Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The year end summation: sort of. . . whatever

This is the last post of the year.  But who cares, really. Tomorrow is simply another day in the current week.  I'll only have to remember to change one digit habitually written on my checks.  I probably won't be up for the stroke of midnight. So 2013-2014, BFD. Honestly.

2013 was the year that I finished the rough draft of my novel.  It is/was also the year where I fianlly ran both a trail marathon and then an ultramarathon.  I have an intense dislike for organized races.  But I got talked into the marathon, and then, while I still had the stomach for it, I thought why not just knock out the ultra as well.  So check and check.  I'm now back to running for running's sake (and possibly the endorphins that the longer distances and tougher runs provide).

I'll be honest, I understand why people who have no possible chance of winning sign up for races: to establish some future goal to goad them into getting into shape to do the distance.  A marathon, a half-marathon, a 10k, whatever.  That's all fine.  They do it and then go back to whatever lifestyle they led before they started training.  But the runners I admire aren't the ones who need goals.  They are instead, the ones who do it whether a race is coming up or not.  Some of these types are actually avid and acomplished racers.  But their defining characteristic isn't the race, it's the need to run whether or not some organized event is on the horizon.

A few weeks ago, a major college running coach I follow tweeted something that relates to this topic.  Basically he wrote (paraphrasing here), "If you want to run, run. If you want to race, train."  Brilliant in its simplicity.  I can't argue with that at all.  In a way, it describes a third type of runner - one who runs to win.  I understand that mind-set as well.  But I can't imagine being that type of athlete if I didn't already love to run.

If I were to draw a Venn diagram of these three types of runners, it would be easy to see that each will overlap the other where specific runners are concerned.  But, since I really kind of hate Venn diagrams, I won't do that.  You're welcome.

Anyway, I have very little else to say about 2013. It was a year like most others. I saw two movies at theaters - The Banff Film Festival (absolutely freaking amazing event that takes place over three nights - can't wait for it to come back in 2014), and The Dallas Buyers Club (also fantastic and moving).

My running mileage for the year is just above 1,500.

So that's that.  My resolution is try to enjoy other aspects of my life a tenth as much as I do the three Rs - reading, writing, and running.  I'll try, but I doubt it will happen.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finally a Post

It has been the longest 'dry' period between posts for this blog.  I have a couple of excuses - both true, yet both still being excuses...

I took time off to go back through the first draft of my novel.  Now I'm in a 2-3 month editing process that should improve a reader's experience.  Writing the novel was fun.  Editing can be fun as well.  Just not as fun...

Excuse #2
I've been injured and depressed.  I hurt myself a bit finishing the Hawk 100 Marathon.  Something went a little off in my hamstring and IT band in my left leg.  A couple of weeks later, on a 17mi training run, my shoe caught a clump of grass and torqued the same leg up higher in a groin-adjacent area (but not a groin pull, mercifully).  So a couple of weeks later, I obliterated any chance of a speedy recovery when I completed the Prairie Spirit 50 ultra.  I ran a few times after to increasing pain each outing.  Finally, after run-walking the last mile of a 7 mile run at Clinton North Shore, I decided to take a couple of weeks off.

Two weeks off running... Something I haven't done in... well ever.  It didn't really suck as much as I thought it would.  I had my Specialized bikes - Sequoia (for road) and Rockhopper (for trails) - and an Olympic-size swimming pool 100 yards from my home's back door.  I got in a few good rounds of disc golf as well.   But I fretted about losing things like muscle memory and running fitness.  After two weeks I decided to hit the trails., a pied, again and see how things had progressed.  Somewhat frustratingly, no improvement to report as I did 5 days of 5 miles on the river trails.  At least there was no decline. So it was both good and bad news...

Then, a week ago, a friend gave me a treadmill.  I got it just as the weather turned nasty.  And running 4 miles a day on the stupid thing seems to be helping, not hurting - and I'm not sure why.  But every time my hammy gets sore or stiff, I hop on the mill and run.  When we get back into the 30s or 40s this weekend, I hope to hit the trails and see if improvement has taken root.  Never a fan of treadmills, I am finding that, in this case, the machine may just become my new bff.


My buddies at Bearded Brothers shot me a care package of their awesome natural energy bars (and a couple of groovy discs - a mid-range and a putter). That was a real pick-me-up, and hugely appreciated. If you haven't heard of them, check them out at www.beardedbrothers.com . Get on their email list as well - they run a lot of specials.