A Race to Remember
Throwback Thursday is a good time to look back on happy memories AND look ahead at goals and plans. Looking at these photos taken at the 2016 Sky Island 50k at the Davis Mountains State Park in Fort Davis, Texas reminds me that I used to be a lot more fit than I am now. I had a blast at that race and I still consider that the toughest course I’ve ever run. I ran it again the next year , hoping to improve my time but instead I was even slower. Then I ran the 25k the next year with my husband .
As you can see in the above photo from the most recent race, I have gained a little weight since the first race. And when you are short, a little weight makes a big difference!
Time to Train
This year I have to get myself in shape because I am going to attempt the 50k again and I am very nervous! The cutoff time is even shorter and there’s no way I could finish it in time in the shape I’m in now. Ever since my injury and menopausal changes, I just haven’t been able to get back to that level of running, body weight, or strength. I am definitely fighting a tough battle with these hormone changes, but I can do something about the diet and try to be more consistent with the running. I’ve just been letting myself eat way too much ice cream, chips, and candy, again. And I basically just ate whatever I wanted all winter , which was mostly french fries and hot chocolate and all the bad carbs! Fluctuating energy levels have made it hard to run consistently each week. I have good energy weeks where I increase my mileage and then bad weeks where I can barely run. I’m hoping that eating better might help that a little but I believe some of this will just take patience and time. Everything I’ve read about ‘the change’ says that eventually these highs and lows even out. I also am working on strength with body weight exercises and hand weights. This race demands that you be strong and have endurance and energy. Being an over-50 runner is not easy, but it can be done.
I’m on Day 3 of feeling really motivated to improve my diet. If I can just get through the first two weeks without giving up, I know I can get back on track. I had to ask myself, what do I love more, eating junk or running? I chose running! I’ve been eating salads and chicken, eggs, veggies, the usual diet foods. I never broke my gluten free diet, but I did start eating gluten free bread for a few weeks and I am pretty sure that caused me a lot of inflammation. No more! I don’t have a lot of races on the schedule this year, and I’m glad. Racing too often means I’m never fully-recovered and can’t train like I should. The older I get, the more recovery I need. This race means a lot to me and I feel like I have never really run it as well as I’d like. The first two years had some hiccups with getting lost. And now I feel really under-trained, but I have until September to get ready. Hills and heat will be my life for the next few months. Wish me luck!
Learn from the past
These photos are from the second Sky Island 50k in which I really thought I would not make the cutoff. I was fighting hard and I made it, but I was almost last. I’m very proud of the exclusive hat that we received for finishing, as well as the medal. I discovered later than I was struggling with fatigue and dehydration from PMS in the race, but didn’t realize it at the time. Those shoes turned out to be terrible on rocks and caused me great frustration from the first miles. And those shorts no longer fit me, for now! This year I plan to run my own race, not so much chatting unless I am feeling really awesome, and have my watch set to remind me to eat and drink more often as that has been my downfall in many races. I’m no longer afraid of the course , instead I feel like I have enough experience to know what to expect and how to prepare. The high desert is a beautiful place, but it does have it’s unique risks, especially the risk of tripping on the constant rocks. I plan to work on my fancy footwork skills. Practice makes perfect! I’m coming for you Sky Island 50k!