the whole team are some of my best friends down here, and I have so many friends coming down to race, volunteer or work. It is going to be an amazing experience as long as I can keep reminding myself to enjoy the journey!
So, between guiding our Adventure and Wellness retreats, working full time for Run Like a Girl, and trying to lead my version of a normal life… I will hopefully be able to get in some serious training for the two biggest races to take on since Transalpine. Bring it on!