I’ll wait for it, I’ve got nothing better to do

I started to miss running on Saturday. I went out for a walk before a double at work, and just wanted to feel that rush.

That cool air going straight through me.

The power in my legs.

The confidence in my stride.

I got to the South Hill trail and actually tried to start jogging. My foot still isn’t ready. It’s still healing from 9 months of pounding.

That’s ok, I’ll wait for it. I’ve got nothing better to do.

This week I’ll get back into the gym. Some elliptical and start weights. I am so lucky to be the friend of ax experienced lifter, because she wrote me a plan without batting an eye.

Strengthen the body outside of running. Give me something to put energy into.

The running will come back, and I’ll be ready.

This morning, Sunday, I missed my long runs. Not the all day escapades, but the 15-16 milers that took me on a journey, but never got me lost. I love those runs the most. The 2 hour easy jogs with my own head and a podcast. Grinding, and loving it. They’ll come back too. Not soon, but they will.

My rehab for my foot has been pretty standard. Just ice, balance, really massaging it and some water bottle rolling. Ibuprofen got the swelling down. It’s better but not there yet. It’ll come.

The students came back to town this week, so I’ve been doing my thing at CTB. I am lucky to have this. It keeps me engaged and fulfilled and on my toes. My coworkers have been great, albeit getting tired. Most of us are pulling 6 day weeks, and we are short staffed. Let’s just say I’m glad it’s busy now that I don’t have stuff to train for.

I’m thinking of selling my van to one of my coworkers. She and her girlfriend are going on a cross country road trip and they want it. I want my van to get used, so if they are serious, I’ll certainly sell it to them. I had such a great experience out there, I think they’d learn so much and have a wild time.

You know what I don’t really miss right now?

Trail running. Or all day trail running.

Controversial. Maybe. But that’s what I feel.

I don’t get the same rush I did a few months ago. The way I feel about road running right now is how I felt about trails last December. It fascinates me and I just want to do that.

I don’t have any aspirations right now to race. I simply want to do something different. I didn’t run in HS or college, so I’ve never trained for anything shorter than a half marathon. I want to just run a 5k.

I want to see what that feels like. Against other people. On the road. A different sort of burn.

But first, get my foot back to normal. Finish resting (I am still doing that, one week isn’t enough) and eating good food.

I don’t think of it as moving backward, I think of it as a new challenge, a new way to learn and a new way to have fun.

And that’s what running is.

Eating enough continues in off season too

The first few days of off season are kind of weird. I’m still sore from the bit of racing I did do and I know it takes a while for the cumulative fatigue to sort itself out. I have been training since December 1st. Its been fun, but also, time to rest.

I am keeping myself from looking ahead too much. Mostly I relish in the fact that I can do whatever I want to do next. There’s no timeline. There’s no expectation. I don’t have a race, so there’s no pressure to heal quickly and get back to it.

Mostly, I miss just getting out there and running. However, it’ll come back. It’s actually lucky my foot is sore because it reminds me not to come back too quickly. It reminds me that rest is productive and good. I love running and it will be there when I am ready.

Thankfully I am still able to walk and cycle easily, so this soreness only effects the area of my life I am avoiding right now. My morning walks have been nice and pretty. That is taking the place of training and it’s a solid stand in. I sweat more at work than I do outside. Keeping my HR down and all that. Off season. A break.

As most people ask, yes my meals and snacks are the same, maybe less nutritious but still the same quantity. I still talk and ramble on my IG stories. It’s fun and I’m not Ellie the runner, I’m just Ellie doing my thing.

It’s funny though, I am never super strict with my meals. I do my best to eat well, but also eat what I want. After races, I used to want to eat all the sugary stuff that isn’t bad, but also just not something I have everyday. I used to be my tradition to eat a pint of ice cream the night of every race. I don’t do that anymore. I don’t really have a reason, except that the food I crave is the food I normally eat. Meaning, after races I don’t really want to go on a bender. Sure, I’ll take it if it’s offered and it tastes good, but I know what makes my body feel good…and that Friends is simply eating enough.

That’s it. I eat enough, relatively the same amount whether training or not. I think that’s the key for me. It’s not looking forward to a certain type of thing (although if I wanted it I’d have it), it’s continuing my daily amount of calories. I’d guess I get 3,000-4,000 a day, and it works for me. Eating enough and feeling satisfied with my food is honestly better than any one special food.

Mic drop.

20 Miles at Twisted

Twisted Branch was everything I expected even in the rain. I knew what was coming and how hard it would be. I knew my fatigue level and the status of my ankle. With that knowledge I started the race with an open mind and an acceptance of the possibility of dropping.

I had my friend Jeff and Danielle out there crewing. Jeff would pace me from the Bud Valley aid station (mile 40) to the finish. They were amazing. I felt so taken cared for and safe with them. I couldn’t have picked a better crew. They knew my situation and how I felt going into the race. They knew not to press me if I dropped. It wasn’t that kind of day.

The race began at 4AM and it was actually a good temperature. Immediately I noticed my headlamp was shit. I haven’t used it since I used to run at 4AM, and it worked for where I was, the roads in Ithaca. A familiar place. It didn’t work for dark, wet trails.

After realizing this, I tried to stay near someone with a good light, but still my tripping was apparent. I hoped the sun would come soon.

Then the rain began and the shit show got worse. I was pretty scared for my safety actually, but just slowed down and made my way through the early hours. I think the Lord heard my prayers because at a turn, someone handed me a headlamp (it was the RD Scott who is an AMAZING guy) and I was able to see. That was a pretty big boost, one I needed as the rain began to pour buckets.

I felt alright making my way through the trails. Legs and heart feeling alright. Better than I expected. I ran with Pete Kresock for a while and then another guy I don’t remember. After Aid station 2 at 12 miles, we started a climb up a hill. By this point the course was flooded and still coming down. I missed a turn.

Instead of starting a windy descent, I made my way up to the top of a mountain and ended up at a pond familiar if you’ve run the muddy sneaker course. Realizing I must’ve made a mistake, I turned around and proceeded to fall down the wet rocks on the descent. I got so lucky I didn’t break my ankle. It was after the 4th or so fall that I knew it wouldn’t be my day here. The question was, did I want to walk the next 40 miles and 14 hours?

No. I did not. That is not my style. That is not how I race. I felt the chance to really mess myself up for longer was high, and that was not a chance I wanted to continue to take. I felt mentally checked out. Like I could plod along and finish, but this course deserves more respect than that. I felt like I could give it a real go, but not in the state of fatigue I was in.

I also felt at peace. I felt happy that I came to see what this amazing race was all about. I felt confident that I would finish it one day. But today was not that day. I simply am not ready to run a 100k. Maybe if I took MOTG and CT50 easier I would have been in better condition, but I didn’t. I’m also not mad I didn’t do that. I finished MOTG feeling strong and great. I finished CT50 in 3rd with a bum ankle. I am proud of those races.

I think my season ended at CT and the past month, although fun because I just love running, wasn’t what I needed to do well at Twisted. In hindsight, I’m glad I ran last month because I had fun on the roads. It felt good for some reason even though my ankle was sore.

With each race I learn more about my style and what I need. I am someone who races pretty hard each time (even if I don’t think I do) and I have a physical job. It takes me longer to recover. That’s my life. Now I will recover.

I feel at peace mentally, tired and sore physically, ready for a break to heal my ankle fully. I don’t have any races scheduled when I get back. I’m taking it one day at a time.

I’ll admit that last night I went to bed thinking “great, it was only 20 miles so I won’t be sore!” This morning I was reminded how hard my falls were and that volunteering for the hours post race is actually pretty physically demanding.

With that, I’ll end my season on a beautifully hard 20 miler, a long day of cheering and helping and hopefully a speedy recovery.

Thank you to Scott and all the volunteers at Twisted Branch. You made it fun and thank you for letting me crash the Bud Valley aid station to help. Thank you to Ian and Red Newt Racing for believing in me and helping with my crazy. Thank you to Finger Lakes Running for all the support, shoes and laughs. I have the best running store in NYS.

Until next time, I gotta go to work cause running don’t pay my bills ya know?

One Week Out

I don’t quite know how to best express my feelings toward my next race. I’ve made it no secret I’m tired from this summer of racing. I’ve loved it mostly. I love running, I love most of the people, I have fun in my day-to-day weekly training.

But I would be lying saying I’m not ready for a break. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m ready to reassess and see what I want to do next.

If I want to do anything next. Because you know, a 100K race is a lot for me. A lot of time to process, a lot of time to think about things and of course, a lot of time to get injured.

My ankle still isn’t at 100% and it’s concerning only because this race is gnarly. If it was a road race or easy trails, I’d be fine. However, rolling the ankle this time might be a significant problem. Guess I’ll just try to be safe you know?

Rather than dwell on what I wish was better or my tiredness, I’m focusing in what’s good and what I am looking forward to.

1.) Roads. Yup, I have ran on a trail twice since CT50 and almost rolled my ankle again. Not gonna test that out again till race day. However, running on the roads has been excellent. I’m just going to ride this train until it stops.

2.) Shorter Sunday runs. I do love spending a good day outside on the trails, but the past few weeks I’ve been doing shorter Sunday morning runs, finishing with time and energy to do other things on Sunday. It’s long enough, but not too long. I like that I don’t have to plan nutrition and water, because I’m lazy haha

3.) Exploring new options. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY RACES OR EVENTS ARE LIKE, EVERY WEEKEND?! With the tunnel vision of my triad of summer races, I don’t really pay attention to the fun 5ks, charity runs or other weekend things because I have a focus. SWEET JESUS THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS! That’s kind of fun to see, just running stuff to do it, to connect. Not training for it. Cool bro.

4.) Spending more time on the bike. Indoors. With my book. I am embracing this. Fight me.

5.) Finishing 100k. I am really excited about testing my body in that way. I still don’t know if I can do it, but I’m sure as hell gonna try.

At this time next weekend, I’ll either be dead or have run 65 miles.

Until then, peace.

Bleh I’m tired

This morning was another one of those days that prove fitness is a state of mind. I slogged through 7 miles not feeling super great.

How I am going to make it through 65 next weekend, I don’t know. Potatoes, Tailwind and a good crew.

Speaking of crew, I am having two of my friends help out during the race. I have no real idea what that means, but mostly I’m looking forward seeing people and then spending 20 miles with one of them at the end.

To be honest, trail running isn’t exciting me right now. Running is still fun and challenging, but I’m ready for a break after Twisted. Im at peace with where I’m at. I don’t want to run anything longer or crazier. I just want to take a step back and enjoy the stuff I’ve done this summer.

I had a great day off on Sunday. I ran, read for 3 hours, met my friend Ashley for lunch, read some more, cooked, just did whatever I wanted. It was just what I needed.

I’ve decided to keep all my jobs. I just had a freak out moment there when I didn’t get a day off last weekend and I was really looking forward to it. After all, having three jobs helps justify my new road kicks…

I’m already looking forward to this Sunday.