Sunday, July 15, 2012

Comfortable being uncomfortable

"To be successful you must be comfortable and being uncomfortable."

A friend posted this today.

I read it right after I spent the past several hours crying and freaking out about Squamish.

It hit home. It's only natural to be uncomfortable because I'm doing things differently. Smarter I hope. But change is hard, scary and uncomfortable.  
Common themes since I started running ultras last November: Getting to race weight, patellofermoral pain syndrome, and struggling with hills

Happy to report I'm at race weight. Things that made it happen...
  • Eating the right foods at the right time of the day. I needed to add protein earlier in the morning and eat more of my calories earlier in the day. 
  • Adding higher intensity workouts back into my program. Since I started training for Zion 100, I was 100% long slow runs. 
  • Incorporated more fish into my diet. I pretty much eat fish daily now. It's high in protein and low in fat. Quick to make. 
For anyone wanting to lose some weight, I recommend Daily Burn Tracker. There is an iPhone ap. It allows you to track what you are eating, has a huge database of foods and is quite simple to use. It helps you figure out how much protein, fat and carbs you need for the day. For me, it helped me realize some of the foods I thought are high in protein, really aren't. 

Patellofermoal pain syndrome
Also known as my stupid knee. This began in November at Ultracentric. It's been off an on since then. I'm going to physical therapy twice a week and working on a few things...

Problem:   My right leg was 2x as strong as my left:
Update:     Strength in both legs are about equal. 

Problem:   Flexibility was horrible. Not bad, horrible. Like worse than a 2x4. 
Update:     Getting much better. Still have more work to do on the hamstring flexibility. 
                 The right hamstring is still tighter than the left 

Problem:   While the right leg was stronger, it was less stable than the left. 
Update:     Seeing improvement, but more work to be done. 

Problem:    I'm very quad dominant. Hamstrings and gluetes are weak.
Update:      I'm working my way to buns of steel. The hamstrings have a long way to go. 

It is going to be a long road, but I'm seeing improvements. 

Living in Texas, we just don't get much hill training, unless we make our own hills. So I've been making my own hills, 15% incline on the treadmill for an hour. Gradually work my way up to 15% to warm up and keep that baby there for an hour. It's the hardest workout I do. I'm drenched in sweat from head to toe. My heart rate soars. 

But my efforts are paying off. Went out to Big Cedar, where we have more hills than Northshore where I typically run. I ran every hill but two yesterday and the effort was so much easier. 

To put this in perspective, I ran Big Cedar for the first time in April. It was a hot, humid day, but not nearly as hot as it was here yesterday. I had to walk every hill and my body felt like I had run 40 miles the next morning. My ankles were sore, my hamstrings, everything. Today, I feel great. Big win here. 
Fun at Big Cedar

What's next
In about 3 weeks, I'm running Squamish 50. Nestled in between Vancouver and Whistler, BC, this race will be the toughest race I have ever done. I'll get to test my hill training. Over the 50 miles, I'll climb 10,000 feet. Gulp. 

I've also been focusing on eliminating the junk miles. I have a tendency to overtrain. Run miles just to have miles. Now, each workout has a purpose. My weekly mileage is less. Some would scoff and say I can't run an ultra on lower miles. Phooey. Martin ran sub 24 at Western States on an average of 30-35 miles a week. he did a peak week at training camp of 70. Other than that, he was in the 30s. He went into the race healthy and strong. 

I have been overtraining for what my body can handle. Just because someone runs 100 miles a week, that doesn't mean my body can handle 100 miles a week. It couldn't handle 70 miles a week. I have more strength training and building to do before I can run those miles. My skeleton needs to be able to catch up to my brain.

But my brain is probably my biggest challenge right now.

Going to try to be comfortable with uncomfortable.