Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday - 11/30/2012

After a rest day yesterday, my foot felt 'OK' today and I was able to get out tonight for a solid run (relatively speaking) in Madison and a sliver of Conway. I met Don Fredrikson at his mountain top estate on the side of Rock House Mountain.  Don lives 0.2 miles from the Madison line and is smack dab in one of Conway's two teeth (Conway looks like it has two big teeth if you look at the town outline).  His place is pretty sweet and has a beautiful view of Kearsarge and Mt. Washington from a nice big deck.  We did a VERY dark and hilly headlamp run up and down the loops around Little, Middle, and Big Pea Porridge Ponds.  My foot bothered me about 5 min. in but by the end it was actually a little better.  7 solid miles in 20 degree temps.  I think 2 cars passed us the whole time.  Mostly all dirt roads.  Zero streetlights.  I'll take it.  Tomorrow I'm gonna start keepin' track of running again....good or bad.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday - 11/28/2012

Wednesday was more of the same...stumble out of bed, take off the 'boots', and pretend my feet and ankles and lower back aren't completely killing me, limp down the narrowest stairs in the valley, waddle into the kitchen like a zombie, and fire up the coffee maker with one eye half open and the other completely closed. 4 cups later and I'm doing the occasional stretch, rolling my foot on my spikey ball, and walking around periodically so I don't completely lock up before sitting back down and staring at a computer screen (or screens) for hours.  It could be worse...  By the time I think it's mid afternoon, the glow of the soon-to-be winter sun is starting to fade out the side window.  I quickly fumble for my phone to try to salvage a run w/ KT but he's out today so I was staring at a dreaded headlamp run on the roads of Madison, in the cold, alone, and injured...with nothing to talk about (to keep my mind occupied) or think about other than my foot and how much I miss racing and even just easy running without pain and discomfort.. If you asked me last year at this time (while I was still down in the southern part of the state) I would have said that on any day, in any conditions, under any circumstances, I would prefer to run up here than down there.  While this is still true, I find it harder on some days lately to get out (solo) if I want to take it easy or if I want to ease back from injury, just because of the amount of hills around this joint.  Also, considering the town of Madison (I think, by my math) has about 5 street lights total and zero sidewalks, it's a bit tough to run on the roads without making darn sure you are paying attention.  Sure, there's 1/100th of the traffic here than in Salem, but still the occasional hillbilly will come screaming by and one needs to be aware.  The fact that most roads here seem to have an inordinate amount of shoulder does help, but then you are one step closer to getting mauled by a dangerous animal jumping out from the shadows... Any way you slice it, it's interesting after dark here on the roads.  Over in Conway/North Conway it's slightly better as there are more lights but there is also more cars.  The best options for after-work runs I still think is in a group (of 2 or more) and either on snowmobile trails or dirt roads over in Eaton, Albany, or quieter portions of Madison and Conway.  At least there, I can do a run w/ KT for 8+ miles and never see a car in either direction on some nights.  Sometimes not even a house light.  Lately, it's been tough to get anything of quality in because of my foot, although I am having fun running when I do get out on the trails...redlining has been OK but it's hardly keeping me sharp.  So I got out slightly early yesterday and hit up the roads for 6 miles and got back just before it got completely dark.  Nothing to blog about, but certainly better than nothing.  I headed down 113, shot off for a couple minutes down an open gate along the powerlines to check out how the snowmobile trails were looking, then got back on the road and headed up towards Tamworth before turning around short of the town line and heading back down.  Mostly up on the way out, and down on the way back.  My foot feels 'better' on the roads when I don't have to do any serious pushing off or getting up on the toes.  At least normal running I don't need to get that high up on the toes.  If I was racing on the roads, it may be a different story.  I felt 'ok' so that's a win.  Called it at 6 and headed back inside to get warm.

Side note... The XMAS decorations are up and in full's a taste:

Below: The 'spare' room.  A room we normally just pile furniture and other things that are extra.  We put up the tree the previous owners left up in the attic. 

 Below: The living room w/ our normal tree. Look close and you can see Deacon laying in his bed at the foot of it.

 Below: The stockings hung on the fireplace in the main living room.

 Below: Some lights and a mini tree in the dining room area.

 Below: A sled we found in the attic.

Below: Looking out from my chair in my office.  My mini tree to the left.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The latest...

So it's been quite a while since I've posted...  I've been struggling to run about 40-50 mpw up here in the north country although the weather has been decent and I really have no excuse to not run other than my foot still bothering me bigtime some days.  It's probably about 60% now, but only when on the roads or flatter loops.  I obviously prefer to run trails and mountains, but the climbing is horrendous on my toes and ball of the foot.   Whatever I did to it in August did serious damage and it has taken months to improve with any noticeable significance.   I can barely go up on my toes on my left side and struggle mightily when climbing very steep trails.  I start to go flat-footed as much as possible and only find myself pushing off on my right side, which destroys my right calf.  So needless to say, I can't do any sort of good climbing but the normal trail and road runs go OK for now.  I'm essentially just going through the motions and trying not to get fat (which I think Kevin Tilton refers to simply as 'training in the winter here in the Mt. Washington Valley').  I've decided to just finish out November and December (so essentially 2012) and call it a wash.  I hope to get back to the grindstone with a fresh start in 2013 with some changes from top to bottom.

I've done a lot of good redlining and peak-bagging lately with KT and it's been great to get out again and 'run' for an hour + per day.  I've done up to 12 miles or so during some of these sessions and it's been OK.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, I regularly post on there (if you aren't friend me!). I've posted a lot of videos and photos of some of our runs but have had little desire to blog.  I am forcing myself back into the swing of the blog to try to keep motivated now that I am confident I can do some decent training (within reason).  I think if I stick to flatter runs for now, I can get back some fitness and start building while my foot continues to heal.  There are some good folks to run with here in the valley and even though the days are somewhat short at this time of year, it's still no excuse to sit on my backside and not continue to 'build hurtin' bombs'.

I missed some great races locally here since I went down with injury in August.  The Kennett XC Challenge (White Mountain Milers vs. Kennett and Fryeburg Academy, where it may have been my last chance to beat Silas Eastman before he becomes a household name), the Millen Mile, Kismett Cliff run, the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon, and the Madison Thanksgiving race.  Needless to say, I've been pretty depressed about that.... but I have a lot more to look forward to once the dust clears on this year.  I am expecting a baby daughter in January and that will be greatly exciting.  I get a lot of 'you're running will be over' and 'have fun now before it's all over' when talking about having a child.  Everyone seems to think that as soon as you have a baby, your life is somehow completely changed.  That's certainly true to a degree....but I'm not planning on hanging up my running shoes simply because I am becoming a father.  On the contrary.  I am going to continue to train, race, be fit and healthy, and competitive to not only set a good example for my children but also to be a responsible parent and take care of myself physically and mentally.  I understand when people tell me this (it's been a lot of folks) when they don't stop and consider that I work from home and see my wife 22 hours a day (less an hour or so if I go out running or she goes out to yoga, etc.).  I will be around my family (as long as my job lasts as-is) all day.  My thought (as well as that of my fully supportive wife) is that if we can't spend at least an hour a day doing something we love to do or need to do to stay healthy and strong, then there's really something wrong.  Considering I will have the unbelievable chance of being home with my wife and child during the day and I won't be travelling or commuting to work a couple hours a day + like some folks do, I should have ample time to get my run in during the afternoon or morning and not have to worry about missing family time.  If I was commuting and didn't get to see my family as much as I do now, I'd maybe think about cutting back my focus on running and training and racing, but as of now, there will be no plans to back away from being me and enjoying life as I have been this past year (injuries aside).

As I focus now on the impending doom of getting buried with snow, I am getting excited about building strength this winter on some snowmobile trails, great snowshoe runs, and some nordic skiing as well.  I am starting to think about what I want to focus on for running and racing in 2013. It's hard to really focus on what I really want to do, which is dip my toes into some longer ultras this coming year, because my foot is still junk and I can't quite fathom being able to go the distance just yet.  But I'm keeping that in the back pocket for now and have penciled in some dates of the GSSS races I want to do + the USATF NE Mountain dates and a couple of other 'no-miss' races for me.  The USATF GP voting is still going on, so I can't commit to any of those right now.  Which brings me to another subject which is the voting for USATF slates (if you haven't seen DD's 'rant' on this, check it out here).  I spent 1 hour drawing up all my 'conflicts' for each race in each slate and figured out which one would yield the least amount of conflicts and pain in my schedule.  It was slate 3 for me. The marathon was a wash so I voted for Manchester because it's way closer to home, but I don't care if it's Cape Cod that gets the nod.  If I'm healthy, I'll run either one.  The problem is that when it came time for me to vote, I logged onto the site and accidentally voted for slate 2!!!  I have no clue how, but I had a momentary lapse of reason and clicked the wrong thing.  I inquired about having it changed on the backend, but no dice. I understand they can't change the vote and it was my fault for accidentally voting for slate 2.  If slate 2 wins by 1, I'll be miffed.  If it or slate 1 win by a lot, I won't really care.  Either way, I'll only be able to make a few GP races next year at best.

So in summary, I hope I haven't completely lost all my readership...I'll start posting again..maybe Eric MacKnight-style where I wax poetic about all my meals, television habits, and bowel movements....or maybe Judson Cake style where I carve out all my insane workouts (although I almost never do any) on a daily basis...We'll see how it goes.  Either way, I've missed blogging and I've missed reading about other's hijinx as well...

As of now...the night runs are in full effect here in the valley. It seems a nice short/slow run at Whitaker is becoming a Tuesday night staple...