Friday, October 26, 2012

Indian Summer

For a gal that seems to be missing Chicago like crazy right now,

the suburban Indian Summer that my mind had long forgotten about in my 10 year absence has been a lovely distraction. 

Running life post CM12 hasn't been anything too exciting. Recovery has been my #1 priority after my disordered and defeating year. Miles on trails covered in leaves that are a no-mans-land to everything but the wildlife that calls it home have a peaceful elegance. Even the coyotes and bucks don't do the justice of acknowledging human presence, where they go about their business as I pass by them within an arms reach as if I don't even exist.

You don't get that in Chicago.
And it scares the crap out of me every time.

My legs really haven't put in many sensational miles in the past few weeks, mainly I've been heading out the door with no expectations and just running. It's been lovely, slow, and just what I need. If anything, taking that week of post marathon was nothing more than an affirmation of how much my body loves movement and I'm not defined by my running.

I've ran for a lot of reasons in my life, some well warranted and some for the sake of having control. These days I feel like running more than ever is for the right reasons:

to stay healthy, body and soul.

I've had a lot of epic fails this year. Each one leaving different wounds than the last, some of which seem to still be healing. When I play back in my mind the events of my running life for the year, I almost want to put myself into the category of goal obsessed. Most of the year I found myself plugging away at my running goals, all the while neglecting some of the personal goals that I also set for myself. I let myself get carried away where I ended up putting myself into what could have become a very unsafe place, but somehow managed to stay on the safe side of the tracks hanging on by the skin of my teeth. 

It's all about perspective, and I think that a lot of humans (runners especially) have a skewed perspective on life, goals, and achievement where progress never seems to come fast enough. Nothing like botched year of racing to put my life and training into perspective testing me to make sure that I'm heading out the door for the right reasons. These days I'm running because I want to, not because I have another goal to chase down or another PR calling my name.

Sadly, I cannot remember the last time my legs felt as fresh and springy as they do now. Makes it that much easier to get out the door to hit up trails and do some creative speed work. These days I'm just testing the waters to see what type of speed the legs can pump out on rolling hills, into strong head winds, and on unfamiliar terrain all for the sake of fun.

Yesterday managed to somehow get in some pretty solid splits running into 20+ mph winds that left my legs more sore than running my last marathon.

Ladder 400/800/1600/800/400
Splits 1:19, 2:45, 5:55, 2:46, 1:19

Pretty sure that the only reason my legs were able to pump out these splits is because I've learned to brave the fear of resting post goal races and instead have decided to embrace it. 
More on that in a later posting.

To all those who gave feedback on my last posting, thank you. I like the conversation and discussion it created, whether you agreed with me or not. As I read back through that posting, I can see how it may sound like I'm an elitist @$$ who made a poor choice in some of the wording used to describe us non-professional athletes...but I'm not going to make any edits to it because I think it stirred up just the right amount of opinions and I stand by what I wrote. If you haven't joined the discussion yet, I would love to hear your opinion.


  1. I loved this post Britt and it was exactly what I needed to hear!! I've been training 60-70 mi/week for the last few months for cross country season and now with two races to go as I back down I keep having to check myself mentally and tell myself "YOU NEED TO REST." I keep thinking.. maybe I should still double this week, or I should be over 60.. 59 miles is not the same as 60.

    I feel like sometimes when you want something so badly it can blind you.. I know I underestimate the power of a good rest day and sometimes you trick yourself into feeling invincible but the truth is if you don't love what you do your body won't love you for it. Being "miles" obsessed and needing to hit certain time, certain numbers can stand in the way from letting you actually achieve those goals if you don't listen to your body and let it rest before you expect big things from it. Sometimes you just have to feel the run and run solely because you want to and only as far as you actually want to go. Awesome post!!

  2. "I'm running because I want to, not because I have another goal to chase down or another PR calling my name." Best sentence Ive read in a long time. It pretty much sums up how I feel (much more eloquently than I would have worded it). The past 2 weeks ive ran a few times, and actually look forward to getting out the door and experiencing some cold weather and solitude on the path... Of course, the 14 weeks leading up to Fox Valley I was also highly engaged and excited to run since you were an awesome motivator and coach :)

    Ive come to realize that enjoying running is one of the main components of staying healthy. When running becomes a chore, the body rebels and breaks down and begs for some rest. Your trails out in the suburbs look and sound so appealing away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    ps- I think you need to do one more 5K before this year is out. That is all :)

  3. It looks nice I would love to go there. I bet that it is amazing to run those trails and enjoy it like you used to do it.