Saturday, July 20, 2013

Life After GDR

I recover physically from GDR fairly quickly than I expected and faster than I ever have from a hard race.  However, what I didn't anticipate was in the days that followed was to have this kind of sadness.  I wouldn't describe it as depression but rather more like baby blues.  I had woken up every morning with a plan on how I can chip away at my GDR goals.  Now, I am waking up without a race and without a sure plan.  It just feels weird not to have the "next race" on an agenda.

What I do have on my agenda is to take the next two weeks and run some slow recovery runs and allow my ankle and ITB to actually heal.  My knees really took a beating on this course.  I still felt my granny knees when I run Anne's Death Re-Run which was the last 13 miles of the GDR on FS roads the weekend after GDR.  This was a great run for me because a small group of us got together to help Anne finish out her run.  Anne had run 50 miles of GDR and got food poisoning and had to DNF.  Anne had recovered from a ruptured brain tumor just last year whereby she had to relearn to tie her shoes as well as some other basic skills and suffered some minor brain damage.  It was awesome to help support her through it.  She is one determined runner.  I admire that about her.

I run primarily with Jake for the 13 miles, and we re-hash our individual GDR races.  It's always fun to hear another runner's great experiences because it is so different from my own.  He also shares that he had the GDR post race blues.  This makes me feel so much better because I had felt down all week and knowing that I am not the only one makes it somehow just OK.  This was new for me, so I wasn't sure what it was but now I can move forward.  I wasn't signed up for a race, I was excited to get healed up and go out exploring new sections of trail and take my time really thinking about which future races I wanted to sign up for.

I had some friends that within days or a week of finishing GDR were out signing up for 100 mile races lol  A different kind of Which maybe great for them but for me, this would have been a mistake for so many reasons.  Mostly, I needed a mental break from racing.  I just want to run for fun and for me again and not for a race.  As much as I enjoyed my GDR race, and really loved this experience, I realize that I actually enjoyed the training so much more.  I am that girl who just loves to run and really do not need a race.  Races just keep me motivated, and I simply enjoy the experience of conquering big goals.  But, do I really need a race to do that?  Hmmm and on these long runs over the last 4 months, and when I can't sleep....I think about this a lot and perhaps more than I should.  But, it keeps me moving forward and that's my happy place.

The very next weekend, I run with Cecilia, just two weeks post GDR and hot damn, I just feel good.  I am very recovered from GDR and my ITB pain is gone and my ankle is sore just if I twist it a certain way on a rock or root, but it's good enough to run.  We start at the bottom of the falls and run to Springer and back.  I feel so much faster and on the way back, I am so happy because I am running downhill again.  It's my first run that I can actually run downhill again in 7 weeks.  I've lost some downhill speed, but damn it feels good to run down over rocks and roots and trail.  It feels like fluid spilling down and it feels mostly like happiness.  I am thrilled.  When I stop my Garmin, I am quite surprised this is my fastest ever run to Springer and back from the VC.  We run it in 4:04:51 hours and it's 17.10 miles with 4500 feet of elevation gain.  I'm so stinking excited because we weren't even trying to break any records and darn it if I hadn't been the nice person taking pics for hikers on top of Springer, we would have run this sub 4 easy peasy!  HAHA  Rested legs are sometimes a wonderful thing for the spirit.  It certainly was today.

It's on this run on the way up to Springer,  that Cecilia asks me to pace her at her first 100 miler, The GA Jewel.  It's so awesome because it was so unexpected, and I was hoping she'd ask, but I didn't want to ask her because it's her race.  I always want my friends to make the best decisions for themselves.  If they are happy, than I am happy for them.  It was so funny because she knew how much I loved my own GA Jewel 50 mile last year and thought I wouldn't want to pace her.  So, when she asks it's in such a way that it sounds like we just got engaged!  We laugh hysterically about this the rest of the day.  I'm thrilled because I already know that Cecilia is going to do so well at this race in 6 months, and I'm more excited about pacing her than if I were running this race for myself.

And, I have so much to look forward to in terms of my own training.  For now, I am happy just running.

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