I have been hesitant to write about this topic as it’s seems to go against everything I have done to this point, however when I started Dirt in Your Skirt the one thing I said to myself was to be myself and be honest. At times my honesty has been uplifting, motivating, and other times I have written about the tougher times. In truth, I am just like every other person out there, at the end of the day I am just me.
As I stood on the starting line for the Reebok Spartan Race Las Vegas Super, I felt nothing. No excitement, no focus, no jitters, just a blank feeling. The excitement for the race didn’t seem to be there. After over three years of obstacle course racing and well over 30 – 40 races it is starting to feel the same. Each race the obstacles are almost exactly the same and in pretty much the same order. With the wide open desert terrain and very little technical terrain. It just felt like another trail run with a few obstacles mixed in. This is not to say the Vegas course was bad, in fact many loved it, I would even give it a 7 on a scale of 1-10. However it felt flat to me, and uninspiring. Maybe it is because I prefer the brutal rocky single track of races like Malibu, New Jersey, Vermont, Pennsylvania and other technical races. Maybe I can anticipate the obstacles before I get to them. For whatever reason, I realized while racing I have hit a plateau.
This plateau is one more mental than physical. Which is the scariest form of plateau. As I drove home after the race Saturday afternoon I Monday morning quarterbacked the disappointing result, it was more mental than physical. Physically, I walked away from the race realizing I am strong enough to do all the obstacles (I went burpee free), obstacles are the easy part these days. I wasn’t beat up, opting for a 6-7 mile trail run Sunday. I did learn I am slow right now. I need to do more speed work, and really run more. My focus drifted the last couple of months to trying new things. Which, is healthy but not making me a faster racer. Time after time when I seem to lose my inspiration I find it again alone in the woods on long runs. That’s my therapy, the more alone in the woods the more I work through in my head. I realized I have been disconnected from nature recently, spending more and more time in the gym and in the city during the winter months.
But now it’s spring, a time for renewal, time for me to bust through this plateau, start clocking more and more miles, some in the city but more in the woods. The snow is starting to melt in the higher elevations and muddy trails are calling my name. Over the next month it’s time to ramp up the training, find that fire again within me and prep for the next adventure and race in Montana then Mexico City then Vermont for Peak 100.
I wish I had the uplifting ending to this little post, but for now as it always is, a work in process. Time to work through this mental plateau as I have worked through the physical ones in the past. I am thankful to have people around me to help me through this blip in the radar and help me to focus on the things I want when I want them. For now at least 3-4 days a week you will find me in the woods with my running partner or alone, feeling the natural earth underneath me and the air above me. Time for me to reconnect with why I do what I do.