A few months ago I said that I wasn't ready to state that I couldn't train for a bodybuilding competition and train for ultra marathons simultaneously. Not just lifting a few times a week, but really going at the muscle building, diet, etc. I believe it was Keith Krone who stated that if he was training as I, he would have had an aneurysm. My runs were becoming difficult but I wasn't ready to say UNCLE quite yet. I found that by adding calories in the way of even more lean proteins, shakes and by making sure to take in a pre workout shake, BCAAs during workouts and nutrition immediately post workout things were OK, for a while.
UNCLE. U N C L E. UNCLE UNCLE UNCLE UNCLE. Loud and clear. Uncle.
I no longer wish to train for a bodybuilding competition and ultra marathons simultaneously. I am not sure that both can not be done simultaneously, but for me, I am no longer experimenting with that goal. I am choosing to no longer train for both a bodybuilding competition and ultra running.
As I look back on the changes I have made since beginning this journey in December I wonder how it all began? Couldn't I just lift a few times a week without deciding I should try a show? I has happily building a bit of muscle and maintain it as I was running 100 mile weeks. I guess that would be like me running a few miles a day without deciding I should run a 100! Ha, that would just not be Me.
I learned so much about myself. I learned that I am driven by goals. I love to set a goal and reach a goal, to come short of a goal, learn from the experience and try again. Sure, I love to just run a five mile route with Topaz each day..but I do love to see progress in my times, in my races, just as I like to see progress in other areas of my life as well. I won't get too deep here into those other areas such as mental, spiritual, etc. at this time. Running is physical, mental, spiritual, cleansing, meditative and joyful. That will be another post.
I learned that it is very difficult for me to train for two disciplines that seem at such odds with one another. When I first realized I was having difficulty running long and gaining muscle I went to the forum boards at Precision Nutrition and asked if there were any ultra runners training for a body comp and if anyone felt I could train for both and be successful with both. You can probably guess what the responses were. No no and no. I wouldn't give up quite so easily. I still tried to do both and was able to for a few months. I have built a few pounds of muscle and dropped fat but it has been plenty difficult to do.
I think that after injuring myself at McNaughton it was a bit easier for me to go the bodybuilding route..I never thought I would actually think of bodybuilding first and ultra running as a second, but I did for a while. Then Topaz became sick and couldn't run with me so it was even easier for me to delve deeper into bodybuilding.
As I began to run less I noticed I wasn't as happy. I didn't feel joy as much as I usually did, I felt antsy, like I had all of this time and what should I do with it; I would think about a race and then poo poo it, telling myself I was moving on. I think I was becoming a bit depressed. Not only the lack of endorphins, but more than that. I didn't have goals to reach for weekly, monthly, summer wasn't filled with a morning run with Topaz, an afternoon roller blade with the boys, a night track session or run around the lake during baseball practice, a few weight workouts. I am used to training 2 or more sessions a day. Lifting 45-60 minutes a day with a 20 minute 'cardio session' really was not doing it for me.
I wanted to feel as I do when I spend a day at the ski hill, repeat after repeat..the feeling from a hard track workout, a 25 mile training run..the feelings of joy, of being in the moment, of working hard and feeling pretty darn proud of myself for getting in the hard work.
A few weeks ago when Alicia asked me to join her at Afton for a midnight run I at first thought no, not in my training scheme. I kept thinking about it. I told Steve that they were meeting at midnight and I'd like to go but I probably shouldn't. He looked at me like I had a third eye. Why not? We don't have anything going on, do we? Yeah, like we have something going on midnight on a Friday night. Not. Troy had a baseball game that would be finished at 9, it was perfect timing for me. I would be back home before they even awoke. I told him about the bodybuilding and that hours on the trail wasn't conducive to this. He couldn't believe it. Julie. This is what you love to do. Do what you love to do. I did. I loved it. I missed it. I missed running. I missed moving my body forward, breathing heavily, feeling joy in the moment, laughing, I missed my friends.
As Kevin and I were running down the trail, in the deep woods, in the dark, I said it. I said it and I yelled it over and over. UNCLE. UNCLE.UNCLE.UNCLE.
I am an ultra runner. I love to run. Running gives me such joy, it has become a part of my life, a good part of my life and I now know how much it means to me. I now know how much I missed it and I will miss it no longer.
I know some will say 'oh, so you need running to be happy, how sad.' Well, I have no answer to that. All I know is yes, I love to run and yes, it does make me happy, it makes my soul happy.