Already Thinking of the Future

Today starts Week 14 of training for the Badger Mountain Challenge 50K. I’m still intimidated as all get-out, but I am also confident I’ll be ready come race day. The interesting thing is I’ve started thinking about what will come next.

It’s a standard joke that no matter how awful the race, an endurance athlete will almost immediately sign up for the next one. I went into this training thinking I’d wait until after the race to see what other races I would do this year. (I’d already signed up for Race the River sprint triathlon in Coeur d’Alene, ID. It’s in July, and we already have a room at a B&B reserved. In other words, I’m committed.)

Because this is my first ultra, and because I’ve never run a marathon, I have no idea how long it will take me to recover. I’m guessing it will take me at least a month. The recovery phase will likely both temper my desire to sign up for my next race and make me antsy to sign up for another.

During a recent run, I had this idea: take some time off! I’ve grown accustomed to always having a race on the calendar, because I am less likely to skip workouts if I know there’s a race coming up. But this has come at a cost: everything revolves around my training schedule. We only camped once last year. We never went hiking. Our garden suffered. The house was always a mess, so we never hosted friends in our newly-built pergola. Basically, we didn’t have much fun.

I’m thinking about taking some time off from racing and switching focus to the things I couldn’t work on because I was working on building endurance. I’m thinking of spending the summer trying to lose weight and working with a personal trainer. I’d love to focus on strengthening my core & my legs, and because of the bunion in my right foot I need someone to help me make modifications instead of just telling me to do lunges.

I’d love to go into a weekend without a schedule. I’d love to be able to have some flexibility to be spontaneous. I’d love to be able to load up the pack and go out for a weekend hike. And seeing all this snow we have around the state, I’d love to be able to go skiing every weekend.

I’ll still need to kick this around. I just signed us up for Bloomsday, which is the first Sunday in May. Last year, I decided that this year I’d either train for Bloomsday and race it, or I’d walk the course with The Hubs; right now, I’m leaning heavily toward walking it. I may still sign up for local running races, because I’d like to do enough trail running to keep my running fitness up – and I’m going to need cardio to help me lose some weight.  But I’d like to take the pressure off for a while.

Let’s face it: after I’ve complete the Badger Mountain Challenge, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. And I will deserve a break.

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