Whether Rain, Snow, Sun…

A new year brings opportunity for new challenges. The first week of the year, I spent mapping out some of the events for the upcoming year. Since I did not make the Western States lottery this year, I needed to expand my experiences. Looking at some of the race website, the one that really caught my attention was the Hard Rock 100. Looks like it is not so much of a run but rather 100 miles of adventure racing. Unfortunately, entry must also be gained through a lottery so I have my fingers crossed that my name will be selected.

To prepare for running in all types of conditions, I try to do my runs no matter what the conditions. This might mean running at 11 PM at night after all the work of the day is finished. Other times it might mean getting up at 5:30 AM. A couple weeks ago, we were up in the mountains, in the middle of a heavy sleet and snow storm. I left our house and in about 30 minutes reached about 7500′. Conditions were close to a white-out. The wind blew straight into me, snow blowing sideways and hitting me in the face. I wore sunglasses just to be able to keep my eyes open, otherwise the wind and snow kept pelting me in the eyes. So running in a white-out with sunglasses covered in snow, and high stepping through nearly a foot a fresh snow, I was reminded how much commitment training for the long distance requires. I looked around and wondered how many other people were running at a higher altitude than me at that moment. Is this true dedication or a little craziness? That’s probably what the snow plower thought when he passed me going up the hill: WHAT AN IDIOT! Luckily he didn’t see me a few minutes later when I ran right into a snow bank. It would have only confirmed that I was an idiot running in the snow. A couple days later, back in Santa Rosa, the rain poured down during most of my 21 mile run. At some points, you just need to look at it as an adventure. My rationale is days when I run in bad conditions, only prepare me mentally to endure the events where things just don’t go right. I can reach inside during a hard day and say, “This is nothing.”

With the 508 as one of my major goals this year, I question whether to ride or run on a Saturday or Sunday when I can only do one. I think it is easier to run in bad weather than ride. I’ll admit that I’m a little nervous about taking out a good bike and riding a few hours in downpour. I’m more worried about getting some rain in some areas of the bike where rain shouldn’t go. So my riding has suffered the last month because of all the wet weather. If the rain continues, I’ll pull out the wind trainer. Nothing better than spending a couple hours, spinning in front of the TV.

And on top of the weather, my stomach has been cramping on a lot of my runs. Not sure what is going on but it’s been a little tough to deal with on some longer runs. Usually it doesn’t kick in til about an hour into a run. Some days are fine but lately most have been a struggle. In the past, this would typically happen during the first few weeks following a marathon but since my last marathon was in early December, I can’t put my finger on it this time. For now, I’m blaming this on all the stress at work over the last two months.

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