when life hands you flooding

11 Jun

Training this spring was going so well.  I was really happy with the way my running was progressing, both from a volume and a quality of runs standpoint.

March–173 miles.

April–201 miles.


May–70 miles.

Wait. What? Is that a typo?

May was a hot mess.  Partly because I jacked my calf up doing god knows what.  I was thinking it was just a result of too much mileage.

Except I’ve run this kind of mileage before without any issues.

Then I realized that right around the time my leg started hurting, we started sandbagging. Because when life hands you flooding, you sandbag, re-sandbag, and try to pump out water multiple times.  You don’t sleep or don’t sleep well, having nightmares of floods and sinkholes and crocodiles.

Yep.  Our dream house on the water has been a little bit of a nightmare the past 2 months or so…Lake Ontario is almost 3 feet higher than it normally is this time of year, which means our little pond is also up.  There’s a lot of debate right now about why that is, but at the end of the day, we had a late snowstorm and way above average rain fall (and the IJC has some new regulations that probably aren’t helping us, but are also probably not the actual cause for the flooding).

In any event, my training has been down.  I missed my two peak weeks for Cayuga and decided to pull myself out of it all together (as we watched weather reports that whole week leading up to the race, unsure if we could even go down to Ithaca at all).  I spent the day of the race alternating between being sad that I wasn’t out there, regretting my decision, but ultimately being at peace with it. It was the right choice.  I came home from Ithaca geared up from watching so many amazing people run well, and I used all that inspiration to re-make my Twisted Branch training plan…I looked at everything as though I’d been running 50 miles weeks for the past 2 months.  Or 40.  Or even 30.


But the reality is, my last 7 weeks of training have averaged out to   18.5 miles.  I didn’t know this until I just computed it.  That’s actually kind of embarrassing, not because there’s anything wrong with that mileage, but because I say that I am an ultrarunner.  WTAF.


Anyway, as with all lies we tell ourselves (like, “your training has not been that off” and “you will just pick up where you left off”), eventually you get slapped in the face with the truth.  And today was that day for me.


Today, Ellie wanted to see the front half of Many on the Genny.  Of course, Eric signed  me up as unofficial tour guide, even though she’s twice as fast as me.  I planned to do 20 miles.  Both of these things were silly, given my training the past almost 2 months.


And so I got slapped in the face around mile 10 (maybe before that).  Lack of training, lack of sleeping, stress…whatever…I was a mess.  It was not fair to Ellie to keep making her wait for me.  I made it to aid 2, hopped in the car, and felt good about my decision.  I did a couple more miles after that with her, but the reality is that anything more than 15 is a stretch right now, especially if it’s hilly (like Many) or hot (like today).


So…IDK where I go from here.  I need to rebuild my mileage and get myself back in shape.  I am pretty sure I don’t have time to properly train for Twisted.  It’s not really a race I want to go into severely undertrained or woefully out of shape.  I’d have a few weeks to get in some solid training, but that’s assuming that we don’t get hit with more flooding, which is really unlikely given the height of the water.  According to the Army Corps of Engineers website, between now and July 9, the water in Lake Ontario should go down 6 inches.  Which is a lot.  But I have no idea what will be enough and when we will be safe.  It honestly feels like never right now.  One of the neighbors said he heard we’d be out of the danger zone by December.  I am hoping that was just hyperbole.


The reality is that if/when I do Twisted, I want to run well.  I don’t want people to have to wait around for me, I don’t want to chase cut-off times…I have always said I wouldn’t step up in distance unless I knew I could handle it, and right now I haven’t been handling the training needed.  That’s the plain and simple truth of the matter.


In any event, right now I am kicking around seeing who (if anyone) needs a pacer for Twisted (assuming our house isn’t floating away) and taking the summer to get myself into shape.  I really want to do the Many course all the way, so I could hopefully be ready to do that at the end of the summer, then maybe just train really hard for Mendon.  That would possibly catapult me into training for Twisted 2018, which would put me in a good spot to hopefully do well.  And take a little pressure off me as we navigate through the rest of the summer and hopefully the end of the flooding.


So with that said:

  1. How many miles a week do you think are needed to run (well) a super challenging 100k?
  2. Is it wise to push my training for the next 8ish weeks (which would allow for a 2 week taper) and see what happens?
  3. Does anyone need a pacer (as long as you understand that if we are under threat of flood–which god I really hope by that point in the summer we’ll be in the clear–that we will be here trying to salvage things)?

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