Jan 7 - Jan 13
Getting back into goes different ways for different things, or it has for me. Getting back into shape a few years ago for the first 50k I did was laid back and carefree. I've been in decent shape ever since and was in destruction shape this summer. Had I been in that shape for VT City, it would have been a totally different race, four people would have had different finishing positions. This last statement is a perfect example of what great running does for me, gives me the clarity of confidence.
This time around, of getting in shape, I feel a cuss of a lot different about it. It wasn't my choice to shut down the engines, it was an outside organism wreaking havoc and stopping me. This is mind blowing, and really has fueled my fire but in a different way than I could have guessed. Instead of being pissed at the world and getting angry, like Kevin Bacon, and dancing away my frustrations; or showing a domination of masculinity, like Tom Cruise, in an epic (manly?) game of volleyball, the natural fit (not sheepskin) was to appreciate what was and celebrate it being being in it: OUTSIDE IN THE WOODS!
Recharging the engine is fun, extremely challenging, but thankful and grateful to be able to do it again. And that "it" is just running in the trails with my girls and my mother cussing DAWGZ.
I've come to the realization that this go around is going to be epically harder than ever and I'll need to work harder than ever. In college, Miller, Bridgewater and myself had a go to phrase, "what ever it takes." No matter what Pete Thomas said, we never questioned, we said yes, and did work. (I understand that a non-working high profile runner uses the same mantra, but ours was state blue collar bad ass; doing workouts on side streets with no track and no indoor or outdoor facilities. It's easy to do "whatever it takes" when every running commodity is at your fingertips).
So, I truly understand, "whatever it takes," real running in the real atmosphere and being outside in nature and the universe (if your mind is blown, you're welcome).
Monday - Voltroned with Greg and the snow shoes and became a snow shoe bionic machine and got after an awesome 9 mile run on the White Dot behind the house. It finished down the switchbacks, which is always awesome, in the dark. Felt good after yesterday's race, surprisingly good. The conditions were great tips were glided on every down hill.
Tuesday - Same run, except I reversed the route and went up the switchbacks to start. This is insanely hard to start, and I never realized how much fun it is to come down the backside of the White Dot trail. I also didn't realize how much long the gradual uphill is that leads to the switchbacks. I felt like I ran down hill for the whole run back.
Wednesday - In the winter time on the hill behind my house a lot of trails seem to show themselves. I decided to rough a trail and try to create a loop. This was unreal difficult and the percent grade was easily 18-22%, the hill looked straight up. The path I tried to follow was an old logging cut. This is from way back and as I found out, there are a lot of these cuts up the side of the hill. Originally they all spiraled to different perpendicular cuts, but I had to adapt this trail. There was some newer growth and I had to make some adjustments. I wanted to make a trail that was primarily straight without any switchbacks, I was successful, and exhausted in all the untouched snow. Great workout and amazing fun. Ended down the fabled switchbacks.
Thursday - I was feeling good and felt like it was time to test the fitness in familiar territories, mile repeats back and forth on the marathon course in Grafton.
I set my sights as realistic as I can be (bc there is nothing that I can't do), and settle for 3 by mile with 3min jog off rest in between. I would go back and forth to keep the miles consistent.
Surprisingly, I felt good on the warm up. I was telling myself to stay smart and within myself and not get discouraged. I was going to try and hit 5:30 or under. The stride felt good to open up and strong, but definitely not peppy or quick. I opened up with a 5:09 on way less effort than I thought. This got me wondering, "those blue bombers I ordered from some health lab in the Bay Area are really paying off..." yea right, but something was at work and sure is cuss wasn't my double dose of doxycycline. Haha.
I jogged off the three minutes, recovered my breathing and told myself, "donut again." I got a little excited as I envisioned myself in the VT City marathon on the bike path destroying the group I was in. This one stretch of plays tricks bc you can see the finish of the mile and it's exciting. So... I rolled a 4:52, whoops, but whatever, I'm over it and I felt great. (I also won the race in my head that led to the 4:52, always a bonus).
This did, however, take some jungle juice out of me and the 3 min rest went by quicker than I would have liked. I focused myself a third time and thought to myself to relax and roll. This third mile was with effort over the last 400m, I really thought I was going to effortlessly get to the end, but with a quarter to go had to really focus myself to my form and breathing, and still ended with a 5:10. Very happy, very excited, be very afraid...
Friday - My running plans fell apart and I was left happy with a rest day and amped to roll out a large weekend.
Saturday - United with Fyffe and Greg at Greg's house. Hit the trails of Pisgah, which were runnable, but tough. Had a great run and great time.
Sunday - The weather was in our favor, the gods saw their own and delivered great conditions in the woods. Greg came out to the shed and we brought with him and awesome idea: Athens Lookout. I've been thinking about this run for almost two weeks and dying to get out there. It was not a SS day, and totally a trail shoe day. I opted for the Raptor which was a tremendous decision. That is what the show is for (and heel round house kicking people in the face).
This run was epic. The weather was warm and the fog was fantasy-esque. It was like running in a snow scene from the Hobbit, cussing gnarly. I almost forgot what I was doing due to being beyond grateful to be outside to experience this awesomeness. Very satisfying and very epic.
The ridge was in complete fog but was insanely bright. The Knife's Edge was awesome, I could have run back and forth on that minute of trail all day, very cool.
Week Total: 63 in over 8 hours (1 day off)