Although I didn't immediately realize it, I likely suffered from a mild case of post-race adrenal fatigue. Our bodies normally produce hormones and other natural performance-enhancing drugs like adrenaline and cortisol in response to the stress of exercise. But if we exercise too intensely, for too long, our adrenal system can become fatigued and stop producing adrenaline. When that happens, it's light's out! Suddenly we feel very tired and slooooow.
And unfortunately, while we can recover from a pulled muscle or a broken bone in just a few weeks, it usually takes anywhere from 6 to 18 months to fully recover from adrenal fatigue. Or in the case of guys like Geoff Roes, it can even take years. Scary stuff that you probably don't want to mess with.
A bunch of DNFs and crappy performances
|Feeling like crap|
But when my wife Amy came flying by me at mile 15 during Firetrails 50 Mile, skipping up the hill effortlessly while I struggled just to hike it, I got my first sign that perhaps I was not back at 100% strength yet. I soldiered on for a few miles, but my energy levels continued to plummet. Eventually l I was even walking the easy flat sections.
I finally called it quits at mile 22 where I collapsed and curled myself up into a ball on the ground. Luckily my buddy Shiran was there. He rushed to the scene and saved the day... by pulling out his camera and documenting my agony in an impromptu photo shoot! LOL. The pictures turned out pretty good though!
|Looking like crap|
That's when I got on my computer and contacted the race directors of both Rio del Lago 100 and North Face 50 begging them to let me roll my race entries over until next year. I offered to volunteer at the race, wash their cars in my speedo, walk their dogs, or do whatever was necessary. Thankfully we managed to work things out and they now have shiny, freshly-waxed cars.
See you next year
As the white-bearded philosopher Kenny Rogers so eloquently sang, "You got to know when to hold 'em / know when to fold 'em / know when to walk away / know when to run." I'm optimistic that my adrenal fatigue issues were actually relatively mild, and that with a few months off from ultra racing, I will be back in 2015, stronger and maybe even a bit wiser.
|Looking forward to new challenges in 2015|
I'm still planning on doing a few ultras in 2015 including the Fat Dog 120 in British Columbia. But I'm definitely going to sit out the PAUSATF Grand Prix series this year and just focus on one or two key races like Ohlone 50K in the spring and maybe Quad Dipsea in the fall.
But hopefully I will also get a chance to experience a few new challenges in 2015. I've been wanting to try some obstacle-course racing for a few years now. I hear that the Spartan Race World Championships are being held in Tahoe this year!