I drafted this post with pen and paper (old school, ya'll) on one of my many recent flights, and you'll notice that it appears on the training side of this site. Miracle. I've been running regularly and have a post in draft recapping 2017's NC racing season, but my heart and mind have been elsewhere with my writing for quite some time. I'm hoping that my enthusiasm for writing this post means that I might be coming out of the fog a bit. 

So, 2018 training. I've been pretty vocal, since 2012, about wanting to run an ultra. A bout of runner burnout after my second marathon in 2013 pushed that back a year. Next was a string of injuries leading into half-hearted training followed by another injury, on repeat. I did not want to be the person who wants something that requires hard work, talks about it (a lot), but never puts her money where her mouth is. I had a decent (read: uninjured) training cycle in 2017 and it gave me the "proof" I needed to finally believe that an ultra was possible. I know a little bit about what I need to do to get ready but for the rest, I've got a coach. 

If you are curious as to why I like having a coach, ask away, as that could be a post on its own. The short version: I'm pumped to have Nora Bird (owner of Team Bird Training, Oiselle Volee member, and rockstar from Oiselle's "Birdstrike" Speed Project team) make all the important training decisions and get my ass to the start line in fighting shape. So do I actually have a race in mind? Yes. Registration opened at 10 am on January 1 for the Finger Lakes 50s and I threw my money at the 50k.

In picking this race I broke a few of my own rules for racing a distance for the first time (being able to sleep in my own bed, training on/near the course, minimizing stress related to travel costs and logistics, etc.). My logic: it is within an hour of my parents' house in NY and I am somewhat familiar with the area. I think having my family there to support me will be a huge plus. The trail is largely single track, of which there is plenty near me to train on. The total elevation gain is somewhere around 2584 feet over two loops and I am confident that my area trails can prep me for that as well. As far as the fun factor goes, the Finger Lakes have some great wineries that will help me not feel my legs for a while post-race. Also, there will be cows. Seriously. Part of the race goes through cow pastures and there are explicit instructions in ALL THE CAPS about making sure to close the gates so the cows don't escape. I think I might need to add a runwiththecows hashtag to my IG posts. 

 COOOOOOWS! 

COOOOOOWS! 

As I write this I am 6 days into week 3. I do not plan to share every run listed on my schedule, as Nora put time and effort into this plan specifically for me and I don't want to a) give away her work for free and b) give you the impression that this plan is a blanket 50k plan anyone could use. I will give you a quick summary of each week and likely feature one workout that either rocked, sucked, or kicked my ass, followed by some quick numbers. I will not be sharing specific pace and time information because it is only relevant to me, because I am sensitive about how "fast" I am not, and because I am not interested in feeding into anyone's comparison trap. 

With all that out of the way, let's get started. Nora gave me two weeks of training up front and I was immediately intimidated. I haven't done this kind of volume in several years and certainly not right out of the gate in a new training cycle. How would my body handle it? Rather than spiral down that rabbit hole and accept something that hasn't even happened yet as fact, I decided to take a deep breath. Trust that Nora shows her shit. Start believing that I am capable of more than I give my body credit for. Be 100% honest with my workout reports. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Basically all the logical advice I've ignored in favor of the familiar safety of anxiety, self-doubt, and a record of race results based on betting on anyone but myself from day 1. 

I will also communicate conflicts ahead of time to make things work, rather than making excuses later for why a workout was not done. Yes, I want a coach to hold me accountable but I want to be 100% accountable to myself first and foremost. For better or worse. *cough* hungover treadmill workout *cough* I want to own my choices and the ensuing consequences. I do not want to get to the start line in June thinking about what I didn't do, how I made choices that didn't serve me. For as much as it is under my control, I will own this training cycle. I may bitch and moan the whole way (right, Lauren and Rose?) but I will also get the work done. I am hoping to bitch a little less, I find myself doing it before workouts that scare me. Anyone else find that to be the case? The complaining takes the attention away from the fear. It also primes the pump to report a bad workout result. That also does not serve me well, so I will try to acknowledge the fear instead. It is only running, after all. 

I was going to include the recap for weeks 1 and 2 here, but this is long enough as is. You have better things to do with your Saturday afternoon and so do I. You are welcome to follow along in more real time on Instagram @CatLadyRunner, most common hashtags likely to include #FingerLakes50s and #TeamBirdTraining. STINSON OUT!

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