Thursday, October 24, 2013
Well I’ve stuck to my self-created posting schedule for 2 weeks and so far so good. Not a ton to report on since last time. I did get to go to Washington DC for a wedding of 2 dear friends and got to catch up with a couple of others, so that was fantastic. The wedding was a ton of fun and the food was easily the best I’ve ever had at a wedding (as claimed by the bride). I’d forgotten how good I had it in terms of running while I was working in DC: all of the monuments/open spaces, the C&O pathway, the bike paths into Arlington, and the trails on the VA side of the river. I got in a lovely 15 miles on Friday evening and 23 on Saturday morning. I saw all of the monuments multiple times, ran around the capitol, down the mall, through the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, along the reflecting pool, and up to Chain Bridge and back (where I got lost trying to find the Heritage Trail which is supposedly along the river on the VA side but I ended up thrashing around in the woods for 2 miles, ended up in someone’s back yard and gave up). It was great. But the first 10 miles of Saturday morning’s run were pretty rough due to the time zone change. I usually get up around 6am pacific time, and when I was running at 815am eastern time, it was really 515am body time. As a result, it took me about an hour for my body to really wake up. Not the best feeling in the world, but the 2nd half of the run felt great which was nice. The flights were uneventful and I got in a nice 14 miles on Sunday around Lagunitas and Bon Tempe lakes when I was back in Marin (gotta love flying east to west).
Looking back on the trip made me think of my time spent living there. Mostly, it makes me wonder why I didn’t run more while I was there. I think I was lucky to hit 25 miles a week for a solid 6-7 months. I just didn’t have the motivation to run more. I was coming off of an admittedly rocky college career, and despite a strong senior season, the momentum didn’t carry through the year after graduation. I ran a bit during the summer, but always on Mt. Tam and I think that when I got to DC and didn’t have endless miles of trails available to me, the motivation disappeared. I wanted something different, I think, but I didn’t know what. So getting back to DC and really appreciating what’s available to active folks in the city made me a little mad at myself for not taking advantage of it while I was there. However, I’m not considering that a lost year of training because I think it was a necessary break, both for my body and my mind. I don’t think I raced once while I was in DC and am also pretty sure I didn’t run any true workouts until it came time to start training for the Dipsea again in April. That’s what got me back into wanting to run hard and fast. I knew what was waiting for me on that course and knew that if I didn’t make some changes to my training, I’d hate it. So I started running more and worked out on my own a couple of times. And then when I moved home, I joined a club team and got back into racing during the summer. It was great. But I don’t think I would have appreciated it quite as much without the break I took while I was in DC. Those several months gave my body time to recover and more importantly, gave my mind time to reset. I needed to get out of the mindset I had while in college – namely, that I wasn’t running for myself. I was running for a coach and my teammates. Looking back, it took longer than I thought to get out of that mindset and to realize that if I was going to keep running, it had to be because I loved it, not because I was doing it for someone else. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my teammates at Davidson, but to enjoy a lifetime of running requires that you truly love the sport. You can only do something for someone else for so long before you begin to resent it and that’s what had happened in college. I felt like I needed to do it, not that I wanted to do it. Taking time off let me get to the point where I wanted to do it and I haven’t looked back.
On Tuesday night, we were on the track again. It’s getting darker and darker earlier and earlier. Daylight savings time is rapidly approaching, meaning the afternoons will only be darker. The weather was not nearly as nice as it was last week, with fog rolling over the infield and relatively strong winds on the back stretch. Summer is gone. Indian summer is gone too, I fear. And we are really getting into the thick of the xc season. We did a lot of 200s and a couple of 1000s. I appreciated the 200s because I haven’t run that fast in a long time and getting into different gears between the 200s and the 1000s was a welcome change. I’ve got a trail half marathon this weekend that’s fairly comparable to the Double Dipsea (but with 1000ft less climbing) and that’ll be the final long tune-up before Bootlegger on Nov. 9. It’ll be fun to see how this trail half goes, and oddly enough, it will be the first true half marathon I’ve ever run, despite the fact that the race director sent out an email saying the course measured at 13.7 miles.