History (or is that Herstory?)
Um, I don't know that I want to answer that, as the answer will tell y'all exactly why I'm injured :)
I met Johnny 10 ? years ago, and he got me hooked on hiking, rock climbing and backpacking. At that point, I was 17 (yes, young, I know!) and at a healthy weight (135 pounds), after battling disordered eating throughout high school (trying to starve myself - was never diagnosed with anorexia, and I don't think it was full-blown, but disordered nonetheless - got down to 118 pounds). Through the years after I married Johnny, I continued hiking, rock climbing and backpacking regularly, even as my weight steadily climbed (and climbed). I was proud to be an active 200-pound woman.
Six-and-a-half years into our marriage, we were surprised with Ash. After being married for so long with no conception, we figured we were barren - and happy with that! While pregnant, I took walks and tried to stay at an "okay" weight, i.e. not dangerous. I ended up at about 235 pounds by the time Ash was born. After I had him, I quickly dropped down to 196 pounds, and stayed there until December of 2004, at which point my running saga begins...
It was the holidays, full of rich foods and family gatherings - the combination of which led to much over-eating! Food was my friend, my comfort, my constant, non-judgmental, ever supportive companion. After a particularly celebratory week, I started to feel incredible discomfort in my right torso. The pain didn't go away, and would get worse when I ate. I had noticed throughout the year that I couldn't eat pizza at night anymore, because the pain kept me awake, but I figured it was some sort of indegestion with the tomato sauce (the only tomato-y thing I ate). But during this week, everything I ate was causing indegestion and pain - I was getting no sleep! The pain intesified to the point where I couldn't walk anymore. I could barely hold myself up, and nothing was staying in my body - everything was coming out one way or another. Horrible! I developed a fever, and spent the weekend in bed, without eating anything. I went to work on Monday morning, and a friend told me, "Gallstones." What?! What are gallstones? She told me to go to the doctor immediately, and so I did. She was right. I have gallbladder disease, including a large gallstone. This means I have to watch my saturated and trans fat intake, in addition to watching my portion sizing - for the rest of my life.
Well, this completely changed my life - no more pizza, french fries or ice cream for me! January, February and March of 2005 were the most miserable months of my life. Breaking that addiction felt impossible, but I knew that if I had my gallbladder removed, I would stay addicted. I knew that I needed to change my life, and let me tell you, there is nothing like the threat of imminent pain and emergency surgery to keep you from reaching for those french fries!!!
After the first 30 pounds melted off, my body felt like it needed activity, so I started running. Johnny and I had spent some time previously running, but it never lasted for long. It was around March of last year, and I couldn't even run a half mile! But I was out there! Plus, I started yoga. My body began to feel grateful for how I was caring for it.
Then, a coworker mentioned that she ran in the mornings, and would love a partner, and that's when I actually began a regular running routine. Paki and I would head out three times a week for about two miles each day. She did such a great job teaching me patience (which I still have issues with!). She also taught me that it's okay to walk when you run - and in fact, walking can really help! In the process, our relationship went from being coworkers to being friends. That's one of the things I love most about running - the community. I have made so many friends through running!
In the meantime, Johnny really began training for ultra running, and so we had two runners in the house. I decided that a race would make a great, fun goal. I ran my first 5k race in August ? it was a trail run. I ran my first 5 mile race at the beginning of September (with Paki), and did a 7 mile trail race at the beginning of October ? when I finally decided to go for Pemberton 50k.
Here?s how my weekly mileage went as I trained for Pemberton:
Jan 30........33.30 (race week)
There really wasn?t any cross-training in there. As I upped my mileage, the yoga stopped. Most of the running was done on the local river path, which is half packed dirt and half pavement. I did some running on dirt roads, and the rest on local, steep, rocky trails. The most vertical I did in one run was when I did Wasson Peak ? 3300 vertical feet. Mostly, I focused on overall gains around 1200 to 2000 feet ? since Pemberton was 1600.
As my mileage increased, so did my appetite - so much so, that even eating low-fat foods, my gallbladder was hurting! My weight continued it's downward slide, and I now average 137. The week after the race, I was down to 133, but with being injured, it's creeping back up - part of my panic!
(Obviously, I have weight issues that I have never fully resolved. Intellectually, I know I should be happy at whatever weight I am - as long as my gallbladder and the rest of my body are healthy and I can keep doing what I love - running. But I still have issues with the number on the scale, with the size number on the clothing. I went from an 18/20 to an 8/10. And I really, really want to keep it that way. But then, I wonder why? Why do I care about that? I read some blogs where I feel so happy and proud and "damn straight!" that the authors don't need to be "stick-thin" to participate in incredibly awesome athletic endeavors (marathons, triathlons, and even Ironman!). Then, why, pray tell, am I so hard on me?)
Okay, anyway, this was supposed to be about how long it took me to get into ultra-running. The short answer: not long enough. In analyzing my weekly mileage, I really only took three months to go from a recreational runner to ultrarunner. And now I'm paying the price :(
Once I heal, I plan on getting my mileage back up there - I'd like to maintain a base mileage of 20 - 25 mpw, and in prepping for ultra races (yes, I still want to do ultras!) I want to get up to 50 mpw. My life this year probably won't allow for that much mileage, but (depending on how well I heal) I will probably be able to do the Soul Run 50k in October. My big goal is Zane Grey 50 miler!