I had a hard time getting back into the swing of things earlier this week. Alaska took a lot out of me, and readjusting to squinting at the sun whenever I went outside was strange. Many of my friends are declaring their 2013 goals and launching their new-year fitness routines. In a way, I'm doing the same, and after much consideration, I have but one goal — sustainable excess. You may ask, "Jill, how is this different than any other fitness goal you've ever had?" The answer is — not so much different as sharper. I want to continue to chip my way closer to the edge.
We all have to define what fitness means to each of us individually; for me, ideal fitness would be that of a through-hiker or distance bicycle tourist, putting in long day after long day and only becoming stronger as I went. Of course, infinite progress is impossible, and rest and recovery are crucial. But finding the last rung of balance before the tipping point is a wonderful challenge, and one I hope to take up whole-heartedly this year, both in my writing and my running. (Yes, running. A far-out hope tells me that this is the year to try the big distance thing with running.) There will be plenty of biking in 2013, of course, but mostly for fun and travel. I would go into my specific goals for 2013 but that will be a long-winded post. Soon.
|Steve and Beat, both Iditarod hopefuls, at the start of the Crystal Springs 50K.|
Crystal Springs actually went well for me. I was running solid until mile 21, when my hips locked up and my IT band in my right leg tightened as well, forcing me to walk most of the small hills along Skyline Ridge. The hip pain was left over from sled dragging, as it was the same nagging pain that dogged me on the strenuous hike into Tolovana Hot Springs. Compensating for my hips is what likely led to the IT/knee issue. Anyway, typical boring runner complaints, but it was demoralizing to suddenly drag so much on the one thing I consider myself good at — climbing. It was also frustrating because I had been having a good day, and even though I didn't know my pace (GPS conked out) I thought I might be in range of a 50K PR. But instead of fighting it, I settled back and gratefully accepted what my body could do at that moment. Important lessons to remember in the long-distance game.
I was able to loosen up the hip joints a bit on the final three-mile descent, and finished in 5:53, still my second-fastest time in a 50K. I also finished ahead of Beat and Steve by a fair margin because they were too consumed with Iditarod fretting and scheming to run fast.
|A bad photograph of Beat chasing some deer down the High Meadow Trail.|