#47: Caught in an updraft….

Did you ever have one of those days (or maybe if you’re really lucky a few days strung together) where things start to click?  Maybe not for you personally, or not only you, but for those around you? Where the energy is so positive it has a contagious effect?  If you haven’t experienced that….it’s time to find some new people to hang around…..if you have, you know it’s pretty cool.

I’ve decided to call this an “updraft” (the antithesis of the dreaded doom loop) when the happenings and energy around you act just like a upward air current, get under your wings and send you soaring. 

If you’ve been following for the last few weeks (and I thank you for doing so, I’m getting ready to crack the 3,500 hit mark) you know that I’ve been battling a little:  tired, stressed, not training nearly enough and overall feeling like I was losing ground some and overall getting a firsthand understanding of how easily it can be to get into a downward spiral as one stress leads to another, accentuating the last, leading to another and so on.  I was badly in need of a breakout week……

After a week which included enough fatigue that by Friday afternoon people were flat out telling me “you look really tired” (a nice way of saying….you look like someone kicked your butt), and I was, I was hurting; I hadn’t done ANY exercise since the Duathlon the previous week and this wasn’t helping the situation (2 races in 2 weeks w/no exercise in b/t, a healthy training formula does not make).  

And thus, by Friday late afternoon, I wasn’t sure if it’d be better to just hang it up and go to sleep or go out and get some exercise…..so I decided it was time to put my money where my mouth is…..long story short, I often tell clients (who are often chronically over-stressed) to take a little test….go out and exercise for 5-10 minutes and see how you feel….if better, you’re mind was tired (stressed) but your body needed the exercise (i.e. “caged animal”)…..if worse, it’s confirmed, you’re truly tired…..get some sleep.

So, with super-efficiency in mind, I set out to complete my little “fatigue-source-test” and a the same time run the Oe’r Hills & Far Away Race course, a 2K loop and that features picturesque views, a couple of strong ascents, veggie fields, an orchard, a wooded section and an amazing “chute” that will be the perfect spot for rowdy tailgaters at the coming race;  Although I had toured it a few times, I hadn’t run it (en total) yet and with the weather cooperating, I figured it’d be worth it since the final meeting of the week was with the race-organization team.  

It was an absolutely gorgeous loop that I can’t wait to share with some of those who make their way out to the race on 10/8.  I weaved my way back to BaseCamp31, for pit stop and Eric saw me walking in (+/- 4 miles in) “you’d just go for a run?” he asked.  “Yeah, I just did the OhFar loop” I said.  “I was just going to ask if you wanted to go do it,” he replied……and so instead of calling it a day, I figured since I was feeling pretty good and I still had an hour before the final meeting of the week, why not do it again……and after a now 8+ mile run, a shower and a meeting with the OhFar organizers it was a handful of errands and a date with the sandman; after all, Saturday was to be back on the run: 

  • First thing AM = speed and agility for some of #1’s soccer buddies 
  • followed by a (2 hour round trip) jaunt to pick up supplies for the Gran Fondo NJ bike race (PACER Team was manning a local aid station), 
  • a fly-by pick-up a final load of items from the house, 
  • a get back in time to send Lindsay off to Philly for the 1/2 marathon, 
  • a get #2 to a her (first ever) travel soccer game on time and 
  • get back in time for church and some dinner bachelor-dad style 
  • and then get settled for an early/busy Sunday (which forced me to bag-out of a BBQ, just about the only part of the day that sounded like much fun)

ENTER AN UPDRAFT: couldn’t come at a better time

Clearly, this could have been a weekend long punch in the stomach…..but then things started to go:

Got to the Bike aid station (which I was to be the “captain” of) to setup and despite a few technical glitches, and a chill in the air, things started to flow.  Volunteers showed up (including a few extras, unexpectedly) and things fell in place almost perfectly on schedule.  Riders started coming through in groups of 20-50 and I found myself wishing I was “out there” on this perfect day.  I started getting texts about the progress at Philly Distance 1/2, and things seemed under control for our runners there.  The weather started shaping up beautifully and I handed over the reigns of the aid-station in enough time to get #1 to her soccer game.  As I made a few PB&J (great pre-game food BTW), I got the final notice that all 4 of those representing PACER had PR performances and Lindsay, who was really unsure, slammed her best time by 3 minutes……a HUGE victory.  As I was walking out the door I got a call from an extremely apologetic woman who was supposed to volunteer at our aid station but got lost and found her way to another station and helped there…..super nice of her to call and I assured her that we had plenty of folks…..we got to the soccer game and #1 played like a champ.  She always gives her best, but then there days when she really works hard…..I felt like this was one of them.  So even though I was a little sideways about missing a great day for a run/ride, I was enjoying a much-deserved soccer win and some great weather. Somewhere around 1/2 time, I got a call that the aid-station was wrapping up nicely and shortly after a call from Eric that “Julie won it”……and he was referring to another HUGE victory…..Julie Culley, a professional runner and part-time trainer/coach @ Pro-Activity WON the USA 5K Road Championships…..a National Champion.  Pretty awesome…..

By now I was really itching to get out there……A weekend I was dreading a little was turning out to be totally uplifting…….and I so badly wanted to get out and ride…..or run….or ride AND run.  I got the kids home and woke Lindsay up (who was peacefully napping…..but SOMETHING had to give) to congratulate her.  We did a little final unloading of “stuff” and then I went out on the bike for a +/- 16.5 miler.  Felt great on returning so I did a quick transition, slapped on the running shoes and made my way out for a quick 4 miler……and it did not disappoint……and after a quick view of a friend’s first-child’s online photo album and a Sunday night family dinner to celebrate my nephew’s birthday I sit here feeling good.  Not dreading what will undoubtedly be another busy week…..but good, like things are getting back on track.

A big thanks to those who had a hand in creating the updraft….even if they didn’t realize they were doing it.  I hope it lasts and lasts…..and someday I can repay the favor.

There’s enough for everyone…..I’m happy to share,

Mike E.