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Frustration Breeds Madness

Or how a year filled with injury led me to sign up for a crazy back-to-back week of racing…

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile already know — this has not been my year for running. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re tired of hearing about it. But it’s bound to happen sometimes. I accept that running is a cycle — when you’ve been doing this sport long enough, you’re going to have some great highs and some really low lows…lows that can last for the better part of a year. Doesn’t always make it easy to get through them, but it is something every runner should be prepared for. It comes with the territory.

The good news is that I feel like I’m finally starting to climb my way up. Yes, my runs aren’t all amazing, but at least I’m able to do them. I’m back in training and (like to think I’m) getting stronger every day.

ec_lc_procompression

I’ve been trying to take things one day — one run — at a time. Focusing on slowly building up my strength for NYCM, and not doing anything too crazy…or anything that could leave me injured again. And for the most part, I think I’ve done pretty well. No crazy increases in mileage, taking my time before signing up for races, taking rest days when I need it, and spending way too much time with my foam roller.

But I have to admit, even cautious, “play it safe” runners can only take so much. No matter how smart of a runner you think you are, all that frustration is bound to build up…and can result in some crazy decision making.

I think you all know where this is going… The Ragnar Ultra Relay team has been announced. And I’m on it – despite the fact that New York City Marathon is less than a week before (NYCM is on Sunday, November 4th; the relay goes Fri – Sat Nov 9 – 10).

I have never done anything like this before. Even Evan thinks I’ve lost my mind. Normally, the week after a marathon is reserved for doing absolutely nothing besides sitting on my butt and watching trashy TV. I need that time to recover — both physically and mentally. I know the last thing my body will feel like doing is running 30+ miles over the course of a weekend, all while being cramped in a big white van.

But here’s the thing…after so many months of frustration, I need a challenge. I’m craving it. Running a marathon isn’t easy, of course, but I won’t be running NYCM for time. This isn’t going to be a PR race for me. So in the absence of a time goal, why not create a distance one?

My NYCM + Ragnar double will be the greatest number of miles I have ever raced within a 7 day period. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little afraid about how my body will hold up. Or sort of intimidated by the fact that my crazy teammates are gunning for the overall female win.

But I just kept thinking to myself — if not now, when? I have done nine 200-mile relays. Ragnar will be my 10th and my first ever Ultra…something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I ran my very first relay in 2009. On top of that, I have an awesome team of runners to do it with. Both SR and Sarah OUaL have already done posts introducing the team, so I’ll just give you the list of rock stars (you can go to their blogs if you want to read more).

Can’t argue with the rock star status of this line up:

I was tempted from the moment Emily first offered me a spot on the team (you all know I have a hard time saying no to a relay). And as soon as she mentioned that we’d also have the support of two awesome companies, the deal was sealed. I really don’t think I’d have the confidence to attempt this double without bringing out the big guns in terms of recovery: Pro Compression and Compex.

I’m already a big fan of compression socks (I basically live in them after long runs and during the height of marathon training), and these babies come in both bright pink and green – team watermelon perfection.

Even Mom{ontherun} is a fan…

testingoutproExcuse our cankles…so hot

Compex will help take the race prep/recovery to a whole new level. I haven’t actually gotten to test it out yet, but word on the street is that this little electrostimulation device can improve endurance and speed up recovery. Sounds good to me! I can’t wait to try it out (and will report back after I do!).

And then…as if all that wasn’t enough to convince me, I just kept thinking about my dad. I want to actually write a post about this, but my dad – a runner that I have looked up to my entire life – is now struggling just to walk. Bad genetics combined with an awful knee surgery resulted in the bones of his knee fusing together, leaving him unable to run. To make matters worse, he just discovered that he has both a torn meniscus and an aneurysm in his other “good” knee.

My dad will be going into his first of two surgeries on October 4th. He will have a month of recovery before going under the knife again — this time for a procedure that will keep him off his feet and in rehab for at least 2 additional months. It has been so hard to watch this man who loved running more than anyone I have ever met struggle. First – through giving up running and now, through the inability to be active at all. I know that he would give anything to be able to run just one mile without pain.

grafton inn_laurenanddad

So Dad — in November, I will be running for you. Each step that I take will be dedicated to those steps you want to run, but can’t. When I’m feeling tired or in pain I will not give up. I know that I have been given a great gift. I’d do anything to give that gift back to you. Since I can’t, I hope this is the next best thing.

45 days until New York City Marathon. 50 days until Ragnar Las Vegas.

Let’s do this thing!

12 Responses to Frustration Breeds Madness

  1. Awww I am in no way an emotional person at all but you running for your dad is so sweet. I teared up reading! Your poor father :( Wishing him a successful surgery & speedy recovery!! Each step of both races will mean all that much more to you :)

    Best of luck with training for NYCM and Ragnar. Yeah you may have been out of the game for awhile, but you’re still YOU. The speed & endurance is still there, it’ll return. I have no doubt that you’ll rock both races. Glad you’re starting to feel back to normal & kicking it into high gear for the fall racing season. Looking forward to reading all about it!
    Melissa´s last post ..Traveling with Ease :: My Top Ten Travel Tips

  2. I know you can do the whole NYC and then the Ragnar thing. I’m jealous of your November racing plans.

    Also, it’s super sweet that you are dedicating your miles to your dad. My dad is actually the one who got me started on running, so reading this post made me emotional.
    Rena´s last post ..How to combat idiocy

  3. I had the worst year in 2010 so I feel your pain. Things are looking better for you though and I am so happy for you! NYCM and Ragnar will be a great experience. That is so sweet that you are running for your dad. I cannot imagine how devastating this must be for him :( :( :( and wish him good luck with his upcoming surgeries!
    Celia´s last post ..registering for the boston marathon and an analysis

  4. That brought tears to my eyes! And such a sweet pic of you and your dad!
    I think you will rock these races. I think the timing is good too, with the marathon first…a few days to recover, rest and then on to the relay!
    I have had good success in using Hammer Recoverite after runs when I am doing back-to-back LRs or races. I also use glutamine powder (1tsp daily) at night during high training periods.

  5. Wow Lauren,
    How do I explain to my employees why I am sitting in my office crying. You are an amazingly thoughtful young woman and I am SO proud to be your father. And, as your father, I think you’re crazy to run both races back to back. But, as your first ever running partner, I would be right by your side running every step of both races if I could. God blessed you with an amazing talent and strength and you have made Mom and I very happy. I love you, Dad

  6. Lauren, You are one special daughter. You made me cry reading your blog, and I know how much your Dad appreciates what you are doing for him. You know how very special you are, (Daddy’s little Bud), and how much he loves and respects all that you do. On November 4th, may you run as though you have wings on your feet, because you are an angel to us. We love you so much!

  7. Geesh, I don’t even “know” any of you and I am also crying in my office! What a great family, kudos to all of you. Lauren, I know you will do awesome in November- I am fairly new to running, and only wish I was half the runner you are on a bad day! To Lauren’s dad- I have a feeling you will be motivation for lots of runners out there who read this post! Very best wishes on your upcoming surgeries- I will say a prayer for your recovery :-)

  8. This post just made me cry!!! You are so sweet and I’m sure dad appreciates you running in his honor! Dad is definitely the reason any of us run! I can still hear him (oh so lovingly) telling me years and years ago as I ran, crying that I was so tired, “You know, if you have enough energy to cry, that means that could run harder.” Now go out there and run your heart out!
    Christina´s last post ..What motherhood has taught me so far…

  9. GOOOOD LUCK!!
    Lauren´s last post ..The Garmin decision

  10. Your family!! My dad leaves one single comment on my blog telling me my photo of salmon and noodles looks like worms…your family leave some comments and make runners across America cry!!

    Do the races, enjoy every step…everyone who reads your blog will be rooting for you!

    And that photo of you and Evan and your feet at the top needs to be framed.
    Cathryn @ myheartscontentblog´s last post ..Heidi Swanson’s Green Lentil Soup

  11. Ah Lauren….I had to get the Kleenex …you are a special girl. I hope that your body goes with this plan and that you will be feeling good for both. That is a lot that’s for sure but I get why you are going for it. I think it is wonderful that you are doing this for your dad.
    Caroline´s last post ..Peace of Mind for 365 more days

  12. I ran a marathon on Labor Day (Monday) and did a Ragnar relay (though not an ultra :) I was very worried how it’d go especially since the marathon was a downhill inclined course and i have trouble recovering from downhills. However, it was GREAT. I had a blast at Ragnar and ran faster than I expected – you won’t regret it!!

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