Well after a good month of doing plenty of nothing, I attempted to come out of the Hibernation Den. On another doing nothing note, I have been underemployed since roughly August and spent some serious time looking for a part time governess/tutoring job with a little kid which is what I used to do pre 2008. I had the perfect job until spring of 2008. I worked with a boy I had from age 4-6 on weekdays after school from 4-8pm ish. It was perfect not only because I loved the job which was to teach the boy English via play and interaction, and later basic reading and writing as was developmentally appropriate, but because it gave me the ideal work/life balance. First part of the day was set aside for training and the second for work much like I do now. Long story short, I never would have left this position if not for a sudden and abrupt change in visa laws in late 07. Last year, I finally found a way to go independent and solved my work visa issues on my own and am no longer bound to the crummy corporate language center scene of shift work and low pay that I was inadvertently forced back into after leaving my kid job in 08 simply for the sake of having a work visa.
So now that I am on my own, I really want to go back to doing what made me happy pre-corporate language school nightmare that nearly ruined my health. Unfortunately, most of the bites I am getting in the kid job department are the full time/live in often way the heck out of town /heavy travel kinds of things. While these jobs pay EXTREMELY well, you do sell your soul and have no life. I could forget about racing and training too so this is not a compromise I'm willing to make. I have lived on my own since I was 17 and could never do live-in anyways. Sooooooo, the search for a part time kiddie job inside city limits during the week is still on and that's what I'm doing these days when I'm not chasing squirrels or counting duckies in the forest.
Nothing- I've done so much of nothing I even sat out the Zelenograd Marathon this yr after being invited back as the defending champion. Judging from the top women's times this yr, I could have defended that title. Why in the hell would I sit out a great marathon and training run??? 1. I really needed the rest. 2. The indoor mile series opener got bumped back a week to the SAME DAY. Yeah, the mile is so competitive that if you miss one of the four races, you can forget about finishing top 3 in the standings. If I don't have a chance, my motivation will go down the toilet in a hurry and these races help me keep in shape in the winter.
So what the eff is an ultrarunner doing running an INDOOR MILE you may wonder???? SPEEDWORK! I don't ignore the need for speed and I'm convinced that my track background has carried over into my longer races quite well. That trackspeed combined with my high volume distance training is what allows me to run some bitchin' fast splits late in my long races. My half marathons and 50K races this yr, especially the finish in Chicago are pretty evident that trackspeed does carry over into long races. Even to be a good 100k runner, you need to do speed and intervals both long and short as well as those loooooooong runs. So, I use these indoor track meets to keep my speed from tanking in the winter when I'm sitting on high volume training. Hell, in the six weeks between Valmiera Marathon and the Chicago 50k I only raced a 10k and a few 5ks in between longer workouts for the sake of getting my legspeed back after the marathon. I took the same approach after 50K World Cup too- just a few shorter races up to 10k to get my speed recovered.
Lena(left) Anya(right) with Nadya and I tucked right in behind (girl in the green is being lapped)
Just before the finish- if you enlarge you can see me then Nadya on top of each other just off Lena's shoulder
How competitive is the mile? Well, after a month in hibernation, I came out and our usual fast ladies were there-Lena and Anya and this time Nadya moved up too. We all went out realllllly pedestrian. Coach said I looked like I was jogging. No one wanted to make a move. Hell the first 800 was slower than what I do 10-15x 800 repeats in when I'm in good shape and the first km was slower than my closing in the 50k- I was sandbagging and I damn well knew it. I was afraid to move with 350-400 to go because I had just spent a month DOING NOTHING (but running on trails nothing blistering fast no speed). The 4 of us were literally glued to each other and this time Nadya didn't drop off after the first k like she often did last yr. to finish 4th. With 300 to go Anya came up to pass Lena and I who were tucked in together then, with just over 200 to go Lena and I went like 2 bats out of hell closing the final 200 in 37-38 sec after all that sandbagging. The finish was close -very close with just about 1 sec between 1 and 3!!!! I knew someone was on my heels and I thought maybe Anya was holding on-no Nadya clipped her in the final stretch and was going after Lena and I to finish 3rd! Yeah- Lena and I definitely are going to have company this season and I'd better quit sandbagging and start moving my ass!
2mile XC was the following morning. This time we were back to the 1k loop in the forest where we should be and on SNOW! I won this one for my 2nd win in the winter xc series.