(Photo: Hanna Dobbels)
Last week, I wrote a blog for the Smashfest Diaries about my next project. You can read that here…..but in short, I’m going to run the Long Trail (Vermont) this summer, and going for the women’s Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the trail. I’ll be doing the FKT attempt with a crew so this will be a supported effort. I’m really looking forward to this challenge, though on a daily basis I find myself stopped in my tracks with panic over what exactly I have signed up for (figuratively signed up for of course….there is no actual race here!).
But that’s what is going to make it great, right?
A few years ago I had the pleasure of crewing for a good friend at the Ultraman World Championships (if you aren’t familiar with this event, an overview is here). The epicness of this event was not lost on me, nor was the amount of preparation – both mental and physical – that goes into it. It wasn’t until I saw Ultraman unfold before me that I truly felt like some events require another level of respect, or commitment, to complete them.
When I was in Vermont last Fall, running sections of the Long Trail, one of my first thoughts was that if I was going to go after this goal, I had to respect it. I couldn’t cut corners and I couldn’t take it lightly – it was going to be A. Project.
And because of this, the decision to run wasn’t taken lightly, as Hillary and I both know that this could deter my ironman goals for a bit. But we decided to run, and we decided to go all in. And with that, came the task of really looking at my strengths and weaknesses and how that aligns with the project of running/hiking 273 miles as quickly as I can.
The concept of strength came up pretty quickly. I’ve never been a strong person. No one ever believes me because I (admittedly) am prone to LOOKING like I have muscles — and these fake muscles are really, really good at swimming, biking and running. But push-ups? Planks? Psh – only if I work really hard at them every day. Pull ups? FORGET IT! Pull-ups (or rather, my lack of ability to do them) are literally one of the reasons I felt I’d never get the billet I wanted from the Naval Academy (EOD).
The fact of the matter is, to swim, bike and run fast you have to be strong in very functional ways that allow you to swim, bike and run. But those don’t translate directly to “typical,” full body endurance strength. It doesn’t totally translate to the strength (or agility!) that is going to help you run ~55 miles a day over technical terrain for a handful of days.
So, we had to get working on this as one of our first priorities! I quickly enlisted the help of Ann Dunn from Formula Complete Fitness. If you know me, you know I have been mixing in Formula’s Equilibrium (and the occasional Focus!) class in my training since they opened last September. I am super into these classes and I find them such a great addition to my training. I’m not sure if it’s just some social interaction, or all of the new things I do each time I go, but it’s so so fun (and yes – a great workout!).
I chatted with Ann a bit about my project and my goals, gave her some info on the trails, and she has set me up with a program that I love. I love it because I hate it. I love it because I’m good at it, and I love it because I’m terrible at it. That’s a recipe for success if ever I’ve known one! This season has been the first one where I’ve incorporated some other coaches to help with my training – I’m swimming masters with Don Easterling, and now Ann. It’s been important to me that I only do this if I feel like they are on my page, and understand my goals, and how I want to get there. Both of these people definitely meet that requirement and that helps them fit into Hillary’s overall plan as well.
Next thing I knew, I was jumping over cones with one leg. When my tongue is out, you know I’m serious!
Now that I have this rolling, it will be time for step 2 of my FKT prep — that happens next week! Stay tuned! 🙂