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I have cleared the schedule, hung up the shoes and found a new pastime. 2019 will be remembered as the year that ultras went on the back burner.

Last spring and summer, my running struggled along as I battled twinges and tweaks and resulting low motivation. My achilles injury forced me to forgo a bunch of races and it was really difficult to get the proper training in for my ‘A race’ of the season, the Mighty Quail 100 km. In the end, I got it done but I lost something along the way – the desire to push through.

For me, running long distances requires strong focus on a specific end point – usually a certain finish line – and that focus will pull me through the long hours of training. I really love being out in the forest, deep in the lesser known trails, reminding myself to eat and drink and watch my footing as I go. There is a purity and ease as I clock the kms but that ultimate race goal is truly what gets me out the door.

I have always been one to take time off from running once daylight savings ends but, last fall, I took it to the level of hibernation. I had no desire to run in the snow or rain, nor solo or with the group. Instead I read, became a homebody and allowed myself to get soft around the edges and it has been fabulous. I got a new-to-me mountain bike and have been learning to rip up the trails (a little). I ride purely for fun and usually in a group. There is no goal except perhaps to end the ride without any new bruises.

Last night, B and I were talking about his upcoming Tor de Glaciers race – a 450 km loop of the Italian alps in Sept 2019 – and reminiscing about our Tor de Geants race five years ago. I found myself wishing aloud (again) that I could have a re-do of that event. I believe I could have done it better. B was quick to suggest a number of other 100 mile and 200 mile races which would allow me to prove myself to myself.

As I scrolled through event pages, looking for an ultra race that would fit in my 2020 fixed summer holiday, I had to laugh at myself. Here I was, searching for that goal race, ready to click the ‘register’ button, despite the fact that I haven’t laced up my running shoes for weeks. But perhaps this summer of rest and relaxation has worked its magic. I knew I needed some time off – not to consider quitting for good but simply to come back with a thirst for that next finish line.DSCN0370

 

 

For a few years now, my mantra has been that rest is a key factor in running well.  I fully believe in taking some time off  during the off-season.  But six months have gone by since I last ran an organized race.  I have taken a significant break from running, but even I think six months seems to be a bit of a long hibernation.

Since realizing this, I have begun to worry about this year’s running plans.  Have I completely lost my fitness base?  How badly will those first long runs hurt?  Will my running clothes still fit?  Are they still in fashion?  🙂

White River '10

Motivated Martha

But then a bigger problem came to light.  Why should I even bother going out for a run?

Motivation to run comes to each of us in different ways.  Some are looking for the challenge of a new course or new distance.  Others may want to improve a PB on a favourite course.  And some simply want to fit into that size 2 bikini.

I had been analyzing my lack of motivation for running when I bumped into a fellow runner-teacher at an educational workshop last week.  She had recently improved her half-marathon time and was now on track to run her first marathon at the beginning of May.  Her eyes lit up as she described her new goal and the training she was doing in preparation.  Her optimism and keenness were truly contagious.  I could almost detect the slightest bit of fear as she spoke.  Then she said something that amazed me.  She said that reading my blog has helped to motivate her.  Wow.  I can’t put into words how motivating that comment has been for me.

Squamish bike trails

Fun times on trails!

Suddenly, I have put running back onto my schedule and I have begun thinking about registering for a race or two this season.   The combination of her excitement about running a new race and her compliment about my blog has made something click for me.  I’m back in my shoes and I’m hungry for some hills.

Thanks Shaista!

The Happy Wanderer

My Paths on Strava

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