Friday, May 30, 2014

The Year of Racing Terribly (Part 2)

Came home from work today to chaos.

One of my little guys is slowly recovering from a recent bug (see last post) and had a bit of a set-back. My other little guy has recently developed a bug bite induced wound on his foot that now needs to be treated and tended to. He has a doctors visit at the time of my race.

I thought about downgrading due to my lack of fitness and general instability around recent training. Now I might need to scrap the whole thing.

Not feeling the running vibes right now.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Year of Racing Terribly (or nearly not at all)

I write this having been up for 20+ hours tending to my son in a household ravaged by some vicious little stomach bug. I haven't had time to think about it yet, but I believe I may be fighting the thing as well. And I have a race in a few days.

I feel desperately unprepared for this one. I have miles in my legs but not enough. I have hills that have worn me out and made me stronger, but I question if I've gone high enough. Have I gone hard enough? I'm pretty sure that I have not.

Running provides a much needed outlet for me, a time and place where I can turn off the noise of the world and breath in mental silence. Not every run is a good one physically, but they have all been useful (even the really bad ones) psychologically, spiritually.

But it can sometimes lose it's impact when it is clouded by the guilt around my sometimes not being able to reach my own expectations... set around race specific training and usually the races themselves. This alone can push me to depression when running is supposed to be the thing that guards me from it.

I start to wonder and obsess on how others do it. How do they commute, work, commit time and energy to their families and still find time to be the best they can possibly be athletically. It can get lonely not being able to figure this out.

I'm blessed to have the support of one of the best shoe companies in the market. And I feel guilty for having the opportunity to represent them. Being a part of the Altra Ambassadors allows me to be inspired by a fantastic team of enthusiastic explorers, but sometimes their endeavors and successes make me feel less than.

I haven't trained as much as I would like. I won't make excuses about that. I have barely raced, but hope to pick that up as we go into the summer. I have races on the calendar including a late entry into the NYC Marathon.

I want to turn the year around. I think I may need many more long, quiet runs to figure out how.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Two restorative runs over the last two days have helped to pull me back from my recent bout of running malaise.

Yesterday's run was a quick warm-up to the base of a powerline hill that cuts directly up through the woods to a ridge line. The climb averages around 30% grade. And for me, with no mountains to speak of in this area of the east coast, this hill presents a huff and puff challenge.

I ran up it with all the steam I had. When my stride started to break and hiking would be the quicker option, I transferred to hands-on-thighs power walking.

Got the top, caught my breath for a few seconds then it was a tear-ass back down the slope to do it all again. A few more times and I felt like I had washed myself off. I felt whole again.

I read somewhere recently a line that went something like "you have to go further to discover more." With my running it is pain and the ability to push through it. Too many of the same runs recently have left me feeling like my training was going nowhere, falling flat. I was learning nothing new about myself.

Challenge myself a few times and I feel like it's all coming back to me. Now I want to race again.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Running to get somewhere

It's not often that I get the chance to run as a means of transportation, to simply get from one place to another under my own power.

Usually, I drive to a trailhead, run around for awhile, ending up back at my car. Then I drive home.

From the house, its ever changing loops that take me through new neighborhoods, new towns. But I always end up back in my driveway panting, hands on my knees. Right where I began.

Worse is the dreaded treadmill downstairs. There I claw my way through miles staring at an earth toned-wall twenty inches in front of my face. I will time to move faster so I can get to my predetermined point of accomplishment. There is no physical travel. Just some lit up numbers on a dashboard. When I'm done I turn it off. I've gone nowhere.

But on occasion I remind myself that I can commute by running. At least part of the way. I remember that I can carry my gear in my GoLite pack, change at work before I head out, and get creative with how I get home.

During a treadmill run last night, I was attempting to plan my run for the next day. No matter which way I chopped it, I couldn't come up with the time to get my miles in. Then I remembered. Get off the train a few stops early and run it home. I'm pleased with myself when I can problem solve life's tougher issues.

So I commuted part of the way home with the rest of the workforce. I sat there in synthetic fabrics feeling exposed in my shorts. I always find it awkward getting off a train full of commuters and leaving the station. When do I start running? Right off the train or do I wait until I get to the street?

While others are beginning their short walks to their cars, I tear off out the doors and bound down the road.

There are a lot of runners in my area. Early mornings, post-work dusk runs, those doing their "work from home" lunchtime loops. Everybody understands these people and the madness, the compulsions that push them out every day, rain or shine.

I found today on my commute home that people do not get someone leaving a train to run a distance with a full pack on ones back, with the simple purpose of getting home. I got strange looks and confused stares. Even runners I passes looked confused. It must have been the pack. Why would he be running with a pack?

I like running to get somewhere. It makes sense to me.