It's getting to be that time of year when the Niggles hit. You know them: those little aches and pains that show up a couple of weeks before a big event; after a long summer of running. You try to talk yourself out of them, and sometimes you can. Sometimes, though, they linger. Sometimes, even, they get worse.
After El Vaquero Loco 50k on August 9th, I rested for 3 days. Three days of virtually no running, just a few slow, 1-2 mile dog walks. A long summer of running and a good, strong event called for a few days of rest. Then, I hit the trails hard. I did a 10-miler, followed by an 8-miler, followed by a tough 16-miler, followed by an even tougher 19-mile run. Consecutive days with no rest on tight legs. No foam roller, no massage-work, nothing.
The Niggle hit at about mile 13 of the 16-mile day. I iced it down and took some Ibuprofen that night. I stayed motivated for the 19-mile day the next morning (early) when my alarm went off at 5:30. I made it most of the way through the 19-mile run, but started having problems about 15-miles in. I had to walk most of the last 4 miles. It was frustrating, especially because I know the rest of me is really strong. I'm powering up the hills and chatting along the way, something I rarely do. But I hit the downhill and the Niggle gets stronger and stronger until it forced me to walk.
So I pulled out my Ace and booked an appointment with my massage therapist. I swear, he has magical powers. I had iced and used balms, and done some massage work myself at home, also nearly brought myself to tears on the foam roller. Then my therapist got his hands on me. WOWEEE as my grandparents used to say. No pain, no gain? You betcha.
I did a short interval run the next morning. The Niggle was still there, but he was a waif of his former self. I did a 5-mile hike-run today with the dogs. Niggle? Be gone. I barely felt it. I'm hoping for some good miles on Sunday (in two days) after another tester-run of 5-6 miles tomorrow afternoon.
And what about the Siren Song, you might ask? Do you remember the tale from the Voyage of Ulysses (Odysseus)? The Siren sisters with their sweet song, lure Ulysses to their island and he has to shake himself away; force himself away from them to continue on with his journey. I think it was one of the most difficult things he must have had to overcome. Worse than Medussa. Worse than the Cyclops. Worse than escaping the clutches of Scylla and Charybdis. What could this force be, you ask? My IKEA bed. Oh, it is so snuggly soft and comfy. I sink into it every night and force myself away from it every morning. I have never slept so well. And with all this running, I require more and more sleep: 8 hours seems to be not enough these days, and 9 hours seems better. 10 hours is heaven. (I know, I know... you people who have kids are able to function on 5-6 hours per night. I really don't understand how you do it. I would totally be a grumpy zombie.)
One more thing (speaking of grumpy zombies): I won't be giving up caffeine before the race, either. I'm down to 2-3 cups per day (if you count a cup as 10-12 ounces). And that's where my caffeine intake is going to stay. Motivating to get out of bed in the morning is hard enough without the promise of half-caff to greet you. *Snore*
Two weeks to go until the big dance ~ 100 miles in the Wasatch Range.
And remember: if you are feeling the Niggles or hearing the Siren Song, it always helps to gain some motivation by going out for a run with two sweet dogs or a really good friend. Pull some energy from them, and feel them pull you along the trail. It's ok ~ they don't mind. Because you will then gain energy and give it right on back to them.