Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Still alive...and running

So last week I was feeling tremendously guilty that I had neglected my blog for so long when I came across a piece of salvation: a New York Times article on the "philosophy" of slow blogging. After reading about this "movement" of less than prompt blogging, I mentally signed up and felt immediately better that I, in my small way, was doing my part to slow things in this crazy fast world down. So after a hiatus of a length which I have no idea (point, me), I felt the need to update whatever loyal readers have stuck with me through my rest period on my life.

What have I been doing? Running some, racing more, and committing to my 2009 Ultra calendar. My running has been spotty, no doubt about it. The weight I gained the last couple weeks has to exceed the miles I put on my running shoes. Okay, a bit of an exaggeration but that is how I feel. Anyhow, I am still getting in my 30-35 miles a week, some now on the treadmill because of work and family commitments. There really isn't too much to report that is worth reporting on my running. I am still in that "just running to run" segment of my training. Like all those people who make resolutions, I get serious on New Year's Day. This is when I kick off my training for the upcoming season. Unlike most of those people who crowd the gyms those first couple weeks after January 1, I have crazy races that require me to continue training longer than most stick to a resolution, lest I find myself at mile 50 of a 100-mile race hating myself.

Since my last post I have participated in a couple races; one new, fun run and the other one a stalwart of my racing calendar and one of my favorite races of the year. The first was the 6-mile Blackstrap Hell Trail Challenge, held a few weeks ago at the Falmouth Preserve. This race had it all: stream crossings, lots of mud, rock scrambles, blood (no guts), and busted ankles. Within the first half mile as I jumped into a stream that I thought would barely get my feet wet I found myself soaked and implanted on a muddy bank. The race, put on by Trail Monster Jeff Walker, was maddeningly fun. Jeff had predicted all the runners' finish times and had us all go off at different times to ideally have everyone finish at around the same time. I felt like Lance Armstrong awaiting a time trial start. I had to wait in the chilly air for about 28 minutes before starting off but it was worth it. The only scary point was at the half way point when I was passing another runner as we descended a leaf strewn hill and I landed on my ankle wrong and heard a crashing pop. Never before have I heard an ankle respond in such a way. It was even more frightening when others around me asked what the noise was. The next mile found me hobbling until my ankle worked itself out enough to allow me to run again, although this ankle is still swollen and if I twist it just right I am reminded of my visit to hell. Long story shortened...it was a great race and I look forward to running around those woods some more in the future. For more information, check out Blaine Moore's excellent race report.

Last week I ran one of my favorite local races, the Thanksgiving Day 4-miler in Portland. Why do I love this little race? Well, because it is a race that reeks of family to me, probably due to it being on my favorite holiday and that my family has joined me for it every year since we have lived up here. I bet it will probably be the first race I run together with my daughter Riley. Yes, this race is only four miles but it is a tough four miles. The interesting thing is that of the three times I have run this race in the last four years, my time of 24:41 this year was within about 20 seconds of the prior runnings. So while I haven't been getting faster, I haven't been getting slower either. There is promise there. Kelly and her dad, Phil, also ran and did fantastic. As is their MO, they maintained a smile the entire race. I envy them this gift. And even more special, my parents from Virginia joined us at the race for the first time and kept the kids entertained in between each of the sightings of us running. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Finally, yesterday I entered the lottery for the 2009 running of the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100. After last year's overwhelmingly quick sell out of the race (less than a couple hours), the race organizers decided to go with a lottery this year. Entrants have one week to submit an online application and the drawing is December 12th. Given my poor lottery performances last year, I am very hopeful that this year is my year. Stay posted.

2 comments:

tc said...

I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you, James, and the others who have thrown their hats into the big M lottery.

sn0m8n said...

Glad that ankle is feeling better. It was quite a nasty pop. Don't ever do that near me again!