LooseCrew-JeffO: Taking a Break


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Taking a Break

This is the funniest shit!!!
The top pieces for Jackson Hole about fear are classic!

There you are.
Facing Fear.
It's beady-eyed and hairy.
And then it occurs to you.

Hey, Fear would make a pretty good fur coat.

I don't know where Jordan is these days - haven't seen him in months. He is wacky - wackier than ME - but in a good way!

I haven't done anything. Going through some strange body reactions. My feet have been hurting, in an injurious way. Since my mileage is decreased significantly, it didn't seem logical that it could be an overuse injury. Both feet have been exhibiting signs of imminent injury. Logical or not, I decided to take a REAL, TOTAL break for several days. Not my normal "break", meaning a reduction from 50-100 miles per week down to 20, but a switch to non-running, and not even much walking, except to do errands in the 'hood.
Without my usual activities, my usual diet, sleep, and mental routines are in disarray.
I don't care if my feet hurt, it's just that if they hurt in the wrong way (too consistently), or too much, then I want to wait until the issue declines. I don't want plantar issues, bone spurs, or fractures. Stress in bodies isn't just a short-term thing. It can build over an entire season, which I think is what's going on here.

The way I've been feeling lately, looking back to the mileage I was doing in May, June and July, every day an epic weekend, it's hard to fathom. Was that ME?!?! 'Cause REALLY - I don't feel like the same guy!
Maybe it's nothing more than diet. I've been a naughty boy since the Boulder 100. In fact, I had an ice cream shake yesterday.
And Lisa Bliss says the short days of this time of year have a profound affect on mind/body. I need to try sticking to eating right and getting sufficient quantities of sunlight.
I might also join a gym. Yeah, I know, it's indoors, but that's better than staying home all the time. I still need my endorphin fix, right?

Other than that, my hair is less gray. My grayness has been an odd thing. Since I no longer spend much time looking backwards, it's now hard for me to remember when my first gray showed, but I do remember it was pre-mature grayness that resulted from me scarring the shit out of myself up on a mountain. The gray started showing up a few weeks later and eventually went away. I think that might have been in my late 20's.
That was the pattern for about a decade. Climb a mountain, scar the shit out of myself, then the gray would come, and then it would go.
But then it stopped going away. Scaring myself too frequently, stressful job, stressful marriage, older age, and the gray was there to stay. But the gray would vary from significant to light.
The current level of gray, though, is unprecedented. The gray isn't gone, but my last haircut seems to have gotten rid of most of it, and I'm wondering if my beard really is darker or if its my imagination?

Stress in my life has fallen off considerably since I started running. Or maybe it's just that running helps me cope with my pathetic, fucked-up life? Keeps me from dwelling on it.
Job situation - I used to have a high-stress machinist job. Screw up and I could get injured, trash thousands of dollars in an instant, and worst-case could lead to an airplane crash resulting in the deaths of dozens of people. My bosses and co-workers were too often jerks.
Now I have a job that allows only a tiny bit of creativity, and I have very little authority. I've even quipped that "I'm not even at the bottom of the totem pole. I'm not on the totem pole at all. I'm one of the rocks shoved up against the bottom of the totem pole to keep it from falling over." But man, they sure do appreciate me - and I appreciate them! And now that hundreds-of-thousands of workers are losing their jobs, I appreciate mine even more!
Relationships - I'm no longer involved in any jacked-up relationships. In fact, I've refused to even go there - with ANYONE! That whole arena has been such a life-time complete failure, and now I have no stress there, that I've not been willing to step up to the plate again.
I have an incredible son. He gets nearly straight-A's, he composes his own music, he designs stuff, he gets along with kids in school, and he's fun to be with.
I have at least one really good friend, and tons of acquaintances, and they are all high-quality people. There is so much quality influence on me these past few years, it seems that no matter how jacked-up I've been, if I stay-the-course, how can life go back the way it was? I'm doomed to succeed!


At 11:00 AM, Blogger Brett said...

Hi - your blog is one of many I browse every so often. I have an off topic mostly bizarre question to ask you.

I just ran my first marathon about a year ago, and then in 2008 did a 50k, a 60+ mile ultra, and the Pikes Peak Marathon...which was the only race of the year with significant elevation change (26.2 miles with +/- 8000 feet). I am starting to think about a couple ultra races I can travel out west to again this year. So I am very green in ultras (and you are not, hence the question)...

My question is this - a lot of people walk the steep stuff up and then run on the downs. In my experience with Pikes (having done the Ascent a couple times) the up doesn't kill your legs, its the down that does.

Have you ever heard or seen a strategy in -ultras- to jog the ups and speed walk the downs?

I'm just wondering out loud if you gain enough time on the up that you're even steven after the down, yet your legs are fresher than those who did it in reverse...

At 5:26 PM, Blogger JeffO said...

Hi Brett!

I've had the whole uphill/downhill debate with so many people. The concensus seems to be... It depends on your training.
If you have the right form, then running downhill is easier and results in less pain than running uphill.
There are extenuating circumstances, but still what should normally cause quad soreness is obviously "horsing" your stride by using the big quads too much. People use their quads to absorb the extra shock of landing.
It's nearly always possible to run downhill wihtout using your quads much. Just use your hips more and stay on your toes. The hips and toes take the shock.
Uphills, however, may force you to step up, bending your knees, and powering up with your quads. So for me, uphills hurt my quads more.
Downhills, I like to feel my quads jiggle. Not only does that prove to me that my downhill form is good, but it massages my quads while I run, usually following a killer climb.
All I can say about your strategy is to try the same training run on consecutive weekends with some good climbs and then compare your times and how you felt.
Most runners say never to fight gravity. They tend to be adamant that we should always speed up downhill.
But everyone is different.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

Hi JeffO,

I like how you are so straight up with yourself in this post. And, I like your attitude about the future. Isn't it amazing what a little hindsight perspective will do to you?

Happy Thanksgiving!


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