Triple entry – so much for restraining myself 😛
Tuesday January 3, 2012
I had an interview at Main today. I was asked to pitch myself, which I think I did a pretty good job of. Was asked to call in the next couple weeks and pitch something I’ve pitched at school. It’s a toss-up between HGSI, IPCM, and the Brent-WTO spread. I like them all, but am unsure which I am most confident pitching. I guess this is a good sign because if they weren’t thinking of hiring me, they wouldn’t be asking me to do this sort of thing.
I went for a gorgeous run after work. Started around 4:30 from ross commons, went around allen, phoenix lake, fish gulch, concrete pipe, canyon, looped out to the horse farm, back up to boy scout junction, down boy scout, up deer park to 5 corners, out Yolanda to 6 points, down 6 points trail to deer park, out to deer park school, into Fairfax for a bit and back to ross commons. It started out absolutely clear and crisp. As it got darker, particularly when I found myself down in the valleys, I saw some bats that guided me along the trail. It’s fortunate I know these trails like the back of my hand otherwise I wouldn’t dare run on them in the dark. As I was descending 6 points trail, it was silent. No birds, no wind. Just my footsteps and breathing. My shadow appeared and disappeared in the moonlight, which despite it being only a half moon, shone bright enough to fool me into thinking it was a street lamp at times. It’s funny how you never notice how light the night really is, until you emerge from a dark, forested trail into a meadow bathed in moonlight from only a half moon. And then, just as quickly, the night grows pitch black as it is interrupted by a street lamp. The street lamp seems to do more damage than good as it pulls all of the ambient light out of the surrounding area and renders everything out of reach pitch black, when the reality is that if there were no street light, most people would be able to see pretty well. As I came out of Fairfax, my legs just wanted to go so I let them. Despite running the first true workout of the year yesterday (3 x 2mile ~10:05), they still felt good.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
2 runs today for the first time in several weeks. Felt a bit fatigued from the previous 2 days, especially on the 2nd run in mill valley. The 1st run, however, was gorgeous. I didn’t feel great or tired so I just kind of cruised along very comfortably. Bon Tempe was completely still. There was mist rising from it when I got up there, and still some frost on the path on the way through Sky Oaks. The air was completely clear, which is something that seems to happen much more often in the winter than in the summer. In the summer, there’s usually a bit of haze that hangs around, perhaps due to the sun being higher in the sky or the warmer weather, I don’t know. But whatever causes the complete clarity that I saw this morning is always welcome. It was warm up on the dam, where you can’t hide from the sun. It’s a welcome feeling on the colder winter days, something that you want to pause and take in, while during the summer, you want to move quickly or avoid it altogether due to the heat. But today, the detail in which the mountain appeared was incredible.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Slowly getting over my cold. I’ve learned that it’s rather difficult for my body to heal itself while running 100 miles per week. I felt pretty bad earlier this week and decided to sleep through my morning run on Monday. My Tuesday run felt like a death march and I was forced to opt out of the intervals I had planned, but Tuesday night rolled around and I felt considerably better. I felt better still on Wednesday morning and the trend continued to Wednesday night. I am planning to run some hill repeats tomorrow with Monk.
Running through the forests in Chapel Hill and Carrboro is a stark contrast to the trails in Marin. The trees here are bare and the leaves obscure the rocks and roots in the trail, making them dangerous at times, especially when they’re wet. Despite this being my second year here (5th if you include my time down the road in undergrad), I still cannot get used to the fact that the all of the trees here seem to shed their leaves. Come December, the forests hardly protect you at all from the rain, which is frustrating, but then, they allow the sunlight to enter almost uninhibited when it’s sunny out. That’s nice, but I would trade it for leaves on trees in a second, since you can always run outside of the forest if you want abundant sun and you can run in the forest for protection from the rain. There’s no escaping the rains in the forests here.
Almost every runner knows this sight.
Since my return for the last semester of my MBA program, I have yet to run in the sun and it’s either rained or almost rained every day and every run. The temperature isn’t all that different, but without the sun there to heat your core, it’s a totally different sensation. It’s unrelenting cold. Furthermore, it’s pretty depressing to think about the fact that I spent basically the last month running in sunlight without a hint of rain. However, I knew this dreary transition was coming, and frankly, it wouldn’t be too far behind were I still in California. At least the trees would protect me there…
Running in this weather, especially waking up early in the morning to do so, as I did this morning, really shows you who you are as a runner. I still feel guilty for sleeping through my Monday morning run even though I was sick and had just gotten in the night before. I feel like I’ve missed something valuable that I cannot make up. I know that it really won’t matter in the great scheme of things, but it’s a tough pill to swallow. I did get up early this morning for the first time in 2012, prying my tired body from the warm blankets and setting out on the roads. More often than not, I dread these early morning runs but sometimes they invigorate me. It’s hard to tell until the end of the run, for most of them start out with dread but some, at some unknown point, transform me into a thankful being, happy to be alive and breathing in the cool air. This happens much more when it is sunny, I’ve found, which isn’t surprising, as I get down rather easily when I don’t see the sun for a couple of days. At times, I feel that my body is like that of a plant, requiring warmth and sunlight on a regular basis in order to survive. I don’t think I could ever live in Washington. When it happens, I arrive back home refreshed and ready to start my day. I feel as though I am on a pedestal, above those who spent this time sleeping or working (although the pedestal is considerably less high if you’ve been working), and that I have done in an hour and a half what most people will never do. Otherwise, stopping my watch brings an immense sense of relief. A big weight comes off my shoulders and I know I’ve done what I need to do. My day and life can go on. Until I get up early in a day or two and do it all over again.
I think it’s the regular runs in which we struggle that show us who we are. Workouts are different because you’re meant to struggle and suffer. But, everyone knows what it’s like to not want to get out of bed. However, there aren’t many who have the drive to actually do so. That’s where we runners have an edge on other people. We know what it’s like to drag your body, kicking and screaming, out into the cold, dark morning, blinded by headlights and rain. And we do it time and time again, often without even considering the alternative, because it’s who we are. It’s become such an engrained part of our psyche that while our beds are nice, we come to prefer the roads and trails. You don’t feel alive while you’re asleep, but you certainly feel alive dodging cars in darkness or coursing alone through the woods without a soul in sight.