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In Transition

While I was out on a little jog last weekend, I realized it’s been almost four months since Cascade Crest. FOUR MONTHS. That’s probably plenty sufficient for an off season, huh?

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Especially since the next race on my calendar is now only 6 weeks away (lol), and the first adventure run just a few weeks after that (!!!), and then the next race something like 17 days after that.

2016

So it’s really, truly time to train again. Like, eight weeks ago.

In the spirit of better late than never, I declared the end of my off season two weeks ago and officially started “training” again. Two weeks later, I declare there’s room for improvement.

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The problem with really embracing an off season for more than a few days(/months), is you start to develop habits and behaviors that do not necessarily get along with training. Habits like drinking more than a couple of beers in one evening. Or staying out past your bedtime six nights in a row. Or not getting sufficient sleep. Or letting the vegetables in your fridge rot away while you share a platter of nachos and chalk it up as “dinner.”

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I distinctly remember one occasion where I pulled all of these stunts in a single sitting during my last round of off seasoning at the end of 2014. I was fraternizing with a dashing young brewer at the time and needed little convincing to “just get one more beer” (times four) and to choose darts at the local dive bar over my 9pm bedtime. While this kind of behavior might not be a huge problem when you have nothing to do the next day, it presents a slight conflict of interest when you have a long run on the calendar the next morning.

Which I did.

Let’s just say what happened next wasn’t the prettiest 18 miles of my life.

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That’s a lie. The scenery was very pretty, my running was not. After me, myself and my massive hangover suffered and slogged our way through the loop, I entered the run into the training log I shared with my coach at the time, and made a few notes about how it wasn’t the best ever thanks to “poor sleep, damn noisy neighbors”, an “inexplicably high heart rate” and “nearly falling off a cliff. Must’ve been the footing.”

My then-coach, who was also a friend and knew exactly what was going on, invited me to chat about my training over a beer. (Which was very thoughtful of him, since I clearly hadn’t had enough of that.)

“How much longer do you think you can pull those stunts for?” He fired at me, before reminding me about the necessity of sleep, proper nutrition, and reducing outside stress. He didn’t tell me to stop dating or to totally eliminate nachos from my diet (because he’s a smart man and didn’t want to be on the receiving end of a sweaty temper tantrum), but he did stress that if I wanted to train seriously and not kill myself, I needed to modify my behavior.

That conversation popped into my head more than once last Friday as I tried to stumble my way through a moderately long, moderately hilly run on a less-than-moderate amount of sleep. The last few weeks have been really heavy on work and play, with lots of holiday parties, 2016 planning, and out-of-towners-in-town, all distracting me from sufficient shuteye and healthy choices.

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The moral of this story is not that I’m quitting my social life (or my job) to train for the next eight months. Just that I can’t keep going at the pace I’ve been trying to sustain while also trying to run more.

So training two weeks ago was pretty clunky, but last week was a little bit better as I progressed into a slightly more balanced lifestyle that can support training.

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SO, let’s talk about the training, now that it’s happening again.

The Rundown:

  • Two weeks ago: 60(ish) miles, 6k(ish)’ of going up things, four rounds of yoga
  • Last week: 65 miles, 7k(ish)’ of up, two rounds of yoga, two rounds of playing on snowshoes, one mid-week hill workout

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  • Two weeks ago: 16(ish) mile long run with a couple summits of the backyard Butte.
  • Last week: 18.5(ish) hilly miles on Eugene trails

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The Highs:

  • TRAINING AGAIN. Off seasons kind of suck, but you realize how beneficial they are when you come back and find that a little distance from distance running made the heart grow WAY FONDER.

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  • Returning to the hump day hill workout. It’s always been one of my favorite ways to get sweaty during the week and apparently that hasn’t changed. The weather couldn’t have been shittier this week (it was precipitating hard from bottom to top and changed from rain to sleet to snow as you ascended) but there was something so gloriously joyous about pushing through it during each terrible grind to the summit.

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  • Playing in the snow #inbend with Sarah during our second annual Orphan Christmas. On Day One, I decided snowshoeing is a really easy and gentle. On Day Two, I realized that’s only true on packed snow. #Science

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  • Picking a goal race for next year and feeling totally inspired and totally excited about it. More soon.
  • Running long. I missed it.

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The Lows:

  • Realizing I don’t get to pick up right where I left off in the fitness department. So annoying.
  • The lighter sleep and heavier training combo. No good, dudes.

Focus this week (that’s almost over. Whoops. Blogging is hard.):

  • Sleep. I like it and I miss it.
  • Celebrating the New Year with more snowy shenanigans.

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  • Upping the long run game another smidge so I can hopefully reach the finish line at that race in six weeks.

Happy 2016 Friends! Celebrate hard and keep it safe out there!

5 Responses to In Transition

  1. Looks like some great trails to get back out there on, can’t wait to hear about your 2016 race plans!

  2. There is no greater frustration in my life than how important it is to get enough sleep. Well maybe there is, but that’s a big one. I’m also struggling with the job/training balance. And cold weather!

  3. Hi Emily – new reader! I just wanted to say that I think we’d be great friends, judging by your name alone :) I’m going to start scavenging through your older posts now :)

  4. Happy New Year Em!

    Hey I see yoga 4x?!?! That’s great – so this will be a permanent feature?

  5. Just dropping by to let you know that I got myself a 6-pack of Ninkasi Sleigh-er last weekend in your honor when I was looking for a new beer to try and it was awesome! Just the thing for a laid back dinner party with friends and dogs after my first solid long run as I crawl my way out of the “off season” and back into “real training”. Why are transitions so hard?! Good luck with yours!