Saturday, February 6, 2016

Turning the page

I've been in a strange place lately.  I feel like I'm in that weird state between wondering if I'm in a dream or wondering if I'm actually awake.  Specifically, for a number of reasons, I can't decide if the next phase of my life is going to be another chapter in a book that I've already started or if I'm going to start a completely new book.  What lies beyond the next page?

For 2016, I gave myself a number of very cliche new years resolutions.  Read more, get a handle on my budget, twerk less, exercise more, drink less, bike more, be more present, love and be more caring, lift weights.......seriously, I'm not sure if they could have been any more "resolution 101". But, they all come from a good place of improvement and forward momentum.  All of that said, even though I'm working a plan for almost every aspect of my life, I'm having a hard time committing to what my new "fitness" life looks like.

Over the years, I've had a lot of good times with running.  Some of my fondest memories I associate with spending time on the road.  It was something that I was good at and something that allowed me to clear my head. It sounds silly to say given all the alternatives (biking, swimming, lifting weights), but I miss running more than I can explain.

As such, last weekend I decided to throw caution to the wind, hire a babysitter, and go on an extended trail run. I've recently gone on 4 mile hikes that included 2 miles of running, but this was going to be much more than that.  It would include more than 8 miles of running with thousands of feet of elevation.  Not exactly what the surgeon ordered, but at the same time not exactly what he forbid, either.

Pretty sure I see the Oregon Trail in the distance

Last weekend was the first time that I've run over 4 miles in nearly a year. It was an amazing feeling to feel the ground beneath my feet and the air rushing into my lungs.  It was not an amazing feeling when I started to walk after only 2 miles because the first 2 miles are all all uphill.  Marathon shape I am not, but I could see the faint glimmer of running glory of yesteryear.

As I ran along the trail, it became less and less "friendly" and more and more technical.  The first few miles were mostly mountain bike friendly, the next few were easily double wide runable, where as the last mile or so was all single track. The variation in elevation and surface I THINK afforded less pounding on my knee - but it still throbbed when I got home.

Not too shabby for trails

Today on the other hand I ran 6 miles on the roads averaging around 7:25/mi.  It was much more non-stopped with breaks only coming for stoplights or road crossings. (To be clear, at the turn around, I huffed and puffed while getting a drink for 60 seconds.) It was a TOUGH run, much tougher than I would like to admit it to being.  My knee is still sore, but no worse than the 10 mile run the week before, so I think that a long-ish run on the weekend will be the norm going forward.

I wore a long sleeved shirt and therefore ROASTED in the Phoenix heat

Is this post entirely about running?  Eh, probably not. Do I miss it more than I can ever imagine? You betcha.  The nice thing about my fitness journey is that it is still evolving. I have lots of blank pages to finish my story - all I need to do is start writing!