The Breaking Point

I decided to train for and run AR50 because I wanted a new challenge.  I wanted to set new goals, push new limits and see what I had in me. 

Of course when I made my training plan, I didn’t just set out to do the bare minimum.  I created a challenging, aggressive plan that was for sure going to test my limits.  It was scary to look at on paper, and I did have my doubts, but I was excited to see what I was made of.

Week after week I met and succeeded those limits and week after week I pushed them a little bit more.  I kept waiting for that “breaking point” to happen where I just couldn’t do anymore, but every week my body and mind adapted and got stronger, so I continued to push a little harder.

This weekend I had plans for my biggest back to back runs yet, and then I would taper!  I was nervous, but confident, but also exhausted from the last few months of running.  I had visions of my first 100 mile week dancing through my mind, but also kept my head on straight and made sure I was listening to my body and not being blinded my numbers. 

Saturday’s 32 miler was tough.  Definitely the toughest run this training cycle.  It not only was long, but it was super challenging with the hills, water and mud.  It tested my strength, willpower, and patience and left me exhausted.  I did my best to refuel, I slept in and I got ready to go out for my second long run… one last run between me and taper.

Usually I wake up after my first long run and feel pretty good.  I have been consistently surprised at how fast my body recovers and bounces back, but this morning I woke up sore and stiff.  I knew it was going to be a tough run and I promised myself I would listen to what my body was telling me.

I started running and my legs actually felt better when running.  I thought maybe I would be ok and make it through the whole 20+ mile run, but within a couple miles I just knew it was not going to be a 20+ mile day.

I had these constant mental battles going on inside my head.

Running 50 miles is going to be harder than this, suck it up and keep running! 

vs.

You have been running so much and so hard and are so ready for your race.  Listen to your body and give it a break or you might be sorry.

I ran to a park and sat on a bench at mile 4 and just wanted to stay there.  I could feel myself fighting off tears, so I got up and decided to do a loop back home and see how I felt once I got there.  The longer I ran, the more tired I got and I knew I just needed to call it a day.

I walked in the house 11 miles later, sat on the floor and let it all out.  I cried for the first time this training cycle.  Cried from exhaustion, cried from relief, cried just to cry.  I listened to Chris telling me all the things I already know, but are still nice to hear coming from someone else’s mouth.

Then I got up.  I took a shower and washed my hair.  I put real clothes on.  I went and had a giant brunch with Chris.  I went and bought my race day shoes.  Now I am sitting here relaxing and reflecting and looking ahead. 

This entire training cycle I was trying to find this breaking point and although I would rather not have it on my last big training weekend, I now know I am very ready for taper.  I know I am ready for my race and I know I gave my training every ounce I had.  I know I have done so much and I won’t let this last run put any doubt in my mind about everything that I have done.  

It’s officially taper time and I am ready!  20 days to go…

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37 Responses to The Breaking Point

  1. XLMIC March 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    As I’ve followed this training via your blog, I’ve been blown away by your ability to read yourself and your body so well and not get caught up in the numbers game. You’ve simply followed your plan and done the prep necessary for this amazing undertaking. Finding your breaking point on the last weekend of peak training is formidable! You are so ready for this event! I cannot wait. If you find yourself in the taper crazies and need an ear to listen to your rantings, feel free to call :) GO, ARON!!!!!

  2. amanda March 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I’ve loved reading about this training cycle, thank you for sharing it with us. It’s been inspiring and I can’t wait to read about taper and the race. I know you’re going to have a great time and do well.

  3. PavementRunner March 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Listening to your body is key. You did the right thing in calling it a day. Trust in your training to this point and sounds like you already know you are ready.

    Running is emotional. That’s part of why we love it. Taper well and smash the *poop* out of those 50 miles. Can’t wait to read all about it.

  4. Michelle March 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    I have tears of joy for you here. I’m sorry you had a break down, but on the other hand, I think we know to expect one during each training cycle. Look how far you’ve come! You know you are ready. Sometimes listening to our body is the hardest part. Today, for you, it was the smartest. When those 50 miles come around, your legs will reward you.
    And thank you for keeping it real. Thank you for not sugar coating your training. What a journey this has been to follow! Tapering makes it even MORE real!

  5. Page March 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    I’m so glad you listened to your body and was honest with what you needed. So much deserved R&R to make for an even more stellar race. And not to worry, tears are a good thing. That’s how I let my stress out and I hope it was a great stress relief for you as well!

  6. Amy March 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    You’re amazing! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, but this training cycle has been great! Someday I hope to run an ultra too. Good luck with tapering. You’re totally ready for this race!

  7. Rachel March 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    You have had incredible training and it is taper time- your body just decided to tell you that one day earlier than your mind desired. Congrats on phenomenal training and enjoy the taper. Thanks for posting how you felt today as it’s reassuring to those of us who follow your blog that it’s okay to deviate from a planned run when the legs require it.

  8. Tori @ In Love and Peanut Butter March 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    A friend of mine just introduced me to your blog. Couldn’t have found it at a better time. I’m training for my first 50k (April 7th in Florida) and had almost the exact same breaking-point experience last weekend… minus a few miles.

    Good Luck at your 50-miler and thanks for sharing!

  9. Sandy March 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Hey you’re awesome and have been getting some serious miles in lately. Thank you for your honest post and for sharing this with us. I love reading blogs of those who are “real” and honest even though we all know that running isn’t always full of positive all of the time. You are more than ready and capable so take a breather.

  10. Sneakers2sandals March 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Girl you have been such an inspiration through all this! I can’t believe you even ran 11iles feeling yucky! You are gonna so enjoy your taper :)

  11. Celia March 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Your training has been amazing and inspiring! You are more than prepared and I think you made a smart decision to call it a day. Your real day to shine will be race day :)

  12. Holly March 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    you’ve have done amazing things this training cycle and i have no doubts that you will do amazing things on your race day. relax, enjoy the taper and try not to go too crazy!! glad chris was able to be there for you when you got back home- and to take you out to eat!! batch had to do that for me today too- emotional eating, what can i say? :)

  13. Tim March 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    You have done so awesome at your training, you are going to do great at AR50. Can’t wait to read the awesome experience you are going to have.

  14. Yo Momma Runs March 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    It feels good to get a decent cry on sometimes. For me, it washes away so many negative thoughts and emotions and leaves a fresh emotional palette.

    I haven’t been reading your blog very long, but I’m already inspired by your training. Thanks for sharing!

  15. maria @ so she ran March 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    I think you are totally ready… just take it easy and taper. Not worth injury now!

  16. Kerrie T. March 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    I bet that was hard, but I’m sure you did the right thing. You’re a rock star!

  17. Amanda March 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    I am in awe of you! You are amazing and so strong. Thank you for being an inspiration!

  18. Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen March 19, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    I have really loved following your training! Great job listening to your body and not beating yourself up for not getting the miles you wanted. I think a good cry can fix almost anything :)

  19. Marlene March 19, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    You are human afterall. ;)

    I know this is not how you wanted to finish your last big week, but it just goes to show that you have done ALL you can do to prepare for this race. You are ready to taper and the count down is on. Rest up and try not to let this shake you. You have had countless successful back to backs and huge weeks. You’ve done MORE than enough!

  20. Morgan March 19, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    I was JUST about to write exactly what Marlene did! LOL! You ARE human afterall! :)

  21. Anthony Johnson (Brewbro) March 19, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Aron,

    Your training has been solid and you were smart to listen to what your body is telling you. The training work is now done. Enjoy the taper and get those legs feeling fresh and ready to go on April 7th. You are going to have an awesome day at AR50 and I know you will finish under the Western States qualifying time of 11:00 hours. You are becoming a great and inspirational ultra-runner! Hopefully this is just the beginning of ultra-running for you because I think you are going to be very good at it.

  22. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy March 19, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    You’re doing awesome. Yesterday’s run I’m sure was just to make sure you didn’t injure yourself. Your body is ready for this. And mentally, you can do anything.

  23. Sima March 19, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I personally think the tears are a sign that you gave 150% during this whole training cycle and didnt make excuses when the going got tough; it was your mind and body saying, ok, youve done all you can, now give me a break! I am so proud of everything you have accomplished over the last few months; it has been amazing to see you do back to back long runs week after week and never complain. I have said for weeks I think youre ready and now you can properly taper!! Watch out AR50 :)

  24. Corey March 19, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    You have said the whole time during your training that your #1 priority is to listen to your body. You have done that so well and this time is no different…its just that your body was ready to go every time until this run! The tears are your body releasing all of the relief for everything you have done! You must be exhausted! Congrats on finishing the peak of training and good luck staying sane in the taper! Everyone is rooting for you!!

  25. katie March 19, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Your training has been awesome, this is NOT a setback or a bump or anything! You have trained your brains out, now relax into the taper and let your body heal up for this race!

  26. shelly March 19, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    Thank you for being human. The only miles that hurt you are the ones you run that you shouldn’t have. You are a great listener! Those tears were the happy weeping of your body knowing that you listen to what it needs.

    When you are in the middle of your 50 miler and your legs are feeling a brand new kind of tired. When your mind argues with you that your legs just can’t go any more you will look back at this day. You will know that you gave them what they needed then so that you can ask them to give you what you want in that race day moment. To keep going. And they will!

  27. Ali March 19, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Aron, you did it. You had ONE super tough run at the very end, but you have put in SO much trustworthy training to get you through race day. Enjoy every minute of this taper. You are incredible.

  28. Running Girl March 19, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Your blog is so fun to read, because you are honest – with yourself & your readers – about how your body feels, when you know you should push it vs givining it a break, etc. You have done an amazing job training. Truly, you have. Now your body is telling you that it’s ready for that taper window!

  29. Mandi March 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    It continues to amaze me how much we can learn about ourselves and our bodies through the sport of running. And I am continually grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned about listening to my body and what it’s trying to tell me. Thanks for this post as a reminder of how important that is, even when it’s not what we want to hear.

    Well done with some amazing training and all you’ve accomplished along the way, and enjoy the taper to the big day!

  30. TNTCoachKen March 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    There’s no crying in Ultras…….. Woman, you have kicking ass and taking names. Plus crying dehydrates you, so stop…….

  31. Kamaile March 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    You’re almost there, lol hate hearing that in a race :) but you’ve made it so ENJOY the taper! Catch up on all the things you’ve put off and enjoy an extra day or three of sleeping in.

  32. Tia@RunnerMom March 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Your training has been incredible!! I cannot fathom doing what you’ve done and are still planning to do. You are ready for this race. Enjoy the taper and try not to feel bad for not putting in the mega miles like you once were. (90?!! I STILL can’t get over that week!) Your body needs this phase so it can be strong for the miles that count. You’ve got this!!

  33. Beth March 21, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    You are SO ready for this race. Give your body all the rest and recovery it asks for and you will have a kickass 50 miler!!

  34. Chiropractic Assistant March 22, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    I can say that all runners should really follow your training, your are amazing! I know you really love to do this things, right? Keep it up and Good luck for your success! And also don’t forget to have a healthy body :-)

  35. RoadBunner March 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    You have had an amazing training cycle! You are so prepared it is sort of crazy. At this point you can only hurt yourself so you definitely made the right call and listened to your body. Taper time!

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