Sunday, November 11, 2012

All Out-of-Doorsy and What Not

AM - 5 miles(35:05) - Just a cruise around the block to ease back into the week. First day this year that it's been "cold," not just "chilly." Tights, arm sleeves, hat, gloves, and 7min/miles couldn't warm me up. Not what I'd call an easy pace since I had to focus on my stride, but it felt smooth.

3 hours of splitting, hauling, and stacking firewood.

I woke up this morning and caught myself in a mental state that I shall avoid forever. I thought about my employment situation, and said to myself "I'm in a transitional time, I'll wait and it will get better." I never want to take such a passive approach to life. Certainly, there are times when patience is required for success. That fact lends itself to apathy and loss of focus. On a large scale, I need to put forth more effort to pursue my passion. On a day-to-day scale, I can't sit on my ass and wait until tomorrow to go to my part-time job. I grabbed my splitting maul and decided that if I'm not able to afford my own apartment/dog/baby/whatever the proverbial "next step" toward a stressful adult life is, I'll do my part to keep my family's home warm. Life is one transition from birth to death. If we spend too much time in a "waiting state," then that's all it will ever be.

A 14lb wedge welded to a pipe. As long as I can keep picking it up over my head, it does most of the work.
PM - 5 miles(34:20) - Afternoon run. Felt warmed up much earlier in this outing than the morning run, so it was a bit faster due to the first mile being faster. Same loop as the AM, but in reverse. On these runs, I run on the edge of the road. It's equally as boring as a road, but it has a few more obstacles to contend with that offer the chance to switch up the gait. Potholes, discarded McDonald's cups, dead animals, etc. It may be a temporary thing, but I love these runs.

An entire day spent outside. It was great.

 AM - 10 miles... I guess. 1 hour and 40 minutes on trails at the state park.  No pace or distance, so I'll just assume a pace of 10min/miles and divide. I was likely running a bit faster, but this could help even out all the bullshitting I do on a regular basis. Really relaxing run of varying intensities. Barely visible deer trails, crushed limestone, root-laden single track. A little of everything. Just kept saying to myself, "stay." Stay focused. Stay away from the car for at least 90 minutes. Stay upright.  Stay in that cool yurt building if the door happens to be unlocked.

PM - The usual - 4 hours in the pool doing active recovery, core work, super light cardio. Felt great afterward.

AM - 7 miles or so. 1 hour run. I was bored and didn't have the time to drive to the park for a run. This head cold came back with a vengence and sapped motivation to do a workout. Behind my house is an old, overgrown single track loop on 2 acres. I used to use it as a "test and tune" area for my dirtbike when I'd work on it. Not enough room for a good ride since its flat and sparsely wooded, but enough room to see if I got the jetting right on the carb, or adjust this or that. I ran around this loop for 60 minutes, each loop taking less than 2 minutes. Boring to say the least. The trail was filled with small tree limbs, thorns, and horse shit. If discomfort is a part of mental training, then this was a successful day.

Itchy, wooly legs.

4 miles - 45 minute jog was all I could muster on this day. Woke up feeling crappier than I've felt since beginning my bout of this cold. Barely coherent, I drove to Hoffmaster State Park in between leading my exercise classes(tought 6 today). Really easy loping around on the cross-country trails. It was so cloudy that a headlight was nearly required at 2:30pm. Today was a day that I don't feel as though I ever woke up before going to sleep. Tomorrow will be better.

AM - 7 miles - 3 mile warmup on the trails of the State Park. Mostly the more technical trails and sandy hills. Circled back to the car to do 6x1min repeats on the Block House hill. Not a super intense workout, but I wanted to get some intensity in to help shake the sickness out. I tentatively planned on a long run today(20-25 miles), but didn't want to tax the weakened immune system. 3 more miles to cool down on the gravel trails.

PM - 4 miles - Some easy jogging from home after lunch. Easy 7:30-8:00 pace for miles 1,2, and 4. Mile three was a 6:15, just for shits and giggles.

PM - 2 miles - I got bored. I hate TV and being inside lately, so I went out for a couple more. One tiny hill, maybe 50ft over 1/8mile.

Wore 3 different pairs of shoes today. inov-8 Trail Roc 235s, New Balance 1600s, and Brooks Cascadia 4's. All felt fine. Maybe all the ailments I've been blaming on shoes have just been my own sloppy form all along. Interesting. Maybe tinkering with shoes of varying weight, heel drop, cushioning, and sole thickness could allow for simultaneous stretching/strengthening/recovery of lower limb connective tissues.

A day off, and none too thrilled about it. I did, however, spend 4 hours stomping around in the dense swamps of Northern Lower Michigan getting hunting spots ready. The vegetation is so thick that my father, brother-in-law and I had to mark our way in(and out) with a hatchet to avoid getting lost. Two stream crossings, one of which required the building of a makeshift bridge. Our old one was washed away by the waist-high stream. We used logs and dead pine branches to make ground blinds. Not exactly high-intensity exercise, but it was 4 hours of stomping around in cold, wet boots and carrying soaked wood.
I also sharpened my hatchet throwing skills. Useless tricks are my specialty.
1 hour hike and a 4 mile run at the State Park. Running out of creative things to say about trails I run on a near-daily basis. Beautiful area with some challenging terrain, and some easy running.

48 miles. Ouch. Had some nice progress going there. Damned cold and a whole day off took its toll on the total.Some solid days that I refuse to believe were "undone" by not running. I've vowed to take less stock in the quantity of miles run, even though I'm aspiring to a 100 miler. I'm due for my monthly long run, so maybe I'll take advantage of some fresh legs.


  1. What do you want to be when you grow up? This question of course goes beyond 9-to-5 and M-F. Do you want a family? Do you want to see the world? Do you want to maximize financial security in your old age? What are you willing to compromise for your goals? Tough questions, and difficult constraints given the state of our economy.

    I was lucky enough to be confident in my life path at your age (15 years ago), but it took my dad until his 40s to figure it out. Things have worked out pretty well for both of us despite our differing paths.

    Luckily for you, you have running to spend meditative time contemplating all of this. It might come from a mid-run revelation, it might come from your writings, it might come from a magic 8-ball, but somehow you will figure it out. If you're lucky, you'll live long enough to try several paths.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts, David. I appreciate it. I ponder those things quite a bit. I think the main struggle is the conflict between where I'm going and what I fantasize about. I'm not pursuing a career as wholeheartedly as I should because something doesn't feel right. The practical side of me knows that financial security will make me happier in the long run. The idealistic side knows that I don't want to look back on a life where I didn't explore. I do feel generally happy no matter my circumstances, but don't want that attribute to allow for complacency.