Shortly after I ran the Orcas Island 50k, I had a great talk with my brother Eric, who ran the race with me. As we slowly hiked the Portland trails, trying to revive our legs, we contemplated our future in the sport. Let's just say Orcas Island was a humbling experience for the both of us. Neither of us had trained much at all for this pretty brutal 50k. I have been occupied with my education in nutrition and was still recovering from an injury, while Eric has been composing piano music. Before heading out on our hike, we watched a great film by Billy Yang called 15 hours with Anton Krupicka. Anton reflected on his career and said that there was only one time he felt like he had reached his full potential as a runner; during Western States 100. I was set back by this. Anton is a very committed runner that runs every single day! How could it be that he hadn't fulfilled his potential in every race? Well, my own answer to this question was that until we give absolutely all of our self to the objective at hand, we cannot reach our full potential. I am not saying that the best give up everything for the one thing they are best at. They may, but more likely they have a natural ability that allows them to maintain other facets of life while achieving their goals. I want to maintain other facets of my life just as much as anyone else. I feel like my life is currently pretty well balanced. I run about 3-4 days a week, giving me plenty of time for my personal, social, and academic life. Also, running and nutrition go pretty well together. Improving my running resume definitely doesn't hurt my credentials when working with other athletes as a nutritionist. I tell myself this so I don't feel as guilty running when I should probably be doing something else.
Trail running has been a wonderful outlet for me. I don't know how else I could mitigate stress during this time of my life. I have always been a creature of movement. I have gone against the urge of movement by sitting in classrooms for so many years. The itch to get up and move is something I have dealt with all of my life. Running is my medication. I love to compete but I don't think I would be able to run everyday. So the question I ask myself now is, "how can I feel more fulfilled running without sacrificing my fulfillment in everything else that I am doing?"
I am now 26 years old. I feel healthy and I want to see where I can take my body this year. School and relationships will remain my priority, but I can't help but ask myself, "what if I really put in the effort and time?" Different from the past two years in which I only ran 2 races a year, I plan to run in 5 races this year; 3 of which I have already registered for. The distances range from 20 miles to 100 miles. I want to be a more versatile runner. I want to become faster and also develop the grit and endurance to run 100 miles for the first time. I will post an outline of my training and what I am doing nutritionally to optimize my performance. The challenge: get the most out of the training that I put in. I can't sacrifice as much time as I would like. So here we go! Well...not quite yet. My ankle is still not happy with me and I can't afford to have this lingering pain go on. I am still lightly training, but I hope in a week I can really take it seriously.