Snow Rollers, Compromises, and an Ultra Reboot

I know, I know… technically I’ve had about 9 “week ones” so far. And although for the past month-ish, I’ve been getting my groove back after blowing out my ankle at skiing in Utah, this week is the first week I’ve started getting seriously serious about the 50 k I committed to back in August when I was in the best running shape in my life. Check out this Kim Ingleby video with triathlon running tips:

So while the wheels fell off for a moment and I was hanging out in a purgatory of self-misery/I don’t give a dam, and training willy-nilly at the gym and such…

This week I actually sat down and planned my next move, or more so, the series of moves that will occur over the next 12 weeks. One of my biggest “issues” with training, in general, isn’t the act of training itself. I love being active. I would run/bike/ski/lift whatever around the clock if time allowed for it.

No, my biggest struggle is allowing myself the opportunity to do what I need to do. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel exceptionally selfish carving out such a huge block of weekly time to working on a goal that benefits no one but yourself? I must set up and stick to my own personal training plan. If I don’t, things won’t go my way especially after checking out the Snow Sports Industry Association Trade Show in Utah late January.

I’m fairly certain anyone with a modicum of responsibility knows where I’m coming from… Like, if your external to-do list is miles long, how can you justify blowing that off for the internal? Am I just a bit shy of crazy? In January we went skiing, in December we did our desert road trip in Arizona and now I’m getting all geared up for a season full of running!

This week I’ve finally decided it was time for one of my uglier alter egos to be put to rest. Martha the Martyr – the bitch that wants to do everything herself and then complains that no one will help her, is on her way out.

Some weeks ago, I started asking for help, and it has been strangely liberating. I mean, nothing crazy. More like silly stuff that goes a long way – asking my fiancee to take care of the dishes, for example… Things that add up in the long run, but nobody really minds doing with some mild prodding.

Even though the help I ask for may only shave 5 minutes off my to-do list, it’s the thought that there’s one less thing on my list dangling over me while I’m out on the trails that counts. My work actually requires me to travel a lot so understanding how to keep my running going while out on the road may be a challenge at times.

This week’s goal was to hit about 34 miles. That’s the harsh reality of adventure sports. I mixed it up with mostly skiing, a little treadmill, and a bit of elliptical, plus supplemented with 5/3/1 Boring But Big for my lifting regime. Even after a year and a dramatic change in sports, I still have mad love for that program.

My long slow run was slated to be 12 miles, and I decided to hit the backwoods for a pretty hilly 2.5 hours. My friend Zoe tagged along, and she’s a freaking tiny tank who pushed me the whole time. In all the 12-milers I’ve actually run, I think this was probably more brutal. So now that that’s tidied up a touch, there’s the other thing. So different from doing the TransRockies 6-day run but it’ll take a while to get to that level again.

The whole, it’s really really too cold to run outside safely thing. Obviously, from my joyous rants and snow-blown photos lately, I have been picking up cross-country skiing as an alternative to trying to train indoors. I know the laws of specificity are not in my favor here, nor are the input/output the same, but using some janky bro-science, I’ve come to the conclusion that an hour of skiing is about equivalent to 5 miles of running for me intensity wise.

Long story short, I fell just 3 miles shy of my goal, but if the “helper gods” are willing, I should be able to cut out of work for a minute and hop on the treadmill tonight to bang this week out of the ballpark. Remember when we checked out Maine? Now those were the days…

Other than finally coming to the realization that I need to be actively pushing myself towards accomplishing this ultra without being scared to be a little selfish, I think the other coolest thing about this first week was getting to witness the atmospherical anomaly that are “snow rollers.” Apparently, the weather conditions are just right for these balls to form spontaneously all over the fields.

Next week is a crush week, I’m aiming for 40 miles with a 16 mile long slow run. Be it in the backwoods on my skis, the YMCA on the machines, or weather willing, through the streets of town on my own two sneakers, I’m ready to tackle come what may as I love to run. Sometimes I’m wondering what I’m doing here and although I’ve been trying to avoid blogging about this with every fiber of my soul, I realize what a significant role writing it out has played for me in wake of any of my major accomplishments.