May 12, 2010

The 6am People (Downtime Update)

I'm stealing this from the most recent edition of Ultra Running Magazine, I hope that as long as I give credits here it's all good.

Substitute '6am people' for '100 mile runners' and I think I could pursue a case to be paid royalties on this one!

By Sean Ryan

The 6am people are never content
To follow the guidelines the trainers have sent,
If schedules say five miles, they'll surely run ten
They'll run the route once, then do it again.

When the main pack arrive and prepares for their run,
Some 6am people are already done.
With three months to go before the big race
The 6am people are max-ing their pace.

They double the mileage the trainers suggest,
Ignoring advice that they should get some rest.
The 6am people continue to push
Their feet and their limbs, their toes and their tush.

Their log books all show a steady ascent
Of increasing mileage without relent.
Like zombies that march along brainless and dumb,
They keep logging miles 'til their bodies are numb.

With one month to go and the race within range,
The 6am people begin to look strange.
Their faces are gaunt and their bodies look weak,
Their strides now are shuffles, their knees start to creak.

While the rest of the runners are starting to crest,
The 6am people are desperate for rest.
By race day, their training has lost all its fun
They don't care anymore and just want to be done.

When the pistol is fired and the field starts to move,
The 6am people all fall into the groove.
They amble along with the rest of the pack
Pursuing their goal without looking back.

But at mile 22 things go horribly wrong,
The 6am people no longer feel strong.
Their muscles lock up and their energy's drained,
A classic example of being over-trained.

While the rest of the field is crossing the line,
The 6am people sit curb-side and whine.
They utter some questions while others run long,
"How did this happen? Where did I go wrong?"


I still haven't run a single step, and I have confirmed numerous times, due to my energy levels that I'm definitely following through on the best thing for my own body at this point in time. What I have done is update my music collection with the likes of, Citizen Cope, Rural Alberta Advantage, Phoenix, Wolf Mother, Born Ruffians, Matt & Kim, Steel Pulse, The Gaslight Anthem, and TV On The Radio. ALL wonderful suggestions from friends. (I'm still trying to download all suggested music!) AND I've gotten back to reading again, which in and of itself has been very rewarding.

This afternoon I plan to go for my first hike since the race. That's ten full days without running a step. It's been increasingly difficult as the weather has been pretty much perfect since I got back from San Fran and there are no excuses not to be outside right now. However, since I'm still sleeping like a corpse most nights and not feeling 100% most days I'm not about to chance anything.

Yesterday was the very first day that I woke up with ENERGY in what feels like forever. I finished work at 6pm and was on my road bike by 6:30. I hadn't been on my bike in over three weeks, the evening was beautiful and I wanted nothing more than to get a good sweat going on. I started off on what was to be a 1hr ride, but within five minutes something just didn't feel right. My body wasn't happy with what I was doing. It felt like it was saying,

"HEY! WTF man, I'm just starting to feel good again, what the hell are you doing here? I wasn't giving you the go ahead for anything BUT TO start feeling good again. There's a hockey game on, go sit down and watch it dammit!"

And with that I turned around and was home within twenty minutes. I thought it would feel amazing to get on the bike again and when it didn't I didn't force it. I don't want to run or ride again until it feels effortless and FUN again. I have no doubt that will occur within the next ten has to, cause that's all the rest time I can afford right now!

I haven't been completely dormant however as I've started in on my heat training for Western an effort to prevent this from happening again...

(thanks to Glenn Tachiyama for ensuring I never fully forget how much the heat at Western hurt last year!)

I've been hitting up the sauna, hot yoga, and have even gotten in a couple of decent strength training work outs. This has felt good. I really missed the gym and have decided that when I get myself back to good again I'm going to forgo one run a week in favor of getting to the gym twice a week on a consistent basis. I have no doubt this will only make me stronger in the end. If anything I'm hoping to gain some perspective throughout this entire process. Speaking of which,

WOW, THANK YOU for all the incredible comments on my blog, personal e-mails, and phone calls. Everyone has had something to say, and it's all been very positive and supportive. I really can't express how much that has meant to me. I believe my parents summed it up best,

Hi Gary,

We really enjoy reading your blog and at times find it to be moving. We're proud of your decision to DNF because it shows that you kept your head when it would have been entirely the wrong decision to continue and do damage to yourself. But the most moving thing about it all is the comments from your peers.

Just finished reading your latest blog (for the second time today) and then the comments.

I already knew that the running community is close but it becomes more and more evident each time I read their comments and how supportive you are of each other.
It is certainly good for you to be able to build on each race and walk away with something learned from it.

Mom also wants to say how proud she is of you cheering everyone else on at the finish line and that she was really touched that you put a smile on your face and cheered everyone else in.

We're proud of draw (or I guess you could say DNF instead of draw).

But then again there are no losers in ultrarunning.

Couldn't have said it better myself Dad.

(Thanks to Keith Facchino for reminded me that adrenaline can override all pain, at least temporarily, and for giving my Father and I the souvenir picture of a lifetime!)



Anonymous said...

Good to hear that you're still resting, Gary!!! When you do get running again, check out Wire's Object 47 album. It's got that "One of Us" that I play on the show...

All Day!

wiglebot said...

This is what I have.
Citizen Cope (new CD), Rural Alberta Advantage (the songs with cool rythms), Phoenix (Its never been like that CD).

Topher Werner said...

You'll be shocked at the difference you feel between 10 days and 20. We follow our college cross country season with about a week off and then run indoor and outdoor straight through. Burnt by the end, we usually take three weeks before summer buildup. Those three weeks are huge. Be patient. Best of luck

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you're listening to what your body is telling you, Gary. Rest up, recover, and enjoy the downtime while you've got it! :) Looking forward to following you at WS, I will be cheering you from Seattle!!! KE

brendaontheRun said...

It's good that you're listening to your body.

Deanna Stoppler said...

Your parents are too cool. I'm choking up over here. Keep on healing up brotha!

Jude said...

Awww, your Dad's letter brought tears to my eyes... He's right, you have Incredible spirit and an entire community to lean on... no losers in Ultrarunning, i think the lessons are the greatest prizes in this crazy running world, so as long as you're 'relentlessly moving forward' (in Life and everything else) you've GOt it Right! :)

garobbins said...

Thanks all!!