Saturday, September 8, 2012


Since Clear Lake Tri, I have been faced with beginning the focused running training that will hopefully prepare me for Cactus Rose 50.

Truth be told, I have really struggled with whether or not I honestly want to do this race.  I have not felt in my heart that I wanted to for a while and I was hesitant to even mention it to anyone.

I did tell a few people close to me and they all confirmed for me that it made no sense to show up to start a race that my heart wasn't in.  Cactus Rose is not the kind of race that one can traverse without their mind and heart focused on the finish line.

I made the decision to train for a solid few weeks and then make my decision.  Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about the distance of this race.  Others have a hard time to believe this when I tell them that the 50 mile distance is challenging me emotionally, but it has been.  Yes, I have run several 50 milers, however, I DNFd CR50 in 2010 and to go down that road again is not on my list of things to do this fall.

Thinking that getting through some higher mileage cycles and seeing how my body adjusted to the increasing running mileage, I could better discern my fitness level for CR, I set about setting a date to make a decision.  During these higher mileage cycles, I have not let up the intensity or frequency of the swims and spins/cycling as well as weight-training that I had taken on.  It has been a challenge to get all of these workouts in, but the payoff has been worth the effort.

Tomorrow is that day.  But my decision is made.  I am in.  My heart is in.  My head is in.  My fitness is better than it has ever been.  I will run Cactus Rose 50.  And God-willing, I will finish Cactus Rose. 

Another decision that I have had on my mind is whether or not to run the "training run" in Bandera on Sept 22.  At this point, I still can't commit one way or the other.  I will think on this a bit more before making a final decision.  The two reasons I would not do it are the time it takes away from the family and the risk of injury on the CR course which could take me out of the race altogether.

As ridiculous as this sounds, if I should end up with an injury at CR, I would prefer it be while running a race rather than a training run.   There are obvious benefits to running the trail before race day, but I am not convinced that those benefits are worth the risk.

I am entirely convinced that my current level of fitness and endurance is the direct result of the cross-training taken on while participating in the sport of Triathlon this year.  I have trained harder than I ever did while "just running" and yet, I feel stronger, fitter, healthier, and have more endurance than I believe I ever had before.  Therefore, I will continue with the current training regime, only letting up the last week or so before CR.  I can not duplicate that difficult course in my hometown, but I can run on trashed legs and ride that fine line between fatigue and injury.  It will require me to be completely in tune with my physical state and not ignore any type of pain, ache, etc.  It will also require me to be diligent in my daily nutrition to prevent my body from breaking down.  This is a challenge for me, as I often forget to eat, but one benefit of tri training has been the increased appetite it has afforded me.  I wake up hungry! 

Here's to that little race in Bandera!  Happy training all!


  1. Glad to hear you're "all in" for CR50!
    Also, if you think you're in great shape now, just wait until you are in the midst of Ironman training! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

  2. It's all your fault....Thank you! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    1. All my fault, not so fast, sister; I'm merely throwing gasoline on the fire that's already there.....which is pretty much exactly what you do for me as well.

  3. If your heart is in it, you will finish it strong!

    1. Yes, P1t0! Working against the heart in the ultimate uphill battle!

  4. This was a great post; very honest. I remember all of the intensity surrounding the builds that my father did leading up to WS100 in the late 70's and early 80's. Ultra's are not something that you go into without a certain respect and hunger.

    Glad to hear you are drinking the tri Kool-aid! The sport can only benefit with athletes like yourself coming on board.

    1. Thank you, Duckie! What a beautiful compliment!
      I can honestly say I never would have pictured myself EVER in a tri...Good thing I am not the One in control!

  5. Sounds like you're "hungry" in both senses of the word!

    You can use both your physical and mental strength from Clear Lake to this challenge. Just be your steady, dilligent self and good things will happen:)

    And who doesn't like a 'revenge/redemption' event!!

  6. Why do you think you feel so strong from the triathlon training, and why did the pure run focused training not do that for you?

    1. Kyle, those questions both stopped me in my tracks! Gave me a reason to really consider WHY the tri training is leaving me feeling stronger. I am not a person who can give necessarily objective analytical feedback, however, subjectively, I can say, that I think when I was training for the ultras by only running, I was "over-training" my legs. When I am only running, my recovery is more running. These runs are much slower, but it is still running. Ultra training doesn't allow for many days of complete rest, so, running is done everyday. I know that there are people out there that can run many weeks of high mileage and run every day without issue. I have found that I experience injury and break down at 75 - 80 mile weeks, especially if I run several in a row.
      My limited experience thus far with the tri training has allowed me to run a bit less, but not sacrifice endurance/cardio building. I can recover with a bike or a swim. I may be nursing a tender ankle, but can still put in a very hard swim without affecting my ankle thereby allowing it to rest and my endurance to continue to climb.
      I was curious to see how I would feel once I upped the running mileage for the longer race and after 3 weeks of increasing the mileage, I am really surprised at the level of strength that I feel I have especially at the end of the activity. I feel as though I get stronger and can push more the longer I go.
      Another side effect of the tri training is that my consistency has increased. I very rarely take a complete rest day now. I typically have at least two workouts of some kind each day and feel best when I get them in.
      One other note is nutrition. I am primarily plant based and in the past have never been able to stomach the amount of food required to sustain my calorie output.
      The cross training has increased my appetite and desire to eat greatly. Typically after a run, I do not like to eat. I can barely force food down. After a bike or a swim, however, I am starving, and this in turn has triggered something in my system that now has me ready and able to eat after a run. Sometimes I have even become hungry on a run!
      Of course all of this is an experiment of one and I could find things to change at any moment. I will be sure to update the blog a bit more frequently as I watch this process unfold.

    2. I find it interesting that you seem to eat more with an increase in training. I am the opposite as I actually find myself eating less. When I did six 100 mile weeks in a row, prior to the Canadian Death Race, I definitely noticed that I was not eating as much.

      Good job on seeming to find a type of training that is working very well for you :) I hope that confidence continues!

      You know this, but just a reminder. We do not become stronger from breaking down our body, but from the recovery in between :) Seems like you've found a type of schedule that allows you to get the training in, recover, and enjoy it all at the same time.