If you are going to get lost in the backcountry, do it with 17 of your best friends (ok 3).
Miwok recovery is over. Well, dang better be, because I have my first "A" race of the year coming up, yep less than 6 weeks til States. While I am excited and dedicated and gearing towards having a stellar race there, the last two weeks of unstructured recovery running have reminded me of something: I love to run. I just love to run.
Training and racing provide structure, goals and room for improvement and growth. But just running about without a care in the world about distance, splits or how it fits into some greater plan beats all any day of the week to me. Last weekend, Nathan and I headed down to LA to visit Jonathan and Krissy was in town too. We just ran free, took lots of pictures and acted really really goofy. Then ate copious amounts of food and did it again the next day. I ran a total of less than 50 miles for my first week post-Miwok and never even thought twice about.
Nathan, Jonathan and Krissy. My favorites.
This week I started taking baby steps back to training but knew a second recovery week was definitely still in order. I started doing some of my supplemental training (heat training and uphill hiking) but still stayed keenly aware of my bodies limitations. I didn't fight when I was tired or hungry or sore. I rolled with it. Recovery from an ultra definitely reconnects you with your body intuition. Maybe you are more willing to listen to your body when you are recovering or maybe the signals are just that much stronger. I enjoy recovery, I enjoy the lack of structure. Maybe I am at a point in my running where I am just plain fit enough to be able to take off for a weekend to run back to back 20 milers or more and not bat an eye. Go for a weekend adventure to discover new trails with friends. I definitely have a level of fitness that is a luxury (hard-earned through training), but I enjoy using that luxury to just have a blast running. That is something I need to carry with me as I ramp up the training again- the luxury, the love, the fun. I think there is so much hype surrounding WS that it is easy to miss the point. It's easy to forget to run for fun, freedom and bliss. That's why I do it and that is the only feeling and motivation that will carry for a 100 miles.
So tomorrow, I start back to it for a few more weeks before taper. It's a stressful time (peak training) in a stressful time (I am moving), but I am going to do my best to smile with every step, listen to my body, push back against any neurotic self-doubts, and just have a hell of a good time. Yes, I like the sound of that. Very much so.