In the past, I have tended to judge the success of my races on the fact that I did more running and very little walking. But the funny thing is that most of my finish times remain around the 2:20 range for my half marathons no matter how much walking I slip in. I have ignored this fact, but I have had time lately to reflect on the affect this has had on my racing, and how harnessing the power of the walk for my 100-mile race will enable me to be a 100-mile champion.
My biggest challenge before this ultra marathon was definitely my training and completion of my full Ironman. In my preparation for this event, I never once contemplated only running and skipping any swim and bike training. I followed the training plan to a tee, even if it meant being in the pool by 3 am to swim for two hours before heading over for an hour long spin class. I swam, I biked, I ran, and yet never once did I think about training for walking. But the funny thing was, three miles into the marathon leg of my Ironman, my knee began to hurt and I spent a good portion of that last 23 miles walking. As I reflect back on that experience, I wonder how much better that Ironman experience might have been if I had respected the walk and trained a little more for my "walking leg" of this race.
I won't lie, I have been worried about training for this 100-mile race when I haven't been able to run at all since the official training began, but Coach Ed has been trying to change my mindset. While I have been seeing my inability to run as an obstacle to my training, Coach has been trying to convince me that my injury should be viewed in a more positive light. This inability to run is allowing me to focus on my walking technique, increasing my walking speed, and acclimating my body to the different muscles necessary for a strong power walk. I can't believe how much more sore I have been with the walking. My running buddy Gaby and I were commiserating on how sore our shins, calves, and gluts were considering we were in pretty good running shape. After two weeks of focusing on walking, Gaby and I are both stronger, faster, and less sore than we were last week. I have a whole new respect for walking!
But I know that I still have a long way to go to be "walk ready" for this ultra marathon. That running mentality is pretty ingrained in both my head and in what my body is used to. For example, today I was finally able to run, really run. And given that I haven't run at all in two weeks, and that I needed to get at least 12 miles under my belt, the smart thing would have been to ease in the running by incorporating a little into a mostly power walk session. However, when I started to run this morning, I felt great...really great! At the end of almost 12 miles, I realized that I hardly walked at all. My knee didn't hurt, my breathing was fine, my running endurance had not been lost with the time off, but 12 miles easy pace, was not what I did today. My heart rate was higher than it needed to be, and even though my knee is fine, I could have set myself back again by not being smart. Luckily I still have more than five months to learn how to keep a reasonable pace and how to support my running with strong power walking. And luckily I have two amazing coaches in Ed and Andy and I have no doubt that by the time the EC100 comes in October I will be well-trained and ready to take on the ultra marathon challenge!
This week I decided to order fava beans. My husband is a big movie buff and he will often recite some random movie quote and then ask us to guess which movie the quote is from. One of his favorites is Hannibal Lector's quote from Silence of the Lambs, "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." Since watching this movie, I have always wondered what fava beans tasted like and have always wanted to try them. I have never had the opportunity until I saw this choice for our weekly Farm Fresh to You produce box. The thing about fava beans is that they are super labor intensive. You have to shell them, blanch the beans, peel the skin off each individual bean, and then use them in the recipe of your choice. I tweaked the recipe below a bit by sauteing some leeks and shallots before adding the fava beans. It was a tasty side dish. I wouldn't have fava beans on a regular basis because of the time they take to prepare, but I do plan on trying these tasty beans again.
Gabriel's Sauteed Fava Beans recipe
Silence of the Lambs Fava Bean Scene