September of 2012 through June 2013 was, by far, the longest stretch of my "running life" where I had not been 100% healthy. It was always something, whether it be a car accident, my back, or other odd freak injury. I still had goal races to run, but without the ability to run healthy for them, the outcomes suffered. This ultimately led to months, or over a year in this case, of running that has been nothing short of a train wreck.
It was only a few years ago that it seemed like I could show up to a local trail race and be somewhat competitive. Then, in the blink of an eye, the talent around me got better, and my running started to take a downturn. For the first time since I began ultras in 2004, I was finishing races near the back of the pack, and those were the ones I didn't DNF due to injury. I ran the Holiday Lake 50k in February and finished over two hours behind the winner and over thirteen hours behind the winner at MMT. Talk about one big slice of humble pie after another.
So, when I moved to Colorado and flopped at Leadville again, I decided it was time get healthy and to absolutely stop doing these 100 milers that were making me hate running. It was tough at first, but I cut way back from the 100+ mile training weeks that got me nowhere in the spring. In fact, though high volume mileage would appear to be excellent for long distance training, it really just made me grumpy and tired. Oh, and it proved to do zippo for actual race performance as well. For the past four months I have been running much less and enjoying it far more. It also helped that I gave my body and brain a nice long rest from ultras, and that all my running was driven from a desire to see awesome places and just run for the freedom in it. I think that running is back to being healthy and playful past time for me, which is the very reason I got into it. Knock on wood, I have been running injury free for a while now, have seen my fitness improve a bit, and am starting to feel like my old self again.
Part of me would like to start "racing" again, but the other part of me wonders how quickly I'll end up right back to the crummy place where 2012 and 2013 left off. It's a bit of a dilemma to still have races I would like to do, but I also enjoy having good fast trail run without the notion popping into my head that it is prepping me for some future event. But,for the time being, I kind of like being off the radar, and Lost In the Woods :-)