Monday, September 8, 2014

The Road to Recovery is 48 Miles Long

I haven't really made it a secret that I have had a hard time recovering from AC. I was very patient the first three weeks (mostly). But at week 4 when I stopped a 10 min mile park jog smack in the middle of the park because it felt like torture, the frustration started to mount. And I admit I had a few doom and gloom thoughts about hormone imbalances, adrenal fatigue and never being able to run again. But when I was being rational, I was pretty sure it was just my legs, and specifically my quads, that were the problem - they were just healing slowly. Needing to know for sure, I did a workout on a hand bike (or upper body ergometer to get technical). No doubt I am a T-rex and very weak in the arms, but I was able to get in a good workout with a high heart rate and not feel like I was going to die afterwards. Unfortunately, before I got this all figured out I had to make a really tough decision.

Earlier this year I was invited to run at Les Templiers in France. Holy Cow - talk about mind blowing: someone was going to pay for *me* to go run around in France!! I was flabbergasted and overwhelmed by the invitation. What a dream come true! But the race organizers gave me an ultimatum while I was still struggling to run. I asked if I could delay my decision and even offered to pay any differences in airfare, but they needed a firm answer because they wanted to be able to replace me if I couldn't come. Even though this was an incredible opportunity, I felt like if they were paying my way, I had an obligation to uphold my end of the bargain and that was to race to the best of my ability and to contribute to the competitiveness of the race. I was optimistic that things would turn around quickly for me, but I wasn't training at all and essentially not even running, I didn't feel like I could accept the trip in good conscience. So unfortunately, running in France will have to wait for another year. I was bummed to withdraw but it did provide a sense of relief and caused me to stress out a lot less about the way my legs were feeling.

Scratching Les Templiers opened up my schedule for other adventures and after the hand bike trial, I felt like I was free to run easy, so why not go run 48 miles??

This past weekend a friend of mine organized a run around the Three Sisters volcanoes to celebrate her birthday. The loop is somewhere around 45 miles (Garmin miles, at least) with a couple extra miles tacked on to access the loop from a trailhead. I was actually really nervous for the distance, but I was promised an easy pace and I didn't want to miss out. Plus it was for my friend's birthday, so how could I say no?! Ironically, she got sick and ended up bailing, but I still had the good company of Ken, Dennis, and Cary.

The loop only has about 6,000' of gain (plus a couple hundred more from the trailhead), but there are a lot of sandy and gravel sections, plus lots of volcanic rock and the entire thing is between 5200 and 7020 feet (that's high for us flatlanders!), so not entirely easy either. But we were only out for adventure and good times, not fast paces. It is amazing run and I am glad I can check another one of Oregon's iconic trails off of my list.
Sunrise near Pole Creek and the old burn area
The boys are ready to run

Dennis gives us a geography lesson
Lots of beautiful springs

Our lunch site
Obsidian Falls

You know I am excited when I start taking selfies!
Admittedly, this run wasn't great for my popliteal tendinitis, but for the first time in weeks I remembered why I love running. The run was great for my spirit and if I am not enjoying running then my spirit probably needs healing more than anything. Who needs France to have a great running adventure??


Olga said...

Your selfie skills has improved. You also look very happy and healthy.

Rob said...

And Leave a little for RWB Camp in November! - the Krar wannabe