Sunday, August 5, 2012

The ART of running... with a SUPERSTAR

The ART of running…
I am happy to report that after 3 ART (active release technique) treatments at the chiropractor’s office I am recovering from my sore hip, which was caused by tight low back and hamstring muscles that made me run funky. ART has been my running lifesaver over the years from sore calves and tight achilles to feet/hips that hurt so bad I can barely walk. My hip pain started 2 weeks ago after an 18 mile run. After 2 treatments I was able to run 20 miles last weekend. And after my third and final treatment last week, I could run up the stairs again and felt almost no pain on Friday. So I decided to go for the gusto. I ran 24 miles yesterday and 10 miles today. Seriously? Yes! Never in my life did I imagine that this was possible and yet as I was in my last couple miles today I was high on life. Let’s not forget all those moments during the 24 mile run when I envied people running without waterbottles (signaling that their distance didn’t require over 2 liters of fluids like my run). But seriously, today I broke through to the other side – I officially felt like an ultra-runner and knew that I had entered new territory. I give much of the credit for this new development to my time running…

Yesterday at mile 20 I was tired and dreading the final 4 miles. My watch said I had already been out on the trail for over 3 hours. I had been alternating running 15 minutes with walking 1-2 minutes just to make sure I didn’t further injure my hip. A woman approached me and asked how far she was from the recreation center where we both had parked. When I told her about 4 miles she said, “well, I’ve run thousands so that’s good for today” and then turned around and asked to join me on my final miles. The comment caught me off guard – thousands of miles? – and I had an eerie suspicion that I recognized her. We started talking about what I was training for and she said that she literally ran 1,000 miles in May/June… across the entire state of North Carolina. For proof, here’s The North Face blog and here’s the story in the Denver Post. I had stumbled upon a legend… the professional ultra-marathoner, Diane Van Deren!

Diane was gracious in offering tips on nutrition and how to train for ultras. She not only asked me what I was struggling with in my training but also what I did for a living and where I grew up. I was touched by her genuineness and in awe of her accomplishments. We talked about what draws us to run long distances and in the process I found the mojo to continue my training. I could go on and on about all that Diane has accomplished and overcome, but one comment in particular stands out: “love what you do.” Whether you are paid as a professional athlete to workout 6 hours a day, or teach elementary school, or work at a computer all day – love what you do. There’s no way you can run a 50k or a 100 miler if you don’t love to run. Yes, not every day or run will be amazingly awesome, but love the journey. Thank you Diane!