|Beat "running" in the 2012 La Petite Trotte a Leon|
Today I'm icing my left shin because I fear I'm developing a splint (thank you, road running. Yes, I blame you.) I had a similar dull ache in my right leg for most of last spring that continued to escalate until I hiked Mount Whitney in June, where it flared up to a full-blown shin splint that kept me off running for a couple of weeks and put a ding in my UTMB training that lasted through August. Injury isn't something I can well afford right now, so I'll take it easy this week, go for some bike rides, and maybe do a real kind of taper for the Quicksilver 50 on May 11.
Given that I haven't climbed out of my spring slump and have been running like crap for most of the month, this is probably for the best. But I wasn't going to "taper" the Quicksilver because it's just a training race to get my mind and feet ready for the rigors of the Bryce Canyon 100 on May 31. A hundred miles with 18,000 feet of climbing at a lung-busting average elevation of 8,500 feet? That should be enough to strike the fear of purgatory in my weak legs, but even that's just a training race for summer adventures — fastpacking in the Sierras, and a stage race in Iceland (!! Iceland has been on my "to visit" list since I was a teenager, so when Beat and I found out that Racing the Planet was putting on an 250-km stage race in early August, we signed up. I'm very excited.) Both are planned for the sake of an awesome adventure, but they're also geared to better prepare my mind and feet for the rigors of La Petite Trotte à Léon.
|This is Ana, racing the 2012 Tor des Geants with a sprained|
ankle. She's crazy. And awesome.
It's going to be beautiful and brutal, and it's been a couple of years since I got into something so completely over my head and beyond my pay grade. It's exactly where I prefer to be — perched on the ledge of a psychological precipice, knowing I'm either going to climb to new heights or fall hard, and likely both, but either way I'm in for a wholly submersive and memorable experience.
Some of my friends have asked me why I'm so focused on foot racing right now, especially when met with the surprise that after a five-year absence, I've opted to try the race to McGrath without my beloved fat bike. Part of it stems from all the bad runs, these pre-shin-splints, clumsiness, downhill side-stitches, and the suspicion that I'm just not biologically cut out for running of any sort. An act of defiance if you will, in my continuing experiments with mind over matter. PTL and the ITI are both arguably hiking races and do play to some of my strengths, but the fact is I'm going to have to get a much better grip on my weaknesses to see any kind of success in these endeavors. The confrontation with weakness is my reward — that age-old rationalization "to see if I can."
So here's to (hopefully) avoiding shin splints and staying healthy for the slow build. There's a big year ahead, and who knows? Maybe by summer 2014 I'll be ready to return to test my own speed limit in the Tour Divide. ;-)