Monday, November 21, 2011

Looking Toward Winter

Its been a little over two weeks since I ran the IMM. In that time I have logged thirty three miles of solid running. That means that my running life has returned to normal.

In fact, it has been normal since I took an exploratory three mile run on the Thursday following the race. That, of course, is wanted and unwanted. I was relieved to have relatively strong and fully functioning legs a few days after a road marathon. Yet, the healthy legs only confirmed my belief that the sciatica had kept me from pushing the pace in the closing miles. That Polar heart rate computer does not lie! I was on cruise control when I should have been in a steadfast pursuit of pain.

Since that day I have continued with the T-TH-S training pattern that I have followed since 1990. Whether I was on a short 3 miler or a "long" 8 miler the miles have come as easily as expected them to when running relaxed, low HR runs. After months of logging double digit long runs, I had to smile as I typed that 8.

Sadly, however, there is little doubt that each of those long runs would be truly long and epic if a more expansive trail system were close by. Throw in some mountainous terrain and I would be a full-fledged ultra runner with a severe Ricky Bobby complex on the bike. Sigh.

As of now, I have only one race planned in the foreseeable future. That would be a return to Lynchburg, TN for the Oak Barrel Half Marathon on April 7th. The 2010 trip was a lot of fun, despite the fact that I was suffering with the year's first round of sciatica at the time. I feel like I owe it to myself to challenge Whiskey Hill when I am 100%. Of course, provided that I convince Jeremy to return with me, I'll need to be at the top of my game to keep up with him. Maybe I can convince him to slip a little of that JD into his pre-race bottle.

The sciatica is not completely gone. Although the piriformis has finally relaxed, the tightness in the hamstring is constantly noticeable. For those of you who haven't experienced this issue, think of the coughing that goes on for days after the sinus infection has subsided. I'm on the mend.

Without racing trips planned I am eying the Appalachians once again for the "traditional" winter outing. That trip has ranged from warm and sunny day hikes, rides, and runs in and around the Great Smoky Mtn NP to long backpacking trips to camping with my boys. I would love to get in some winter camping, but the boys have not been interested in recent years. That might have something to do with the "no gaming" rule.

Honestly, I won't know what I am doing until a few days before it happens because I always let the weather contribute to my final decision. High on my list of desires are a couple of long runs over loops that many backpackers use for 3-4 day trips.  It will be interesting to see what Mother Nature has in store for me.

As far as this blog goes, well, it is the external view of my active lifestyle, right? It is, I believe, a natural progression of my long time habit of writing about my adventures. That writing began in the early 1990s when I jotted thoughts into tiny notebooks as I walked on trails, sat on boulders in rivers, or stretched out on grassy balds, or hunkered down in tents. The notes later progressed into essays that I typed into computers. Some of those essays were lost, but many of them are tucked away in one form or another.

I intend to start posting some of those essays in the near future. I've had some awesome, scary, hilarious, painful, and lucky experiences over the years. It will be fun for me and, I hope, for my friends and family to rehash those old adventures. You should find them interesting and entertaining.

Also, the Polar Ambassador Package will be awaiting me when I get home. I am excited about this! More on that in the near future!

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