In just over a month I will be running the 13th World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Podbrdo, Slovenia. The Gorski Marathon has 9,000 feet of elevation gain and loss over 42 kilometers (26 miles). Our U.S. team leader (and my fellow La Sportiva teammate), Jason Bryant, ran the course in 2011. You can read about his experience here.
The last four mile climb of the course is called “the hour of truth.” It has five aid stations and a doctor.
To prepare for the two brutal climbs I have been increasing the elevation gain and loss of my long runs. Our local trail, Pine & Cedar, is infamous in Bellingham as a relentless climb of 1.5 miles with 1350 ft elevation gain. I started doing repeats of P&C at the end of my long runs. I was feeling really good physically and began feeling confident in my potential to perform well at Worlds. After several weeks of consistent training, lots of vert and high mileage, my left hamstring, glute, psoas and hip flexor revolted. Tightness overtook my leg and prevented a normal gait. I took some time off and a down week to allow all of my muscles to rest and calm down.
The Don’t Fence Me In 30k in Helena, Montana was on my racing schedule as soon as it was announced as part of the 2016 La Sportiva Mountain Cup. It is my favorite race in the series and we were excited to return to the beautiful trails of Helena for the third year in a row. We made our flights, hotel and car reservations at the end of February, but it wasn’t until mid-March that I noticed that they had changed the date of the race to the weekend prior to what was on the original schedule. Unfortunately, even after incessant begging to the airlines, we were not able to change the flights or get any money back. I was extremely disappointed in the whole situation. Between the scheduling snafu and my leg holding me back, Don’t Fence Me In was not meant to be this year for whatever reason. I can tell I am getting older and more mature when my response to setbacks is calm and rational rather than emotional and reactive.
After some down time and several weeks of working consistently with my awesome chiropractor and massage therapist, my leg has loosened significantly and I feel re-energized for the last training push before we leave for Europe. Other tools that I am using that have been instrumental in my rehab are the Bio Skin compression shorts and hamstring sleeve. As soon as I am done with my run, I slip into Bio Skin regardless of my outfit. Consistent recovery from training is just as important as working out.
I have had the opportunity to test out Enduro Packs‘ Liquid Multi-Vitamin, L-Glutamine Recovery Complex and Electrolyte Spray. As a Registered Dietitian, I aim to fulfill all of my nutrient needs through a whole foods diet and recommend my clients do the same. However, as an elite athlete I understand that specific nutrient needs are higher during intense training periods and supplemental help may be needed to maintain optimum health and efficient recovery.
I am so appreciative of my awesome team of support and sponsors. Anyone who has seen me train or race knows that I love my sunglasses so you can imagine my thrill when I was accepted as an ambassador for Native Eyewear. Not only do they make lenses that will protect your eyes for any adventure, the folks at Native are stewards of Mother Earth, making environmentally responsible products. The protective cases are made with recycled water bottles and all of the packaging is made with recycled cardboard and printed with soy-based inks. Protecting our playground is extremely important to me and I am proud to represent a company that prioritizes preservation.