Josh Grant is training for Badwater to Telescope to Badwater. To learn all about his adventure before diving into this first update you can see his adventure details here: https://www.orangemud.com/pages/adventure-project-badwater-to-telescope-to-badwater-josh-grant
Now from Josh for his first training update: I feel like I need to start this story with the fact that I’m starting this journey from scratch here. So every run, every mile, every hill climb is not just training but rebuilding. These miles and runs are me not only getting a little faster bit by bit, not only get a little stronger day by day, not only dropping weight pound by pound but it’s me, regaining the confidence that I can do these ridiculous distances, races and backpacking trips that I love to do so much.
For seven months, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do any of it again and even now with a solid couple months of being able to do these things, I’m still not one hundred percent sure that the pain is entirely gone. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to run 30, 50, 60 or 100 miles again, I probably won’t be sure until I actually line up at a start line and do it. So the confidence building aspect of these miles is almost as important as the physical portion. Especially at those longer distances, for me so much of it is a mental game of pushing through and having the confidence of knowing I can do it.
So that’s what I mean when I say I’m starting from scratch. I’m making progress, slow and steady progress and it feels great. After my doctor gave me the go ahead, I spent the first six weeks of this recovery just rolling real slow and easy, trying to cut some of these 20 lbs I gained while sidelined. I shifted into second gear two weeks ago, I’ve been extending the runs (out to 15 miles so far) and concentrating on hitting hills and trails. I’m trying to accumulate 15k of elevation gain in February, which isn’t a whole lot, but it is another substantial step in this recovery process.
On the left there (obviously?) is my foot the day after surgery. The next picture is how the foot looks right now. No, it’s still not pretty but it does get the job done. I’m not looking for perfection right away, I’m just happy with progress.
Speaking of progress, my absolute favorite tool for tracking progress is Strava. It is also by far my favorite form of social media. I like the fact that you have to do something, be active somehow to post. That little bit of effort gives the interactions there some ownership and a little more meaning to me, because I know everyone on there is working as hard or harder than I am. They are all goaling towards something, and I love the shared community all that effort represents. I even met my my local running partner/fellow Star Wars superfan thanks to Strava.
I have a dozen standard routes around town and the local trails here. When you complete the same route multiple times, Strava automatically groups all those efforts into one chart to have an easy visual guide to see your progress (or lack thereof). This last weekend I ran what I consider to be my baseline trail test route, it’s 8.4 miles with a little over 1,300 feet of gain (almost all up front in the first 4 miles). It has miles of beautiful single track, soft dirt and here in California the grass is currently a beautiful green since our winter (hahahaha!) has been even shorter and warmer than usual. See the above picture for reference and tell me how you wouldn’t love to just go ripping along that single track.
This trail test route went well, really well. My playlist consisted of the Hamilton Soundtrack (which is amazing and I save it for special occasions like this). The temps were in the mid to high 70’s and I was wearing my lucky red shorts, which have the obvious side effect of making me run faster. I felt good, the run felt fast and the trail test went great. Looking at the data, I’m not as fast as I was BI (Before Injury), but I’m faster than I was the last two times I ran this route. One (July 15) was in the deepest depths of being injured and the other was just ten days after (Dec 25) I got my doctor’s blessing to run after surgery.
In the chart you can see that the fastest I ever did that loop was a ridiculous 8:54 pace, and the slowest was an equally ridiculous 11:13 pace. So with this recent 10:14, I’m closer to my trough that I am to my peak, but I’m moving in the right direction. Now it’s just a matter of spending more time on trails with trees (and maybe some tears too). By the way, I fucking love charts and graphs, give me Excel and some numbers to play with and I’m like a cat chasing a laser.
Looking forward, here’s what I’ve got coming up for biggish events in between here and the Badwater -- Telescope -- Badwater project. These are some of the steps that I need to help get my groove back and to start feeling ready for this massive amount of work I’m going to ask my legs to do on one day in November.
- March: Mt San Jacinto Cactus to Clouds (and maybe back down to Cactus again depending on how we feel)
- April: American River 50 Mile Endurance Run. This year will be my fifth consecutive AR 50, so I think I get a commemorative toaster this year?
- May: hopefully some backpacking, depends on the snow level in the Sierra and how quickly it melts.
- Late June: nice multi-day family backpacking trip to the High Sierra (again depending on snow levels, melt and mosquitos).
- Later June/Early July: Rae Lakes Loop, solo day trip to scout it out for aesthetic reasons and evaluate for FKT potential depending on how spicy I’m feeling.
- July 21: Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run
- August, September, October: Concentrate on recovering from TRT100 and getting completely ready for this here Badwater Project.
So that’s where I’m at, slowly and steadily working my way back to where I was and where I want to be again. I’m patient, I’m determined (sometimes described as stubborn) and I have a goal. I think I’ve pretty well beat this beginning chapter into the ground, so next time I can talk about my rash or open the floor to questions, I’m flexible either way.