Reigniting the Fire

Okay, so I was happy to finish Ice Trail Tarentaise in fourth place and pain free. It was a stunning course and great event, but my fire was not burning and it is time to relight it.

I have decided to cancel my race plan. To not race until I am ready and in great form. I want to feel like I can bound up the hills, where I am in control of the level I work at for the entire race, where I can mentally push that little bit harder and further through any barrier.

As I drove to a spa retreat in the Swiss Alps to take some mental time out and to focus on my body’s recovery, I was reminded of how much I love mountain running and how much I have missed the freedom of being in the mountains without pain and some form of stress on my mind.

I had mentally acknowledged it, but had denied it. So when my body decided for me that I needed to stop, I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. I cried and lost all direction (and then felt bad for being so upset about nothing really in the larger scheme of life). I had never put my body and spirit in this position and it was scary for me. Learning to take this time out has been hard, and I have no where near mastered it.

First, I had to accept that I had lost control and then reframe that emotion and feel the freedom and openness of letting go.

Second, I had to trust in the larger scheme of life. It will always direct us, but we have to be free and open to see and take the great doors of opportunity.

Back to basics is going to be the way I step forward. Running… no. Breathing, stretching, yoga, swimming… yes. Race plans… no. Time and space to think about my direction, my dreams, my passion and how I can share that… yes. To find some kind of balance amongst our busy lifestyles is difficult, but also basic if we let it be.

This interesting website – Mind Tools – helped me to actually see my balance… or should I say lack of. Give it a go, what are you missing out on?

And to help with this balancing act I have found some great tips for better sleep, work, exercise and nutrition.

Better Sleep
I have always been terrible at sleeping, so I am really trying to keep a sleep schedule.

  • Try not to drink coffee after 11 a.m. to allow your adrenaline levels to come back to normal.
  • Lavender oil drops on your pillow helps you to relax.
  • Drink camomile tea one hour before bed.
  • Try not to eat or exercise two hours before you go to bed; however, relaxing and yoga/stretching can help you to relax.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Turn your phone/computer/bright light off one hour before bed so that your melatonin levels can spike and, therefore, allow natural sleep patterns to occur.
  • If you wake up during the night feeling anxious or have a brainstorm, write it down in a notebook and think about it the next day when you are fresh and much more productive and creative.

Better Work
Starting work on my online jewellery shop – opening soon – has been really rewarding, but I have really needed to follow some of these tips to be more efficient.

  • Prioritize what is most important to get done first.
  • Set deadlines.
  • Organize your workspace.
  • Upgrade your technology.
  • Ask for help.
  • Try simply standing for two-thirds of your work time, or going for short walking bursts into the fresh air throughout the whole day.
  • Sitting on a physio ball corrects your posture and strengthens your core.
  • Civvio Negative Ion bracelets help neutralize free radicals, revitalize cell metabolism and enhance immune function. They purify the blood and balance the autonomic nervous system, promoting deep sleep and healthy digestion. Negative ions also protect the body and mind from the harmful effects of environmental stressors such offices full of computers.
Where Negative Ions Positive Ions
Offices 70 1400
Forests 2500 800

Better Eating

  • Water – I sometimes get to the evening and realise I haven’t had an actual drink of water! Too many of us are living in dehydration. Water flushes our systems of waste products and toxins which cause tiredness, low energy, and headaches.
  • Routine – With travel, different seasons, races, recovery and training I am often out of routine with my diet. However, I think it is important to try to at least stick to similar times of the day for eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and fruit snacks.
  • Eat with a purpose.
    • Be mindful of your food. Turn off the TV, put away the books and enjoy your food.
    • Take time to chew your food. Actually tasting the flavours and feeling the textures of our food is much more satisfying.
    • Listen to your body, are you really hungry? Or are you thirsty? Try not to drink during your meal as this dilutes the digestive acids in your stomach.
    • Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism.
  • Choose whole foods like beans, fruits, and vegetables for long-lasting energy rather than white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of their nutrients.
  • Healthy fats (i.e., fatty fish, canola oil, peanut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds) nourish our brain, heart, and cells, as well as our hair, skin, and nails.
  • Have a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables for all your vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, calcium.
  • Variations of proteins (i.e., beans, nuts, meats, eggs) are important for growth and energy, and essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs.

Better Exercise
All should be the basics of a good training programme/schedule. Check, or get a coach/mentor/friend/manager to look over your plan to make sure that you are on the right track. Some of us need a little push. Some of us need our reins held tight.

  • Consistency and maintenance
  • Patience
  • Goals/dreams, “you miss 100% of the shots you never take”
  • Variety: cross training, speed, fartlek, endurance
  • Strength and conditioning that is specific to your sport
  • Progression
  • Recovery
  • BE PASSIONATE and HAVE FUN

Conclusion
This has not been easy. It has not been the year of racing and training and discovery I wanted. But it has been discovery. I am exploring my mind and my future doors. What is it I really want to achieve? What direction will I go? What really excites me? What would I fight for? These are questions that I have asked and thought over and over again. It takes time to find the way. But that is all part of the adventure.

Does this sound a bit like you? Maybe you should take a walk, bike, weekend to a spa, stop, relax and ask yourself these questions, too. Imagine all the things we could do to help ourselves if we just gave ourselves a little bit of time.

We have to make the change we want; no one else can do it for us. Seek out new perspectives, smile and enjoy the feeling of freedom amongst the change.

Good luck on your journey.

Call for Comments (from Bryon)
How would you answer the questions Anna poses to herself?

2013-07-25 15.45.41

2013-07-25 20.07.50

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2013-07-26 06.20.19

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2013-07-27 09.21.54

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2013-07-27 16.37.43

2013-07-27 19.35.50

There are 78 comments

  1. Cody C

    "Civvio Negative Ion bracelets help neutralize free radicals, revitalize cell metabolism and enhance immune function. They purify the blood and balance the autonomic nervous system, promoting deep sleep and healthy digestion. Negative ions also protect the body and mind from the harmful effects of environmental stressors such offices full of computers"

    I'm going to need a citation on that one.

    1. Mike

      These bracelets are worthless, sorry, Anna! The rest sounds good though.

      Tim Minchin: "Do you know what they call "alternative medicine"

      That's been proved to work?

      Medicine."

      1. J.xander

        The "worth" or something is not always determined objectively. In fact, the value of many of the best things in life are completely subjective and unmeasurable, but that does not make them "worthless".

        1. Matt Smith

          @ J.xander: Sounds good if you are talking about a book or song. When it comes to medical treatments, I'll take objective over subjective any day. Unless you are making a case for the placebo effect, in which case I still disagree. :)

  2. Timothy

    Honestly, the bit about the bracelet sounds like nonsense. One because it just seems like a scam and secondly because the electrolytes we drink/eat are ionized in solution, so blaming ions for whatever ails you means you're probably better off not drinking Gatorade instead of wearing a bracelet??!

  3. Charlie M.

    All ya have to do is be a good person, not the greatest runner on Earth. If you can do both, more power to ya. You'll be back, stronger than before. It's all part of the grand pageantry…

  4. Anonymous

    I think you should become a mother… Amazing how motherhood can root you to Earth, Spirit and Soul… everything makes sense. Purpose :-)

    1. Neon

      Sorry, but what silly advice. First, motherhood is not something that should be undertaken simply to make yourself feel better. Motherhood is hard work, even when it does ‘ground you’ – and it certainly doesn’t work that way for everyone.

      Anna – I wish you well. It’s incredibly important to have periods of introspection. Good luck!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Maurice, I'm not in the "ion camp," but in an article where a top runner is explaining the great multitude of methods she's applying in attempting to turn around her running, I'm going to let that runner list all of them without editorial intervention.

      1. Alex

        While I agree with you in general – and this is, of course, your province – I respectfully think this specific instance stands out a bit, in a (no pun intended) negative fashion. The presentation is less "here is a thing I like" and more "here is an ad slogan stating provably false information, you should try it too". Since it, along with everything else, is a "tip", there is advocacy there – for a name brand item, no less. I think there is a way to talk about things that exist on the fringes of medical science (or just off the fringes), without igniting a negative response.

        I do think the negative responses to the negative responses are a bit overblown as well. The standard for articles here is high, as is the standard for rational, science-based discussion. You don't get critical comments like these without having set a high bar. Furthermore, I don't think anyone has been personally critical of Anna (who should be commended for opening up so bravely). Pointing out false information in this case is no different than in, say, a falsely listed race results. Again, high standards.

        1. Alex

          Better example: If, in the next shoe review, the writer stated "X shoe has a 4mm heel to toe drop, because any delta greater than 6mm causes injury and reduces effeciency", there would be a justifiable frenzy in the comments. There is nothing wrong with presenting an opinion, so long as it's clearly acknowledged as such. Presenting it as fact, however, creates problems.

  5. Kelly Harrington

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Anna. You just brought a (good) tear to my eye. Your wear your passion and your love for life on your sleeve. You choose to live your life in touch with your deep core (or trying to be in touch) versus detaching like the majority of the world. Its what is making your journey right now so bittersweet.

    But with the light comes the dark. Its part. You cannot have one without the other. I recommend the book of changes, I Ching. Its Taoism. Have you read it? It’s the balance we see in nature but struggle keep within ourselves. Best of luck, Anna. This life is only beginning for you… and there are no rights or wrongs. It's just decisions we make then assess if they make us happy or do not. If not, then make another choice to steer towards deeper fulfillment. Follow your heart and as you said to me once, do what you love and love what you do. If you love jewelry, running and being pain free then do that. Travel is speaking to you? Do that. Racing can come when racing can come. Let it happen…

  6. Matt

    As regards too much light from computer screen – here is a little freeware program that gradually changes the colour scheme of your computer to adjust for less blue light in the evenings, the same way when sun is setting and the daylight is fading.

    Give it a try
    http://justgetflux.com/

  7. jenn

    Enjoy your rest and re-creation time, Anna! :^) On a similar but not identical front, one of the biggest blessings of my life was a period when I was between jobs; I was able to use that time to be with my family in a way I hadn't been in years. I wouldn't trade that time for anything! I hope your time away from running becomes a similar blessing.

  8. Glen

    Great news about the bracelet. I'm interested in knowing the recommended daily exposure to each bracelet. As Im certain to weigh a good 30kg more than you Anna, how many bracelets should i be wearing? 3?. Also can I overdose on Civvio Negative Ions, thereby taking all my positivity? Maybe I have already, and thats whats causing this post?

    Although – I can see a whole new market for "Civvio Negative Ion Performance Shirts" and "Civvio Negative Ion Socks", Wow, I might even see if I can rock a "Civvio Negative Ion Sporting Onesie".

  9. Guy C.

    I enjoyed the article and wish you well. However, I am sorry I read through the comments. I feel like the irunfar spirit has gotten hijacked by the letsrun mentality…. Sort of a bummer.

    1. jenn

      Yeah, no kidding. What makes it seem worse is that here's a super nice person, who's been having a bit of a rough go lately, is making her way back to a better place, and is sharing that journey with us. And then she gets flak thrown at her. To all the folks bitching about ion bracelets – guess what folks, (a) they don't harm anything, so what's the big deal? And (b) no one's forcing you to wear them. Maybe you could consider being supportive rather than snide.

      1. caper

        Best comment here…if you want to act like immature meatheads head over to YouTube and comment away. My irunfar is for learning, sharing and encouraging each other.

      2. Bryon Powell

        Agreed, Jenn. While I'd never use an ion bracelet, that doesn't mean that one can't be a part of Anna's healing process. I hope she and her great spirit continue to embrace the mountains and that she continues to share her journey with all of us. There's certainly plenty of great advice in this article. We're all adults who are capable of choosing the modalities with which we attempt to heal ourselves.

          1. Johnny

            I listened to a podcast where they talked about the power of the placebo and how crazy and powerful the mind is that it can truly effect you physically for the better. Very interesting stuff.

    2. Bryon Powell

      Guy, I would hope that the community will work toward encouraging a positive atmosphere and useful discussions. You and others have the power to create good around you. Seriously.

      1. Simon

        Well said in both comments Bryon. I also found it very sad to read some of the comments – I'm the same as you, I wouldn't wear a bracelet, but if Anna thinks it helps then the placebo effect alone is worth it!

        Sadly there appears to have been an influx of commentators recently who seem to see articles about emotions, passions, feelings to be pointless – as though FKTs and Race Reports are all that matters. As you (and many others on here) know, that's not all there is to running. I love to read Geoff's thoughts, Anna's thoughts, and others, whether they be positive or negative they are windows onto the soul of other people who share my love of the trails.

    3. Doug

      Agreed, Anna is writing about her life. We should be encouraging her, not making fun of her. Comments like Glen's are not even a little bit funny and totally uncalled for.

      Thanks Anna for sharing your update. It's brave to take a step back and reevaluate, and even braver to put it all out there for the world to see!

  10. Charlie

    Good luck Anna. I believe in negative ions, I can feel them every time I go to the beach.

    Maybe you should consider that running isn't your passion. You have an amazing talent for running that many here would kill for, but don't let others push you into doing things you don't want to. It's your life after all.

  11. Courtney

    Keep searching and listening to your own body and your own heart! I went through a really long recovery from a torn ACL and Lateral Meniscus surgery and it really was a period of intense growth for me, in the long run. Even though I didn't like it at the time, I wouldn't change my experience. Stay strong and see the twists in the road as guidance for you!

    1. BobK

      Courtney, I'm 12 weeks postop from ACL reconstruction and dying to get back on the trails! Shoot me a message, I'd love to hear about another's journey back to running!

  12. Randy

    Be a good topic someday.Do we never call into question the writers of iRunFar,if so how much is acceptable.Is iRunFar even close to being like Letsrun,or will Bryon keep it from going that far(i believe so).So i don't believe in this negative ions thingy,but if Anna does,more power to her.And i think most people are supportive of Anna and others in this site that are going through life difficulties,but if you write about subjects that maybe are not mainsteam,might want to expect some differing comments on them.(But hopefully in a respectful manner.)

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hear, hear, Randy. There's certainly room to discuss the substance of iRunFar's articles or points within articles when one disagrees, but there are ways to open constructive dialogues when one disagrees and there are ways when someone is simply being a troll, flamer, or worse. For the most part, iRunFar has a long history of the latter even on contentious issues. In fact, it's those civil, constructive discussions with very different and opposing viewpoints that have long been a highlight of iRunFar. May the community here continue to forge on in that manner and encourage those who do not act civilly and constructively to do so. There's a way to keep things positive even when one disagrees.

  13. Ruben

    Great courage baring your soul on such a public forum, and difficult but I think important questions that you are trying to answer. The question of "what really excites you" is one we should all be asking ourselves, in my opinion.

    I enjoyed reading the many different ways in which you are trying to answer these questions. If a negative ion bracelet helps you in that sense, then that's terrific. For those giving Anna a hard time about the bracelet, what is your opinion of the 20-30 other tips that she gives? I don't believe in these bracelets either, but I think Anna offers many other useful suggestions for practical little changes you can do to improve your lifestyle. Let's focus on those, and give Anna credit for daring to publish such a personal article.

  14. Mark

    I was going to send this to a friend who is struggling with an injury now…until I got to the "ion bracelet" part. The last thing a down and depressed person who is prepared to grab at anything to get back on track needs is ineffective nonsense that does nothing at all – and this applies to Anna too. Wreathing yourself in pseudo-medical bracelets is as far as you can get from reflecting on your own self and your own direction.

  15. Natalie Clarke

    Anna, reading your article from Cape Town.
    Thank you for being vulnerable and honest and sharing with the world where you're at at the moment. It's inspirational, reassuring and reaffirming for me and for many, I'm sure, who find themselves in the space you're in at the moment. Thanks for sharing what helps for you and may it continue to do so. Back to basics and simplicity is what so many of us need. to be brave enough to jump off the mad roundabout of life, expectations, demands (as you have), to find out what will really make us happy is a scary step to take- so well done!! Stick to your plan. And I hope the mojo returns soon.

  16. BobK

    Great to hear what you're up to Anna! I hope you have a meaningful journey back to the passion that drew you to mountain running in the first place! I hope you know what an inspiration you are to so many of us;)

  17. RunDC

    Like others, one of my favorite aspects of irunfar is the overwhelmingly positive outlook of contributors and commenters and the supportive environment for front, middle, and back of the pack runners.

    That said, there is a point here. Most of the article is a nice reflection on training habits and injury recovery. One bullet point includes a brand name, reads like it was cut-and-pasted from an infomercial, and is accompanied by a strange table. Use some editorial discretion. The point could be changed to say something like "Wear a negative ion bracelet". This would stick out a lot less.

  18. JD

    That portion is a bit spammy, isn't it? Quite aside from the fact that it's quackery.

    I don't mean to be negative, but this is a solid point, and worth considering. I does come across like an ad, and for something most (scientifically minded) people probably won't consider seriously…which means maybe it's a legit endorsement. Not everything that looks like an ad is an ad–sometimes people just like things.

    It's so hard to say, on the Web. Sometimes I read reddit.com, and I see photographs of somebody's shopping cart, and the user writes "Boy, I sure need help shopping, I'm hopeless! Lol." But you look closely and it's two or three Nabisco brand products, facing forward, prominently in the photograph, and a few other misc. items, sort of thrown in, to make it look organic. We live in interesting times.

  19. Dean G

    File this under: totally speculative

    I couldn't help but notice that we have Anna Frost and we have Geoff Roes… Two top athletes who have found their bodies and/or desires drifting away from them at times, after periods of dominance. Both exceptional people who decided to share what they are going through rather than keep it to themselves — motivated, I believe, by the hope that their experience can help all of us

    I'm not saying for a fact what they are encountering is similar — just that I hear similarities when I read them…

    So I will be interested to hear how Anna, stepping away now even though her body feels close to recharged, will do in the future… After all, if memory serves, Anna has been on the edge with her body for multiple years now — alternating periods of total dominance — with periods of forced time-off.

    Now she comes to a moment when we're traditionally taught — put on the gas! The body is good again! But the spirit seems lacking. This is when, in the Western Culture in particular, we're taught to push harder. Rally against that lack on desire. Run ourselves back into 'wanting it'!

    But she's not doing this. And I'm wondering, maybe in this way, she is actually avoiding go back sooner than her body is really really ready to.

    Maybe when we lose the will to run, and it stays gone for an extended period, we should see that as a sign as important as a high RHR. I can't help but think of how violently Kilian (the athlete I would say has enjoyed the longest period of consistent 12-month super performance) reacted a year or two ago when he 'lost the desire'. I think he just walked off a race course and cancelled plans and went and hung out with his friends. I've always seen him as a person incredibly in tune with his own body. I wonder if what might be considered "feeling like a wuss" to me — was to him — a clanging fire alarm saying STOP NOW.

    Anyway, I realize most of the comments are focused on other specifics, but I think the most compelling thing about Anna's post isn't her list of treatments, it is the decision to say — "Maybe lost desire is something that should set off alarm bells as much as a stress fracture"

    Rest and time do such wonders — provided we don't push so far that we end up changing the body permanently. (and maybe even then all we need is multiple years off)

    Take care of yourself, Anna. Heal well.

    1. Randy

      Good comments Dean,Like Jacob said,"Something's gotta stop the flow",(a line from the terrific independent movie "Ink").

  20. Kristina

    "What direction will I go? What really excites me? What would I fight for?"

    Such great questions. I wonder if she will discover a completely new challenge, something totally different from ultra running. This sport still feels so fresh and new…what do the elites do when they've had enough and feel it's time to move on?

  21. Pierre

    Thanks Anna for sharing. Hope you heal soon and that you find your trail (Life) that suits you.

    One thing that is key here is to be surrounded by people who are supportive and that don't judge you for wearing a bracelet for example. We spent enough time healing from an injury, being doubtful about choices we make, hell i don't need someone negative around while i go through all that.

    Reading some of the negative or judgemental comments above, kinda think these are people who have never done a very long ultra. Because when you do, you develop this compassionate side to listen and care for others. Why that is ? Because you went to such lows, pain, that you understand a little better what others are going through when they're not in a good state.

    Anna, still hoping that you do the UTMB someday and that we see your smile on the trail.

    Cheers

    1. Anonymous

      I surround myself by people that are supportive Pierre,but i get comments all the time about wearing clown shoes(Hokas),does that bother me,or not want to have them around me,nope.They arn't judging me as a person,just have different views about the shoes and are expressing their opinion,no harm,no foul.Has nothing to do with the compassionate side to listen and care for others,they are friends by the way.(Except one that owes me a beer for beating him in a race while wearing Hokas,he's not my friend anymore till he pays up).

      1. Pierre

        Is that you Karl ? Anyways, gotta make the difference between an honest opinion and sarcasm by a friend. Other thing some people need is ticker skin.

        Got myself the same comment for wearing a pair of Hokas too… Ghess what, i laughed with them.

        1. Anonymous

          Nope,not Karl,but heard he wears Hokas also.(copycat).Anna might also want to not immerse herself completely in ultra-running,24/7.Maybe cut way back on racing,even less traveling to races for pacing or watching.I'm sure she loves the whole experience,but your mind and body needs other outlets.Bet Steve Jobs never had a bowl of apples on his kitchen table at home.And just kidding as you know about iRunFar Bryon,great site.By the way,excellent name for your site,short,descriptive.How did the name come about?Brainstorming names,than you thought of it and said,aha,thats it!

          1. Bryon Powell

            Good guess on iRunFar, but it's a bit of a story. The root is that in the earliest days of Gmail it was invite early and one of my roommates (who was deep into political internet stuffs) gave me one. At the time (2001?) you could get a six-character personal portion of an email address, after some thinking I chose "runfar". Five years (or so) later … and well before today's version of iRunFar got started I wanted to play around with creating a website and runfar.com was taken. I played around with ideas and borrowing from the iPod/iWhatever thing that was happening at the time (this was still pre-iPhone) I added an "i" as it read as a good affirmation for any reader of the site… they could read, acknowledge, and agree with the statement, "I Run Far". So the next time you see "iRunFar," know that it's speaking for you.

  22. Brian

    I don't see it as disrespectful to question the science behind that bracelet treatment. We have so many unsubstantiated, competing claims out there with regards to what is "healthy" or "natural", so its nice to see some healthy skepticism show up here. We need to ask ourselves if these claims have been demonstrated in controlled double- blind studies, or are they based more on anecdotal stories told by celebrities and friends("hey man, you got to try this, it worked for me!"). I know that the growth of "alternative medicine" is a broad cultural phenomenon, but for some reason it seems particularly prevalent in the ultra-running community. Maybe thanks to books like Born to Run?

  23. run silent run deep

    lol, i think i just experienced a "positive ion" spike through laughter.

    maybe thats your answer anna.

    well done glen.

  24. Matt Smith

    @Bryon,

    Maybe part of the reaction from the readers has something to do with the fact the the mention of the bracelet came across as embedded advertising for Civvio. When an elite athlete drops brand names in their article I think that the public has a right to be skeptical of the claims and question them in an open forum. Perhaps iRunFar editors will consider a policy of transparency around celebrity writers' sponsorship or affiliation.

    Add to that the fact that many ultra runners are well educated in biochemistry and recovery science and the unsubstantiated claims like those made in the article don't stand a chance when they are subjected to the light of day. With all due respect, Anna is awesome, but she may have gotten this one wrong.

  25. Martin

    Hi,

    I wish Frosty well in her physical/spiritual recovery.

    Does anyone know what those blue pants-things are?

    Also, does anyone have any experience with those electrical muscle stimulators? I believe KJ uses a similar device too…

    Thanks,

    Martin

  26. KenZ

    I love IRF, _AND_ Anna F and commend her openness on her recovery. That said, I'm with Alex on this one. The reason I'm commenting so late is when I originally started reading this article a few days ago and got to the negative ions bit, I closed the page because I didn't care to read anymore. Now that I've mustered up the resolve to finish the article, I'm happy to note that my visceral reaction was not mine alone!

  27. Adam

    Indeed. Also, may dogmatic dietary theories accompany people's unsubstantiated notions about medicine and footwear. Perhaps it has something to do with the frequency with which ultrarunners are injured and/or frustrated with their performance, and the desire to find some kind of shortcut past the inevitable long hours of hard work (and the deterministic presence or absence of genetic gifts, a life spent in the high country, and a high school/college athletic background) necessary to be competitive?

  28. Dee

    I don't usually comment but i have to agree with people about the ion bracelet. Anna, I've also noticed in the last 3 years this pattern: you run a race – get injured – try something to recover – have a hard time – try and be postive – run a race – get injured etc etc. It's really tiring to keep reading this and i'm finding myself getting annoyed for some reason (i stopped reading your blog around January when you advocated a grapes only diet for several days to help you 'recover'). It's like you can't see what's in front of you. I really don't mean to be harsh – but you repeat the same cycle and each time you write things like this as though it's all new and you need to find yourself every 3-4 months….

    1. Adam

      Yes. It is quite possible that if you regularly train for 50 and 100 mile footraces which depend, among other things, on one being able to pound out 5-minute miles for hours on end down rocky slopes, that you will sometimes be injured, or too fatigued to move. This might be a likely outcome regardless of what you eat, what you wear on your feet, and whether you compete at the front, middle, or back of the pack. Injury does indeed suck, but it happens to all of us, and it's not a spirtual journey, it's just part of the game. There is one surefire way to avoid it: don't run several hundred miles a month. Apart from that, all we can do is try to make its appearances as brief and infrequent as possible. When you start to hurt, go swimming, take a hike, get on the bike, or read a book. It's not complicated.

      It's also possible, from a psychological standpoint, that when you execute one movement over and over again for 15-20 hours a week, week after week, month after month, year after year, that you will sometimes get sick of executing that movement. That is not necessarily a sign that something is wrong with you.

  29. Anonymous

    I agree with Dee on his comments. I mean come On! Fourth place and your fire is not burning? Just remember, no matter what shape you are in or how talented you are, there are a lot of leaves at the top of the tree! and believe it or not you aren't always going to be first! Take some time off from training for "competitive" outcomes and do some pacing, trail work, hiking in the mountains. Perhaps you need to tune up your photographic skills while you are in the mountains?? Lighten up a little and enjoy the great outdoors. Your a healthy girl who just needs some rest from the intensity of an endurance sport, nothing else. Chill out and enjoy each day you wake up healthy otherwise. Don't dwell on every little aspect of what may be the cause of you not being in sync with your running. Eat a cheese burger with a glass of AJWs beer of the weekYou'll be back at the top of your game. Cheers.

  30. Anonymous

    I agree, that the negative ion thing was the cherry on top of the cake in this article..but overall even as an engineer, even strongly suspicious about any claims, I find myself losing some sense of reality. A few months ago, I got injured on my foot totally out of the blue, I was worrying it would send a 20-week training and the race I was training for through the window…I went to see a podiatrist who barely listened to me and the dialog went sort of this way:

    – So I have a very sharp pain that happens on the outside of this foot and..

    – Are you wearing orthotics ?

    – No, not especially

    – You should definitely get one if you're running that much, I can make you one, it will cost you $390 and should help your problem

    – Okay..I guess I can try…

    … starts to do a mold.. and it got me thinking….

    How on earth…in 2013, a podiatrist could still sell a custom made orthotics made when the foot is at resting position, horizontally..be even close to reality..in this age, we are all carrying mobile phones that are sensitive enough to differentiate the stride between individuals.

    One of my lazy leg could have a different bio-mechanic, it could hit the ground at a different angle, it could be shorter by a few mm, weight distribution could be totally off to… yet he's not able to tell me whereas this should be absolutely trivial to figure out with the proper equipment in place.

    In the end I was ready to pay for something which is nothing more than absolute scam because I was worrying and was ready to hang to a magic solution.

    And no, I didn't pay for it in the end. Stopped running for 10 days, did a lot of cycling instead and it somehow disappeared.

  31. Mountain Runner

    the spirit is a funny thing. science cannot objectify it with stats. its intricately linked to the physical and mental self but then again its separate. i think most top athletes and top anyone, execs, can suffer from burnout. they prob think its mental, physical.. but i have had it too. its when my mind can no longer force my body to go despite no injury, ample rest, ample nutrition. the mind cannot dictate b/c i think the spirit is holding ground. in my case i thought it was iron, b13, d3 (the list goes on with questions about nutrients since i am a plant based eater). so i added supps. but in the end, it was not what my spirit wanted to do so i had to wait it out. years ago jan ullrich suffered burnout. they wrote a whole article about it. it was not just physical. only time will tell the entire being what the entire being wants. a shift. perhaps she will not even return to racing and more or less become a trail running ambassador traveling the world in support of sky racing or trail running. she'd be great at it as she does this somewhat already. if so, then the ego must let go of the need for results. the ego will have to click into a new identity. thats the hard part for a pro who is used to adoration, wins and the adrenaline rush of racing. its a transition that only each person can figure out for themselves. i wish this athlete the best of luck. she will succeed at anything she puts her mind to.

  32. Alison

    Wow, people are being harsh! I don't see the point in putting someone down for sharing something they find helpful. Thank you, Anna, for being so open to share your thoughts and struggles. I've been having very similar conversations with myself so your timing was great (though sorry you aren't feeling top notch). Every athlete I've known has at one time asked the same questions and every answer is different and individual. Good luck!

  33. Martin

    Meghan/Byron,

    Meghan or Byron,
    Are you guys familiar with the muscle stimulators that Frosty and Killian use? Do ye know that those blue pants are?

    Thanks…

  34. Anonymous

    Ion bracelet silliness aside, this article is entirely self-absorbed. Maybe that's the foundation of your issues — perhaps don't focus so intensely on yourself. Maybe a case of too much free time.

  35. Anna Frost

    Thank-you to the people who read this article for what it is. You are helping me to 'reignite my fire'. It is the support and encouragement from these positive people that is the platform for the trail running values. I hope that you can find something of use from the article to help you along your journey and to keep our sports spirit alive. Thank-you again. To those who could not see it for what it is, please remember, we are all in this sport to enjoy, challenge ourselves, meet people, run in amazing places etc and to share all of this with our fellow runners. Let us keep this passion of trail running alive with happiness and acceptance.

    1. @ACarollo1

      I have 2 Ion bracelets, one on each wrist, because one might not just be good enough! Do they work, sure why not? They look cool too. Awesome article, I have felt and feel similar ways upon occasion. Feeling life's potential and aligning with it, so you can claim it, is the fun challenge of life; enjoy the discovery.

  36. Ciara

    If any of the critics amongst these postings have the running credentials of Anna Frost please enlighten us as your comments may then hold some worth. Until then I will continue to read with great pleasure and interest about the ups and downs of one of the worlds greatest ultra distance runners.

    If any of you ever have the great fortune of meeting Anna then please grasp the opportunity.. you will rarely meet a more honest and down to earth person. Whatever she writes will always be what she truly believes.

    Well done Anna.. you have inspired me for years and I look forward to seeing you running happy again in your own time..x

  37. A runner

    Just because someone is a top athlete does not mean they talk sense and should be revered…don’t mix up respect for their running with respect for everything that comes out of their mouth. Self absorption like this is the cause of many an individual trapped in a cycle of continual self-reinvention, when in reality all that is needed is to stop going on about the wonders of life and just get on with it, which is what the majority of folk do. It’s not healthy to feel self-important. One more point, many people who are in the public eye are there because they are good at appearing sincere and good-natured. What they are really like underneath bears little or no relation to public demeanour.

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