off season


After Comrades I had fully resolved to not train. I had been training and racing so hard for so long that I  was ready for a break. I decided that I would take the rest of June to not train specifically, to enjoy my life (and my birthday) and get rejuvenated. I have run when I felt like it, listened when my body asked for extra long naps and slept in on a Sunday morning.

I haven't taken any real break like this in a while. From the time I started to focus on qualifying for the Olympic Trials in late 2010, I have been in near constant pursuit of the next peak of fitness. And although I haven't burnt out or overtrained in that period of time, I still think, in the long term, burning, burning, burning is not a sustainable strategy. I just want to WANT to run for as long as I am able, and sometimes feeding that want means doing less of it or backing off.

I gave myself the month and I have enjoyed it. I have had accidental double days and plenty of zero days too.  

I was not completely satisfied with my race at Comrades. I know my fitness was much better than the day I had and part of me initially after the race wanted to, once again, leverage my fitness for another race. I wanted to prove how fit I was. But I didn't allow myself to pursue another race. I was very resolute before Comrades that I wouldn't simply rush on to the next race and I stuck to it. I am glad I did. There is no race or run or victory or time that can undo my Comrades race. Instead of trying to fill the unsatisfied feeling with something else, I simply let it be. I see that that dissatisfaction is fuel for the fire to come back even stronger and faster. It keeps you hungry. It keeps you pushing your limits. Now that I am starting to train again, I am motivated to reach for new heights.

Always in stride with the Baker

This past weekend I decided that I would kick off my training as any zaney ultrarunner would do: by running a 50k. The week before Nathan and I had been running on the Flume Trail on my birthday and he said it would be fun to run a 50k together. I thought it would be as well and suggested the Inside Trail Race's Marin Ultra Challenge. I am pretty sure when he suggested it, he didn't mean the following weekend, but I had been pondering the race for quite some time and made a strong pitch.

Heading up Old Springs, mile 30
Photo by Gary Wang

The race itself was low-key and fun. Nathan and I ran with fellow ninja and good friend Peter the whole time and we made quick work of the 33 mile race with nearly 7000 feet of ascent. Going in I thought I would just cruise, but between the three of us, we managed to push the pace for such a stout course. I don't actually think I've ever pushed that hard in a trail race before. It was really fun to run together and play off one another, I would blame Nathan "the Hammer" or Peter "The half-stepper" for the pace but I know I am equally responsible (going up Heather Cut off apparently I got the nickname Devon "Two Switchbacks ahead"). We finished what we started together, even working our way up in to co-4th place (I was first lady from the start) after hammering down Redwood Creek trail in low 7's. Good friends, good fun, good trails, great race.

 Photo by Tanford Tahoe
  Photo by Tanford Tahoe

All in all, I am very thankful I took a little break from the constant focus and training. I am ready to train, excited to race again and ready to explore my own limits.