Sunday, October 26, 2008

What's next?

It's weird to not be tapering for Mountain Masochist this year, after two years of focused training for that race (that's the MMTR finish line on the right). Instead, I find myself listening to my body's signals that it is recovering from Gstone and ready for the next adventure, and having lots of freedom and flexibility with my running. The Gstone training cycle was fun but it was very focused, and now I am in that happy place of "What's Next?"

I say "happy" because I have a lot to be happy about---and grateful for. Many of my running friends are struggling with injury---Heidi, Bill, J.R., Jenny, Annette, and Neal to name just a few. Some are dealing with short-term, post-race tweaks and others are dealing with more longer-term, potentially run-ending injuries. As I wander through the woods in this glorious fall weather, I remind myself of the simple pleasure and gift of being able to RUN without pain.

This was week #3 post Gstone, and I took it fairly easy each day except for an 8-mile marathon pace run (1 mile WU, 3 miles @ 7:40 pace, 1 mile easy, 3 miles @ MP)on Wednesday. Despite feeling great after this run, I have decided NOT to run the Richmond Marathon after all...too much $$ and I want to maximize my recovery time so I can have a good race at Hellgate. I will be at Masochist this Saturday to watch David Horton, Bill Potts, and my VHTRC friends finish and perhaps I'll get out on the course a bit! For a cool retrospective of 25 years of Masochist, check out this video on Clark Zealand's blog

Today I went on an "easy" long run with my buddy Anne Lundblad. Thankfully Anne was taking it easy in preparation for the Shut-in Ridge Trail race next weekend, so we ran one of our fave 17-mile loops out in White Hall at about 8:45 pace and power walked all the hills (thanks, Anne!). We talked about all our favorite topics: motherhood, our daughters, running, our jobs as counselors, race plans, and philosophies about why we run ultras. I always love our runs together since I don't have any other women friends in C'Ville who run ultras, so the miles always tick by quickly as we run and later over coffee. I was hoping Anne would be joining me at Hellgate this year, but she will be crewing her hubby Mark while he races JFK in a few weeks, and then cheering her daughter Emma on at the Girls On The Run race in Asheville on the morning of Hellgate...GOTR is a very cool program for young girls that I would like to bring to Charlottesville--- a great reason to miss Hellgate! Also, check out this link to a great article Anne wrote on "Running Your First Ultra."

Speaking of Hellgate, I am getting excited about this year's race. It will be held on the night of a full moon and I really hope we have clear skies! As I told Anne, seven hours of running in the dark at Hellgate will be cake compared to 12 hours at Gstone!

Another woman I admire, Rachel Toor, has just released her third book, Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running. I have read it and LOVED it. Rachel is an awesome writer and she captures the running life so beautifully in this book. I laughed out loud and cried a bit, too...a fabulous read that I urge all runners to consider.

Finally, I have been sending this link about ultrarunning to my friends and family who scratch their heads about the ultra thing...this interview with MMT and Grindstone photographer Tom Sperduto is excellent and seems to capture the "why's?" of this sport. Plus the photos are cool---some before and afters from Gstone and others from MMT. Enjoy!


annette bednosky said...

You are sooo very awesome!!! Love your posts and will email you off blog hopefully tomorrow! Life is nutty- and good and your life sounds balanced-as can be and you are being soooooo smart! You continue to be my role model! Muchas Gracias!

I'll be up your way later this week for "poking and prodding" at UVA and then to work an aid station at Masochist! (Both yipppeeee and sad..!)Talk with you soon you fabulous human being!

Rick Gray said...

Sophie, Glad to hear your Grindstone recovery is going well. Continue to savor those wonderful Grindstone memories. As ultra/trail runners we know how fortunate pain free running can be and we know the pain that others are going through. Be sure to listen for my "Hootie Hoo's" Saturday and I look forward to another wonderful Hellgate with only seven (7) hours of darkness. See you Saturday at Masochist. Rick

Sophie Speidel said...

Hey guys! I will be at Masochist but on the trail looking for Potts. Rick, I will be looking for you, too! Annette, hope you visit to UVA goes well---I want to see you when you come back. Have a great day out there on Saturday!!!

I am a runner. "We are what we repeatedly do" said...

Another great post thanks Sophie! Glad to hear you are listening to your body. I'm looking forward to seeing you this weekend at MMTR. I'll need some encouragement!