Sunday, February 5, 2012

Putting in the work.

For the first time in 9 months or so I’ve finally put together two consecutive solid weeks of running.  The last week being my highest mileage to date so far at 110 miles.  I do feel good considering the mileage I’ve been running.  My legs are definitely more sluggish than normal, but I’m still able to run up most of the hills in the Front Range and I have no injuries to speak of (knock on wood).

My confidence to put in a solid performance at Ray Miller 50/50 has increased with the work I’ve put in, but as I see names like Jorge Maravilla and Jorge Pacheco start to populate the entrants list, along with Dom, Tom, Mark Hartell, AND 3 superfast females all capable of chic’n’ me, I can’t help but think to myself, “yikes, we’re going to be beating ourselves up out there in 3 weeks.”  Perfect.  While I’m less likely to place well at this race with all the speedsters, I do think I’ll be able to throw down a faster time chasing them around than I would if they weren’t out there.  Awesome.  Reminds me a quote from my high school’s basketball coach when he would say, “I’d rather lose by one point than win by twenty.”  Competing with people better than me pushes me to achieve what was previously thought to be unattainable.  My goal of winning a race 50 miles or longer should be qualified with the statement that I don't want to hunt out "easy" fifties to do so.

One are point of concern for me regarding this upcoming race is the terrain I’ve been training on compared to the terrain I’ll be racing on.  Most of my running consists of running steep inclines for 5-10 miles, reaching a peak, then turning around and running downhill back to my car.  A couple days a week I’ll hop on the treadmill and get in a tiny bit of “speed” work.  I like running slow, up steep long inclines.  Will my legs be able to run fast on shorter rolling hills on race day?  Will only running 30 miles as my longest training run be long enough? 

I love my job and I love to run.  I wouldn’t enjoy either of them as much as I do, if I didn’t have the other there to help balance out my life.  Working at a world renowned pediatric hospital, with crazy technological therapies, in the middle of metropolitan Los Angeles is fascinating.  Part of me cringes every time I think about the freeways, smog and nastiness of such a big city.  But, on my days off I am only a few miles from gorgeous mountains that feel thousands of miles away.  I get to lose myself in the steep lush canyons and huff and puff up rocky pitches, breathing in pristine air. 

Elissa running up to Echo Mountain with downtown LA and Pacific Ocean in the background.

In some ways I love that these two worlds are very separate and don’t overlap often.  I am however excited that I’m taking a hemofiltration class at work in the near future.  Hemofiltration is treatment modality used primarily for patients in renal failure.

I have begun to review and relearn information about the kidneys, what they do, what happens when they fail, etc., etc.  The kidneys role in fluid balance is paramount.  Proper hydration in running is crucial.  Now is enhancing my understanding of renal physiology going to help my running?  Highly unlikely.  But, understanding the inner workings of the kidney – including but not limited to:  baroreceptors, juxtaglomerular cells, the hypothalamus, anti-diuretic hormone, aldosterone, the renin-angiotensin system, nephrons, oliguria, and renal failure, empowers me with an appreciation of what is happening inside my body when I’m out there running, sweating and drinking.  I like knowing what’s going on inside of me, gives me something to think about when I’m running around in the mountains hours on end.  So far it has already scared me out of taking ibuprofen while running due to kidney failure stories like what happened to Erik Skaggs.

Another aspect of my job that sneaks into my running hobby is my appreciation of health.  Helping care for children who are either temporarily or permanently disabled makes me feel almost obligated to take advantage of being healthy enough to run by running.  I probably go overboard a bit with it, meaning I might be healthier if I ran a little less, oh well. 


  1. Didn't you just run the Backbone in Dec? How is 30 miles your longest run? I think long runs are the most overrated aspect of running. They make you slow and tired. That is why I never run them. It is the day to day stuff that makes you strong and fast. Just my opinion.

  2. Hi Hone,

    Yes I did run the Backbone in December, seems like forever ago though, so long ago that I don't really think about it as training for a race in the end of February... but hopefully having run that far back then will help me.

    I do feel better when I'm consistently logging miles in every, or almost every day of the week versus killing myself on long runs and having to recover for awhile. Mentally though, I think running long helps prepare me to run long. I guess I'll be an experiment of one in a couple weeks and we'll see if topping out with a longest run at 30 miles two months before a 50 is a good thing.

    Hope your training for Leona is going well. Keep doing your boney loop and you'll be ready to tear it up.

  3. Ray Miller is your race to lose. I will be helping out at the 1st aid station so I will be there to give you a nice big game slap!

    Alright time to head in for the Monday morning meetings. UGHH!

  4. Very cool that you have that balance in your life. I have no doubt you'll be running strong in the front of RM. See you at the start line.

  5. Stoked I get to see both of you two there. Hone, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but this is Jorge's race to lose. Can't wait for the game slap, ha! Good luck Chan, were in for a long beautiful day on the trails.