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As some of you who have contacted me recently know, I’m in a bit of a slump/rut and it’s mainly due to my recent IT-band issue. Yes, it’s still an issue. And the fact that it’s still an issue is doing two things, really. One is that it’s starting to really annoy me since I cannot get out there and run a normal run. Instead, I have to resort to mountain biking and/or nadda. The latter is not a pleasant option for me, but I take what life has to offer. The second is that it’s really starting to mess with my mind. What I mean is that it’s starting to make me think that this will never go away. Yeah, it’s a strong statement to make or believe in, but that’s how things like this end up making me feel in my gut. From the gut it travels to my heart. And from there to my mind. Once it’s in there, a war ensues. The battle is between my motivated side versus a side claiming to be the “rational side.” The former says it’ll be fine and to continue waiting it out and staying active; it’ll be over soon. The latter says this is your life, loser. This is the way you’re going to be for good and there aint shit you can do about it! Not a fan.

I tried my luck at running on Tuesday with a lighter run on the mill. I went into it thinking it’ll be a really light run just to see how the IT feels. I kept my word and maintained a light 6 mph pace with my typical starting incline of 3%. Felt great for the first 2/10 of a mile. Then the pains begin. When I reached the half-mile point, I was in pain. I blocked most of it out to get to my goal of 1 mile, but it would always continue showing itself. At the mile mark, I briefly stopped to stretch it out and massage it — a total of about 30 seconds. I then proceeded to get back knowing that heavy inclines are better for me than flatter or downhill running. So I increased it to 10% and did that for a little over two miles. This wasn’t bad for me, but towards the end I can feel the pains again. Granted, they were nothing like at the beginning, but nevertheless there agitating me and hindering my run. I didn’t want to push it too far so I stopped at 45 minutes and 3.3 miles. I never go under an hour on the mill, but I didn’t want to aggravate the pain (instead, it aggravated me!). And I think this was smart on my part. The next day, yesterday, I felt that area more than I have in the 8 days I hadn’t been running. In fact, I can still feel it a bit today. I’m really not happy.

So this is where I’m at physically and in part psychologically. I’m starting to get broken down psychologically. I can take a lot, so I’m nowhere near any so-called breaking point, but I’m on the path in that direction. It’s a dreary path full of emptiness and darkness. But I often look back making sure the light is still visible and hoping that light will make itself visible to me in the front.

[NOTE: The title of this entry really has nothing to do with the content of this post. It’s just a really awesome song by M83.]

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Lately my time has been taken up with school-related issues and therefore has slightly removed me from the running scene. This was back in April, by the way (well, March, too). Now that May is here, my thesis is still hovering above my head, but I fell more organized about it and also feel like there’s a better direction, so I’m not so overwhelmed.

I mention this because April was a rough month for me with school and trying to stay in shape for the two races I took part in. In a way, this was a good thing because if it were not for the races and the need to feel like I needed to get out there and train, I think I would’ve slipped off the wagon for several weeks. It’s unfortunate but I think it’s true.

After the first race, Rockin’ K, I told myself that after Free State, I will take it easy from the racing scene simply because I felt like there was too much stress/pressure to train. I’m not against training, but when my time is consumed by school-related things, it’s hard for me to make time (I have a very hard time dividing my focus when doing something; I either do it the absolute best I can or I lose interest in it after some time—I’d like to think I’m getting better, though). Now that I feel more relaxed and the fog has lifted, I have this urge to compete again. Running and training just to the heck of training and running is great, don’t get me wrong. But there’s something more to it when you involved a level of competition. I feel that’s when we push ourselves the most and truly find out what we’re about. When times are easy, you can’t know who you are or what your limits are. I see it like wartime vs. peacetime. A platoon can train as if in wartime, but mentally they’re not in that moment of stress and therefore it’s hard to truly say what they will do. Now, I’m a firm believer that a platoon or team can train as if in wartime and get incredible results from it. However, the true test is actual wartime. How well was your training in order for you to combat the conditions of war? If the answer is great training, then your results will most likely be in order with your expectations of winning and surviving to tell the story. If the answer is below average, there is a serious issue and one needs to reconsider his intentions or the penalties are dire.

I don’t mean to stray off point, but I see that thought as parallel to casual training and training for something which eventually turns into a race. So needless to say, I’m starting to consider my next race. As of yet, I have no idea what it’ll be, but my guess is that it’ll be something in July (50k at WyCo or something around the range of 50M). Strangely, it’s something I’m craving.

If anyone has any thoughts on summer races, please feel free to drop me a line. I’d be happy to hear about them.