Aloha! I am writing this post from sunny Hawai’i. Samwell is participating in the Kona Ironman THIS WEEKEND, and I’m along for the ride! I won’t steal his thunder and tell you how amazing it is here.. we’ll save that for another post!
So, as I mentioned, the Leadville 100 happened. The race finished for me very early on Sunday morning. My body pretty much revolted against the idea of sleeping for the first 12 hours after the race. Then my body revolted against moving at all for the next 24 hours. Sunday night was soreness at its worst. But, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was feeling back to normal by maybe Wednesday of the next week. Except for the need for naps. I milked that for at least a full week.
I took three full weeks off of running. The first week was easy. The second week was more difficult. The third week was spent in Iceland, so that was super easy. In the last few weeks, I have been (very) slowly working my way back into running. The miles have been a little bit quicker than my easy days during LT100 training. My hamstring is still not completely back to normal though, but it’s feeling pretty good.
I’m stealing the next part of the post from Sweat Once A Day (who credits it to Ann Trason, an all-star ultrarunner). The idea behind the exercise is that whether you had a great race or it left something to be desired, you probably did a few things right and a few things you wish you could have done differently. The hope is that you can continue to do the things you did well, and improve upon the things that didn’t go so well.
- Positive Attitude – I never went through a very low period. I was pretty mad after I fell and banged up my knee, and towards the end I was ready to be done, but I never hated running and hated life and hated everything around me. So, huge win. I think I am pretty good at moving forward and focusing on the next aid station, rather than thinking about how many miles are left, so I’m hoping I can keep rolling forward this gravy train.
- Time in Aid Station – I think I probably spent less than 5 minutes at each aid station (and probably closer to 1-2 minutes at some of them). I even passed right through one! So overall, I think I did pretty good at this. Sam only had to push me out of Twin Lakes once when I wanted to stay for the party.
- Nutrition – On the whole, I would consider this a win. I think I was maintaining a good calorie intake the whole race, starting with probably 250 calories/hour and finishing with around 150 calories/hour. By the end, I was more reluctant to eat food, but would still listen to my rational pacers and crew. I think there is a bit of room for improvement (I need some more non-sweet alternatives), but on the whole, I’d call no vomiting and continuous eating for 22 hours a win.
The “Opportunities For Improvement” – Can you tell I work in business?
- Downhill Running – I’m a cautious downhill runner. I have gotten better, but there is still room for improvement. I can crush people going uphill, but they zoom right by me on the downhill. I’m okay on the smooth, gentle grade, but I need to keep working on the steeper, more precarious sections.
- Don’t Fall – I feel like this one is a bit of a cop out. But seriously. If I am going to fall, it should at least be because I’m moving with a bit of speed. Not in a conga line of walking. Ugh. Watch your feet, Danielle!
- Push My Limits – Before I talk about this one, I should say that I am completely happy with how Leadville 100 turned out. I wouldn’t change anything about the race (except maybe not falling). But.. I also think there are some sections that I could have pushed myself a little bit more. Maybe I could have gone out a bit faster in the beginning and not ended up in the conga line of walkers? Maybe I could have run down Powerline a bit faster, since my quads never gave out during the race? It’s really hard to say if doing these things would have hurt me more down the road, but in general, I would like to get more comfortable playing with the limits of my comfort zone.
Also. I’ve been contemplating what to do next for the last month. I’m still not completely sure, but I’ve flushed out a few (fitness) goals.
- I would like to get a faster half-marathon and marathon time in the next year or so. I don’t feel that my current PRs are reflective of what I am capable of, so before getting back to long trail races I’d like to increase my speed a bit. I would really like to qualify for the NYC Marathon via a half-marathon time, which means a sub-1:32. Definitely a high goal for me, so we will see.
- More cross training! I’m never good at cross training. I love running and not much else, but there are some things I would like to try out. Rock climbing, for example, was on my summer bucket list, but I haven’t had the guts to get out and do it yet. I also really like kayaking (hard to do on a regular basis in Colorado, but maybe rowing in the gym would be better than nothing?). Otherwise, I have been forcing myself to do some cycling and strength training at home. I will get back into yoga, even though I don’t love it, I think it’s good for me. And I can always throw a few fitness classes in at the gym to mix things up. The goal is cross-training 2 times a week. In order to stick to it, I’m just committing to doing it in some form or another, not necessarily a certain kind. I don’t want to set myself up to fail.
- I can’t completely get my mind off of dirt… I’ve been toying with throwing my name in the Western States 100 lottery. Western States is sort of like the Boston Marathon of 100s. You need to qualify for it by completing another ultra from a list of qualifying races. Even after qualifying it, you have to enter a lottery. There are other complications to the system, but last year the probability of getting your name drawn with one entry was around 7.9%. So, that’s a possibility. Maybe? Maybe.
So, those are the thoughts twirling around my mind at the moment. We’ll see how the next few weeks of running goes before we put anything in stone. I’ll keep you posted!