I raced UROC, which I bombed, then started to feel better for two weeks, jumping into Firetrails 50, thinking I was over the hump and on the upswing into a stellar fall season of fall classics. Post FT, a common cold set in, which once again I counted as a fluke, so I got over the cold during my October week off from school. This past week I’d run a nice Sunday three hour run with Geoff, Topher, Galen, and friends, but I felt unusually fatigued during and after this mellow effort. Years ago a student of mine from Lichtenstein said, “Jamais deux sans trois, never two without three.” True to Liechtensteinian philosophy, another cold set in solidly this past week.
Post FT 50, I had been running about every day, not long but an hour to hour and half, anticipating speed work being the basis of my training until JFK 50 on Nov 19, then tailing off that to the North Face 50 two weeks later. I’d counted on calling it a 2011 at TNF, then pick up with Bandera 100K in January. As of now, I am reading the writing on the wall that my 14 solid months of straight cycles through races and training have taken their toll, and the cumulative wearing effect has kicked in. Maybe the combination of the running, combined with school and family obligations is the cause. I am on somewhat foreign terrain with so much of life happening combined with races every 6 weeks, that I may have reached my plateau this summer and am now headed towards the edge. That said, I am pretty solidly committed to taking the rest of the year off from racing. I will run most every day for the next month with some days off, but just easy to keep metabolism up and to keep my head straight on my shoulders. I am in no way burned out on running (“mental fatigue”?) but physically I may be more tired than I realize.
Another variable that may have shot my immune system this fall is fleas. Yes, fleas. We have a solid trail and house mutt named Tanker, who I am guessing brought them home from a walk, as Novato is notorious for flea infestations. Our apartment then became infested in September, and we had to treat the place twice with permethrin-based sprays, which is known to cause immune-system depression . When I’d sprayed the apartment, I don’t think I vacated soon enough and inhaled the vapors for two hours. We were at a tough place in choosing to spray, given we have little kids and hate unnecessary toxin exposure. But moving was the alternative, so I sprayed and aired the place out while we slept elsewhere for a couple days, and I may have paid the price. Hopefully I didn’t cut my lifespan by a few years too, as many American's suffer the ill-health brunt of chemically-induced and chronic disease in our everyone-for-themselves country. I made my own choice though and mostly regret it.
All this said, 2012 is coming up quick! And I want to run some different stuff next year, including longer “gold standard” ultra-races of that distance through 2013, and then take on something even longer the next year than will involve many nights out and long days, for which I have a tentative plan. I am super-excited for the next couple years of running and practicing as a PA, which I think will be as successful as my prior fifteen years of trail, adventure, and ultrarunning. To top it off, we will be back in Colorado next year, to which my family and I look eagerly.