I'm confused. I'm tired all the time right now and I feel like my running isn't going well at all. The truth is, I've run more miles this month than I did in January of 2005 - the year I almost finished Western States. That's the only year I've started WS, although I've failed to make it to the starting line for all kinds of reasons. The next thing you know, the race will get cancelled by forest fires one of these summers. Oh wait...
Anyway, I feel like I'm not where I want to be right now. My weight is 16 pounds higher than it was when I left for WS last year. Some of that 16 pounds is muscle mass I've added through lifting since last June, but most of it is extra fat.
Last winter, I trained almost exclusively on the treadmill. This year, I'm snowshoe running/walking a lot more. So, perhaps I should look at time rather than mileage. For example, it took me 1:44:06 to do 6 miles on my snowshoes last night. I have a small footprint racing snowshoe and I was trying to run on a lot of fresh, unconsolidated snow. The workout was really difficult despite my slow speed. So, I should probably pay attention to my training time rather than my miles.
Every winter, between training, work, and teaching skiing on the weekends, I end up complaining that I'm tired a lot. Because I am tired a lot! But, I've avoided illnesses so far this winter, I'm training nearly every day, I'm getting enough sleep, and I think my bosses are all happy with me.
My left leg is a mess. I think that when I tweaked my knee a couple weeks ago, I set off some sort of chain reaction. After that tweak, I thought I pulled my hamstring while doing intervals, but now I'm pretty sure it's my ITB that's bothering me. I've gotten a massage, I'm stretching more, I'm using my foam roller more to work on hot spots, and I'm going to make an appointment today to see my chiropractor. But, in my left leg, I have hot spots on my hip, the lower ITB attachment point, my Achilles tendon, and the bottom of my heel. The latter is a bruise from a fall, rather than PF, but I still notice it at times.
Maybe I'm just getting old, which is why I feel tired. I'm finding it hard to rehydrate from one workout to the next. I am getting enough sleep, so that's not the issue. I'm also deliberately running a calorie deficit right now, which doesn't help with my energy levels.
I'm guessing that everything will be fine. I can find comments in my training logs for past winters where I have periods of time where I feel like I feel right now. In 2004, while training for Hardrock, I was running more miles than I'm doing now, but not weight training or snowshoeing. That winter, I fought through two tough colds and I hurt my back once and I hurt my left knee once. In 2005, while training for WS, I was sick for a few weeks in late January and early February. I was skiing a lot of days as I prepped for a ski instructor examination. And, I then cracked a rib skiing in March. In 2006, I was sick a bunch, skied a bunch, and my workouts for January-March sucked. I ran a 100-mile PR at VT100 that year. In 2007, I missed a lot of February with a cold and I ran another PR on a longer VT100 course.
So, the best advice I can probably give myself is relax, keep working, and things will come around. Panic will do me no good at all.
Last night, while fighting through ungroomed snow on my snowshoes, all I could think of was the snowshoe marathon in early March. If the course is fast and packed, my snowshoes will work great and I'll have fun. If the course is anything like what I did last night, I'll need all 10 hours that the course is open. My snowshoes are not designed for unpacked snow.