Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tremendous North Coast 24 Recovery

Recovery and rest matter. They matter more than the training. Seriously. The difference between full time runners, and those of us working 40-50 hours a week is that we just don't have the time to sleep as much or lay around in a state of mental half engagement. For me to run twice a day it means waking up at 5, or at least 5:30, putting in some miles, going to work for 8-9+ hours, then putting in more miles after work, eating a big dinner, and going to sleep at 9, or even earlier sometimes. There is not much rest during the day, aside from sitting in my expensive chair at my desk at work. In short, I think that working a full time job makes it harder for me to recover than not working a full time job.

However, I realize that my personality is such that I will never be a full time runner or mountaineer or athlete of any kind. Mentally, the challenge is just not enough. I need some sort of mental stimulation, and a few puzzles does not cut it, we're talking a couple dozen hours a week of a long term project, minimum. The mental challenge gives me a balance to the physical challenge. So it's a balance. I'm not sure where the perfect balance is. At 40 hours a week of work, life is great! At 50 hours a week, I start to slide in my motivation and engagement. I've never really done less than 40 hours a week so I can't say what 30 hours a week or 20 hours a week would do for me. That's kind of getting off topic, the point is, how much I work has an impact on my running.

This post is about celebrating how amazing my recovery from my first ultra marathon has gone! Simply stunning!

North Coast 24 Recovery Mileage
Look at those numbers the last month! A 20 mile run! A 28:08 8k with 350 feet of up and down?! A set of 4x mile intervals at 5:40 pace less than two weeks post race?! I took four days completely off, a three mile run and then another day off, then I was basically back into it with a 49 mile week and an 82 mile week.

I read tests about VO2Max, running efficiency, fat/carbohydrate mix, foot strikes, and all sorts of running related studies, and I have only twice been studied, both were for an undergraduate class way back in 2009. I look at this graph, and I have to wonder, how much of an anomaly am I? I mean, this is crazy! I have recovered so fast. If anyone wants to test me, please let me know. Speaking of which, between setting my 5k and 10k PRs back in 2012, I had a hematocrit of 42, which basically means, I probably stand to have a huge improvement living at altitude if I ever had that opportunity. Kind of a minor detail, but I was not drug tested after the NC24 and honestly I was hoping for a blood test because it would really cool if I was considered good enough to get a biological passport. I think I have a lot to gain my monitoring my blood, such as understanding when I need to take more iron or eat more protein. That's the scientific part of my speaking, the vast majority of what I do is based on feel. Pushing hard, but not too hard. 

In summary, Thank You God for giving me these gifts that I don't fully understand! I am not sure if I am really an anomaly, or I am an average guy with a crazy brain, whatever the case, I am blessed, and I don't want to take any recovery for granted, because I just don't know if this may be the last one I ever have.

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