Sunday, August 29, 2010

Change is good...and hard

Over the past year I have dealt with a lot of change and transition in my life. My eldest son graduated from high school and now attends college 7 hours from home; our school, where I am the counselor, is about to open a brand new lower, middle, and upper school; and I am working with a new coach and a new training program. If there is one thing ultrarunning has taught me, it is to be open to change at any moment, and to go with whatever the trail gives me. This is such a valuable lesson (and life skill) to have when so much around me is in transition!

The biggest training shake-up? Probably switching over from my clunky Montrails to the super light inov-8 Flyroc 284s. It took me a good six months to transition from the former to the latter to avoid any injury to my achilles or plantar fascia, which is often the case with folks trying the switch from a more supportive shoe to one with less. I absolutely love my Flyrocks! I have noticed a change in my foot strike (more mid-foot than heel) and I can negotiate technical downhills with greater ease because of the grippy sole and lightness. They are also super comfy on the road, which is good since Masochist has about 40 miles of dirt road!

I also tested out (and love) the 2XU calf sleeves. I had some major cramping in my legs at Terrapin 50K and Highland Sky 40, so this summer I have been wearing the sleeves in all my training. Yesterday I wore them on a 20 miler road run and last week on a 40-minute tempo run, and they are very comfy. After a multi-hour trail run last weekend, my legs felt great afterward and the next day. I haven't worn them exclusively for post-run recovery but will certainly try them after Masochist for the car ride home.

My training with Howard has been going really well. Last spring I was feeling a bit stale and recognized that, after 8 years of training and racing, I was in need of a change. New races, new training routes, and a new program were just what I needed to shake things up and get me excited to run again. I am really excited about Masochist (which is not a "new" race for me but I haven't run it in three years) and, for the first time since 2005, I will not be running Hellgate 100K. With all the change in other parts of my life, it is nice to keep the training and racing calendar simple and wide open for now. Howard has got me running solid fartlek runs on Tuesdays followed by solid tempos on Wednesdays. After a day off on Thursday and easy runs on Monday and Friday, I always feel rested and fresh for the long weekend run. It is nice to be so "mindless" with my training...I just look at the program and do it. I can tell that my turnover is quicker and that my legs are fresher with this new program. I am looking forward to the next 8 weeks of Masochist training!

One thing that hasn't changed? I was once again given the opportunity to speak to the ladies of the Charlottesville 4 Miler training program last week. This is my favorite morning of the year! I love feeling the positive vibes and energy of this remarkable group of women, most of whom are running their very first race in the 4 Miler and are raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research. This was my fourth year as a guest speaker, and I encouraged them to "pass with pride" and not be afraid to be competitive during the race. Since most have never run a race before and were planning to run with their training partners, I also encouraged them to make a deal with one another, so that if one of them felt good during the last mile and wanted to pick up the pace, they shouldn't feel guilty about leaving the group. It is, after all, a race...and change is good!

Here is a pic of me speaking to the ladies. I can't figure out how to post it without the Shutterfly connection, so this will have to do.

Click here to view these pictures larger


And Miles 2 Go said...

Dear MMTR,

You better watch OUT! Fast, tough chica from Cville is coming to GET you this year! :-)

Rick Gray said...

From the sounds of things, you are handling all of these changes in grand style. Funny how we can look so forward to talking with a group. I am sure that you were so encouraging to them once again. When we make others feel good, we feel good ourselves. You continue to do yourself proud. Just keep it going.

Bedrock said...

Glad the training is going well and good luck with all the change - sounds like you have handled it all very well. I am doing Grindstone this year but am skipping Masochist. Good luck with the rest of your training.


Sophie Speidel said...

Aw, shucks fellas, thanks for your sweet comments! I can always count on you guys to read the blog and send me some props. You are the best :-)

Bedford, best of luck to you at Grindstone!! You will love it. If you need some Gstone race reports, I wrote a few in 2008 and 2009 in my blog archives. I also was OCD in 2008 and wrote obsessively on my Gstone training if you need some training help :-)

Rick, looks like Cheat Mtn was another cool adventure and that you guys/gals all ran close together (you, Will, Jen, Ed) Good times! Looking forward to seeing you at Masochist!

Gentry, let's plan another SNP run soon...shoot me an email brotha.

Rooster said...

Sophie, I can so relate to this post. Many changes for me this year too. It's been and still is so hard for me to let go of Alex. His soft soul and sweet disposition is so close to my heart but he is growing up.'s sort of seems rapid right now. However much I relish is watching him become a young man I know I will get less and less of him. Since my family life is so intermixed with my running life the change feels consuming. For me, it's time to change it up. New coach, new races, new distance and new terrain. Adjusting and going with the flow has been a huge lesson for my control freak personality.

Sophie Speidel said...

Thanks, Ronda. It is always great to hear your perspective as there aren't many of us moms out here doing all this crazy fun stuff.

The funny thing is that while my kids still insist I am a control freak (which I have to agree was evident as we were packing/unpacking the boy for college)...I am so much more "chill" (their word, not mine) than I used to be now that I have 8 years of ultras under my belt. Ha! Thank goodness for ultras to keep us sane, right?

One of the good things about saying goodbye to college son is that it made me realize that I need to make the most of these next 5 years with younger son and daughter, even if it means racing less. A small price to pay :-)

Good luck with all your new routines and races as well! I look forward to reading all about them.

ultrarunnergirl said...

Great to hear your new training regimen and shoes are treating you well. Your confidence is shining through! And, you seem to handle all the changes in life with aplomb.
Proud to know you my friend!