Friday, April 26, 2013

can't seem to settle in

Yes, life is driving me a bit crazy right now! I can't seem to settle in, settle down, etc. I can deal with the foot being broken, the cast being itchy (and smelly), the plastic bags that don't really do much with each shower, and the slower pace of life. What I cannot seem to deal with, at least not too well, is the dependence on others to get around. Getting to work, which is 25 miles on backroads, has been fine, as my friend and colleague lives right by the train station in Mt. Kisco, so I drive to the station in the morning with Kenny, take the train to Mt. Kisco, meet her and drive in together. The way home has been a bit more complicated. Mostly because I don't want to impose on her afternoon, so despite her willingness to help me in anyway she can I am having a hard time with putting her out.

Then there is the cost. I will insist on paying for gas. It is the right thing to do, hands down, so that thing about talking me out of it is not even allowed to be in the picture. The train is 7/day and the parking for our car since Kenny is having to leave it at the station because I can't handle the mile in a cast is 4/day. So an extra 55/week I am shelling out, not much on the front side, but it does add up eventually.

I have these grand ideas of how this will force me into the studio. I am finding that has been happening slowly. I did come home and work yesterday for hours, Tuesday and Wed too. However, there are some things that I found just plain difficult, like lifting a bag of clay. When I spent 3 weeks with untreated broken bones I was in all kinds of pain, foot, leg, hip, back, neck and I just managed. When they casted my foot, all of that pain went away almost immediately. Now when I lift a bag of clay, or kiln shelves (holy crap I never realized how heavy those things were), I am in excruciating pain from the extra pressure that puts on my foot. Its like going from zero to 950 on a scale of 1-10.
So working in my studio is very fatiguing and because of that very, very, very frustrating!

Richard, I can hear you already my friend, you and my friend Robin share the same sentiment. No, there is never a day where I can just be content with sitting. That is not until I learn to perfect the art of meditation to the point of NO distractions. When I sit and do nothing I think to damn much! :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Not yet

Foot broken in two places = no ultra
At least not now or anytime this year!
Wealth of emotions right now but my first concern is the shoddy craftsmanship of my cast. Walking on tippy toes with a hyper extended knee. Trying to get it reset! Ugh not a happy camper!!!

Comments about it? I am such a ceramics snob. LOL, ok but it still is bothersome.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

a whole lot of miles

The past 4 days I have spent a considerable time on my feet, about 50K actually (30 miles). I am marveling at the fact that while I am sore when I stop for a break, after a shower and a bit to eat, I have bounced back to normal for the most part. I still need to use my roller and lineament religiously. Yes I did say lineament and while you are conjuring up visions of your great grandparents smelling of mothballs and Bengay, understand this, peppermint and camphor are really good anti-inflamatories as well as analgesics. Your GGma's knew something! Just don't apply until a few hours after a shower or you could poison yourself with the menthol. 

I am getting excited about my event, and getting nervous too. Its 8 weeks away, I have started that ramp up to April 7th when I will do an 8 Mile/30mile/8Mile weekend which supposedly will get me through the 50 miles. At the same time I have started that mental battle of reducing the distance to swallowable distances. such as (4) 12.5 mile efforts. Actually this is the breakdown: 
I can leave supplies, and I plan on doing so at the Lyons Road stop. I have learned a few things already. Toenails need attention in the same way fingernails need attention when I am throwing on the potters wheel. If they are even the slightest bit too long, which is not too long at all, my toes hurt at any distance beyond 5 miles. I will need to change my socks every major aid station to prevent blisters (10-12 miles seem to be the distance my wool sox will hold up before friction sets in). I have found that the boost I get from PB and apple slices on rye seem to be better than anything else right now. I have learned that I can only handle about 60 oz of water without supplementing other liquids. Dates bother me once I have hit 10 miles, so despite what the No Meat Athlete  preaches, they just wont work as an exclusive source of energy. I am thinking I just might need those jelly beans! Debbie, the occasional coke still works stupid good! 
So back to the work week tomorrow followed by hill repeats and the chiropractor. One more day before I wave the white flag for 24! 
About the event:
2. Volunteer if you can (then I can see you on the course)
3. Hike the ridge that day and maybe you'll catch us going by. 

Until next time...

Friday, March 8, 2013

going out for a ski on snowballs

Another snow day and because of it our April break is reduced to a 3 day weekend. This being said I decided to make the best of it and go out for what just may be my last ski of the year. After yesterday's 10K I am sore and tired and it took me the better part of 3 hours to get my butt off the coach. When I left to ski I was thinking I would spend a good 2 hours working. I would ski a stretch of the North County trailway where I knew I could spend a good 3 miles before there would be a road crossing. I was armed with a peanut butter and sliced apple on rye and a trusty container of easy glide wax. I knew the snow was sticky and despite having waxless skis I also know that in those temperatures snow will stick to the bottom of the skis without it.

My ski was frustrating. I skied in about a mile and got stuck. Looking at my tracks I could have created a village of snowmen from all the balls of snow that seemed to form along the way. Skiing out was slower and seemed to be more work than walking up a cliff. I didn't feel like hoofing it so I struggled through it. When I reached my car I re-waxed the skis and decided to try a more wooded area. Anglefly preserve was better but still challenging. My skis were pulling up snow, only this time I was moving a bit more freely. After a short while, actually it was really only 10 min, I feel something odd on my leg. My camelback snagged on a shrub and the bite valve pulled off. Just as I am realizing this I loose my balance from all the swiveling around and down I go. I laid there getting soaked and unable to get up because one of the bindings froze and the water tube was stuck behind me and I was off course lying on the pouch. 1 think it took me a good 15 minutes to free myself. I was soaked! I decided to hoof it out of the woods.

 I guess I am out for a walk later.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hey Marty, Today's workout didn't suck!

I am posting this note to my friend Marty, who is one of the most logical minds I know when it comes to living each day as balanced as it comes, and not looking anymore forward than that, at least thats my own take on who he is. If you remember, my whole recent quest to go out and do something about my current status of fitness came from a nudge that evolved out of a serious heart to heart at the US Single Distance Championships in early November. I put one foot in front of the other on that very day and almost four months later I am better for it. Exercising in some form is once again a habit, and despite it not being as intense as it was at one time a few years ago I am finding it more rewarding. Maybe that's because I have put less pressure on myself to be "faster, better, stronger, top of my game". Now, I just want to experience every moment and relish it for what it is. Maybe that is me showing my age?

I had originally planned on a tabata interval set today. I like these, even though they are at the top of the intensity scale and HURT beyond belief, their effect is as good as a 90 min workout in a 45min period. What is a tabata interval? Its a HIT (High Intensity or VO2Max effort) developed by Izumi Tabata in the 90's to use with the Japanese Speedskating Team. It consists of a warm up period which in my case was a 30 min walk at 3.5MPH and then a 4 min effort (8x 20'max sprint/10'jog) then a cool down. I really didn't feel up to this today, but that was before I started out on my walk. I was feeling a bit blue this morning, I think it is the fact that I have been paying attention to all the small details and I am finding myself a few pounds heavier than I was when I started, which sucks. I am also tired, my feet hurt, my knees hurt, my hips hurt, my back hurts and my chiropractor has seen me 2x a week. I take a few days off and slide off the cliff I am climbing. After I walked for a bit I made a turn for home to drop off my jacket as I was too warm and I did a "gut check". I decided I would go for it, if I was too sore after the first one I would return to my route and finish the LSD steady state workout,  if I felt fine I would continue the HIT workout. I finished it, it sucked while I was doing it but I was so surprised that when I was finished I bounced right back immediately. I even had to double check my HR to see if I was working as hard as I thought I was. Perceived effort was spot on. WOW! Marty, I take back the part about of the note on your wall about bagging the heavy work. It didn't suck as much as I thought it would!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

funny little reminders

I often listen to podcasts as I walk. It is my way of getting my mind of the pain and onto much deeper thoughts. Today was no different. It was a gorgeous day that I spent procrastinating by doing a bit of spring cleaning consisting of purging of what seemed to be quite a vast unneeded wardrobe and wrestling with the washing machine, which chose at the point in which I was headed out the door to decide to cry itself a damn river all over the laundry room floor. Hey, at least I was home to witness the mess and was able to shut off the water before I had the contents of the local water supply in my basement. I futzed over the valve for a bit before saying screw it. I needed to get out and put some miles in and so I launched myself out the door and on my way.
The time on my feet felt pretty good today. I am surprised at how quickly time passes sometimes as I notice so many things at this pace. Back to the podcasts, what did I listen to? The first episode was about Barbara Rodbell, a Holocaust survivor who grew up with Anne Frank. It was an interesting listen and had me thinking a good deal about our recent trip to Erfurt and how much Europe as a whole was really effected by the war, and then subsequently the Cold War. The Story  usually is divided into two parts, the second half was this little reminder from a book I am currently savoring by Robert McFarlane, called The Old Ways. I am loving this book, so much so that I have decided to read it very slowly, so I can let the words sink in. At this point in my walk my mind was drifting to an invitation of sorts that came from my friend Alicia, not unlike one of the journeys McFarlane describes in his book, she wants to hike along a literary route in the UK next summer. I am so intrigued that I have to say that my bag is already packed. The next episode of this podcast was about the right to bear arms, and I found myself really quite agitated. It was not over my opinion about guns, as I think they do have a place in our society, but over the fact that here was this newly naturalized citizen of Chinese decent in a public forum talking about how he proudly owns a gun. He does not believe that guns should be for hunting but rather to protect himself from the government and things like eminent domain and then he went on to say how he doesn't trust our government. My question to him, then why the US? Why did you emigrate here? I was just about to turn it off when the second half of the broadcast came on. I started to giggle about this one, it was another story I have been following closely. It was Ken Llgunas speaking about the end of his journey on the Keystone pipeline. He spoke to those sentiments that Rod shared with me. Check his account of his last day.
I am home now, a bit startled at the fact that I only had walked 5.8 miles despite trying to be creative with my route. There is vegetable barley soup on the stove and a small spiral ham, less than 4 lbs, in the oven, a fixed washing machine and a hot shower waiting so until next time…

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How its going? (the journey)

“One solution is to just let all the striving, all the thinking, all the fatigue, all the worry, all the self-contradictions, all the need-to-strive, all the pain, all that other pain, and all that other pain and fatigue and worry and striving and need-to-strive over here and under there and on your head and hanging onto your shoulders, just drop. And enjoy it. You're out there. You're trying to do something tough. Enjoy it. You've got pain and fatigue and self-doubt, but it's okay. Enjoy the craziness. Enjoy each moment, but ESPECIALLY enjoy when you're out there, and whenever things are completely un-enjoyable, when you're totally wrapped up in the mentality of overwhelming challenge and need-to-prove-yourself, remind yourself that you have a little mental screwdriver that can pry all that open and let the light in. All it takes. The un-enjoyable is just tinfoil. If you wrap it up (instead of being wrapped up) it becomes a bright little ball for a kitty-kat.” 

I received an e-mail from a really good friend las week or so and while I don't usually share these things, this one, meant so much to my psyche that I thought I would put it out there. I am continuously amazed at all the support that I am receiving for this journey. It means so much. 

Kenny and I spent the weekend in Lake Placid. We had a wonderful time, I even managed to get him out into the woods on snowshoes while I skied alongside him. I think he liked it, but I am not quite sure. Speaking of skiing the more I get out there the more I had come to realize that my equipment was just not right for my ability and personality on the trails. I tend to hate groomed trails, prefer to cut them myself even. I love skiing in the back country, hate the dictation of direction of a XC center. I actually hate having to pay a trail use fee, unless I know its actually going to preserve undeveloped space. It warmed my heart to see a DEC tag on a trail that "mandated" xc skis or snowshoes for winter travel on their backcountry trails. I would gladly fork over $$ to preserve that. Anyway, as I get sidetracked here, my equipment sucks so I made one small change this weekend. I found a backcountry boot that fit so well I felt like I could ski down the Niagara Headwall at Whiteface on toothpicks in them. I changed the binding and kept my skis until I decide on the perfect "BC ski". I couldn't wait to try them out. So this morning, despite the prediction of rain, I drove to a great old school XC center in central CT to try them out. Yes, I said XC center, and I expected what I got, groomed boring trails that have little or no challenge to them. I was going to see one thing in particular, how comfortable was I on the steeps. I managed every single black trail, and despite the taboo against doing so, I skied them in both directions. I really didn't see anyone out there (maybe three people total) so I didn't really think it would be a problem. I fell once, skiing uphill on by far the steepest trail in the place and I know why I fell, I overcompensated for the steepness and leaned way too far into the terrain. So how did the boots fair? All I can say it what a difference a good pair of boots makes. I managed 7 miles in about 1.75 hrs time. I am ready to conquer the Niagara headwall on toothpicks…Lunch was so good after that - old school prices for that too (grilled cheddar cheese with egg on wheat- 3.00)

Praying for snow this weekend!

Friday, February 8, 2013

5AM phone call

Snow day, not sure if it was warranted but somehow it feels like I needed it. Its funny how I ended up awake about 15 minutes later than usual, I couldn't seem to get back to sleep after the phone rang. I decided to take advantage of the lack of snow to get my fast 6.5 mile walk in. I arrived home just as the snow started to pick up. Now, a few hours later, despite the refueling, I am so tired.

The past two weeks of training have been tough mentally. I know what needs to be accomplished but finding both the time and energy have been difficult. It has been hard to get myself out there, even with the constant stream of support from Kenny and others.

The best motivators?

1. My friend Chris Hartman (Hartman Strength and Conditioning) posted this article to his page:

2. My husband Kenny continues to tag me in inspirational motivators on FB

3. My friend Alison shared this: 

4. My friends keep asking me, pestering me even, about how training is going wanting to know what they can do to help.

Today's workout was challenging and I spent a good portion of it thinking about how I was going to prove those who have told me this is event would prove impossible wrong. This was a huge mental battle as I was wheezing enough to want to just quit. I found myself having to get angry about the conversation all over again as I slugged along at 4mph.  This made for added exhaustion later. I know I am wired like an endurance athlete, despite my size. Even these training battles are not new to me. Its hard to do this alone, its hard to do this in the dark, its hard to do this when I am exhausted after teaching all day, and its hard to do this when I am so distracted by other things. I expected all of this, every single stitch of it. I know that I will be completing this alone, in some darkness, carrying most of my own gear, having to deal with things like temperature changes, loneliness, aches, pains and even hunger in a very remote setting. So every mental battle I have has to be chalked up perfecting my training.  Still its not easy.

I have listened to some great stuff lately too. I finally broke down an bought that Lumineers album I have been thinking about for awhile, I have caught up on Faith Middleton. The latest episode on the  brain was so pertinent and helpful.  The Moth Radio Hour and The Story are always good for a laugh too.  Then there is the shuffle of music on my I-phone. (I will sappily admit that I was so inspired when Billy Bragg's  "I Keep Faith" , was followed by Carolina Chocolate Drops "Run Mountain", The Subdudes " Lets Play", Fun's "Carry On",  Zac Brown's "Chicken Fried" and finally Trampled by Turtles "Alone") I am also liking fitting into my clothing better, though the weight loss is somewhat elusive. I think I have more energy, even though you would never know it today.  My brain is awake but my body is exhausted.

I have finally gotten around to setting up my Crowdrise page for the event. That can be found here:
Please consider helping preserve the ridge and come join me up on the ridge to see for yourself why the place is so special!

Friday, February 1, 2013

nostalgia has me in its grips thanks to a student comment

"Mrs W is right about Yellowstone, its like standing on the crust of hell and being in heaven at the same time." Right now? That comment has me thinking. We checked in to our hotel last night, my mom, Kenny's mom and I, expecting that there would be a roll away and finding out that it was against fire codes. Someone had to share a bed. I spent the night next to my mom, probably for the first time in 40 years. I remember as a kid I was allowed to crawl into bed with my mom as long as I was still. It's funny, last night I slept with frozen posture. As I sit and wait for my companions on this journey, I am in reflecting on that Yellowstone comment, the reminder from a dear colleague that my students are in HS and despite the capability of reaching for the stars, the are just babies. Then there is my own venture into a new medium. How fitting that I showed them that Annie Liebovitz photo of Old Faithful. The summer, 2011, I stood on the crust of hell I had high hopes of setting up studio space in Utah only to realize the the schedule requirements were too much for me to fit any time in. My hand was forced. It would be pen, sketchbook and point and shoot. Oh how I hated photography and oh how much I learned with a few glimmers of possibilities. I took 3500 photos. I had maybe 100 I liked and out of them I culled a dozen. One of my best was of the geyser field in Yellowstone. I am here in MN a good camera in hand, hoping to eventually match that Yellowstone moment. I spent the evening sharing looking at my photos of Germany. There are only one or two I like but the emotional ties to that family experience coupled with the music I am being forced to listen to now (urban cowboy soundtrack) have me wrapped in this blanket of nostalgia. When Urban Cowboy was released I was in HS, hoping to study art in college, my dad was still around and at the time he would play it over and over. Wrapped in nostalgia as I realize how old my mom has become. How she is facing her own mortality on a regular basis and yet trying not think about it. She is also dealing with and saddened by her brother's decline. She and my uncle were close when they were kids. I can't help thinking its one of those important times in life that I must pay attention. Nostalgia has woken me up this morning and has reminded me to pay attention!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

the Journey

I am currently reading Robert McFarlane's book The Old Ways: a Journey on Foot.  I am slow reader, always have been, but what I tell my students is that it just makes the story last longer.   I am intrigued by McFarlane's book. It is a book that tells the story of the characteristics of human foils with a little about his own journeys along some incredibly old paths. A foil for those of you that don't hunt is a animal track. We easily forget that we  are just like any animal in the sense that we create tracks because we spend so much time on non-impressionable surfaces or for that matter with our feet off the ground. I am going to hoof it a daunting amount of miles to get ready for this journey in the mountains. I am, at times, overwhelmed by the sheer size of the task, that is until I remember that the reason wayfarer clubs started in England  in the 19th Century was because of George Borrow, who was said to have covered the 112 miles from London to Norwich in 27 hours on a pint, a sip of milk, a few apples, and a roll. He was dressed in a suit.

Wayfarers Creed:
"There's night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die?

I don't plan on taking this journey lightly. I plan on having it be infinitely more enlightening than any blister I pamper. So when I am told I am wasting my time on a quest that may never be realized, I turn my head into the wind and drink in the smell of the air, the sound of my breath, the feel of the ground beneath me and softly remind myself that they obviously have never stopped long enough to listen, to ponder, to experience their own sense of occupation of space. They have not yet been blessed with the quest to be a wayfarer. To them I say it's not about the miles, its about the views on that ridge and the experiences, both wonderful and difficult, along the way.

Shortly I will be setting off for my own exploration of Philadelphia today. I am excited about experiencing the city once again at a pace that allows me to understand its neighborhoods. I am on a quest to see as much of the public art as possible. Philadelphia is a city of murals, sculptures, and mosaics. It's a place that is so proud of its existence that it celebrates by blanketing its world with these beautiful visual accolades. The goal today, Philadelphia for free! I am looking forward to that brotherly love!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

People watching

Thursday night I made my way to Minnesota to watch my kid compete. I arrived at LGA with two hours to spare, found the short security line, had no issue with my skates, and found myself inside the gate area within minutes. While I am trying to put myself back together in the limited seating space there is a woman, who had caused her own issues outside the gate over cans of hairspray that she refused to give up and refused to check, sitting there completely finished putting her slip on shoes, sweater and coat ensemble back on but was having a phone conversation with all her other gear splayed across the bench. People were stacked up like flies waiting for that bench space to open up, barefoot and balancing everything they own and she was just having a grand old time chatting away, completely oblivious. I decided to eat something before I got on the plane and was seated next to this off duty flight attendant who seemed a bit weary. He and I chatted up a storm while he encouraged me to people watch. I think he just wanted to comment on what he thought was an affluent woman's behavior on the plane. Basically he told me that she and her family were one hot mess, not able to deal with the broken fingernails of life. This got me thinking about watching the people around me. There was the flight attendant on my flight who was getting ready to retire, she had been in the air for 63 years, and while her immediate colleagues respected her, you could tell that she had a career and they had jobs. The pilot on this flight barely spoke a word, which I found a bit unnerving. I like to know what is going on a little bit and this was the bumpiest ride I have every experienced. I am guessing he was all business and no nurturing? Then there was the group of 20 somethings that were sitting behind me, four of them, who pretended they didn't understand English when the young female flight attendant spoke to them but when the male flight attendant spoke to them in Spanish, which is what they were speaking when she spoke to them they told him that English would be far better. The flight attendant made a comment in Castilian Spanish and they laughed and shut up. My assumption was that they knew he was on to them. It was just a game they were playing with them, but it got pretty old pretty fast. They were rude, very loud, and disruptive in a manner that they begged to be called on. If it had gotten out of hand and they were escorted off the plane I am sure they would cry the foul of discrimination despite being the ones to encourage it. I am not writing to talk about people watching, though this journey has been one in which people watching has come hand in hand with my explanation of purpose. It was a brutally cold weekend in MN. I managed 7 miles of walking on Friday and spent most of my day on the ice on Saturday and Sunday helping to officiate the AM Cup meet and watching Chris skate in the Jr. World Cup. Chris was skating well, though not as fast as his technique looked like it could carry him. Later we came to find out that his coach had been trying to tweak his technique and it was in the process of making a showing but the muscle memory has not caught up with it yet. He was ok with his performance. I am guessing that is the most important thing one could ask. I left MN yesterday tired and very cold. I haven't been warm since sometime mid-week (last week). I have invested in some new funky base layer clothing and have decided that despite its high price-tag and promises it fell far short of what I expected. It sounded like a good idea, make your own heat…but when you think about it, metal is a good conductor (PERIOD) that means of both heat and cold! It will conduct whichever is more dominant at the time. So if your body heat is surrounded by hell bending cold, the metal in the clothing will conduct the cold better than the measly heat of your body . This underwear needs a wind layer to work. Its too bad I fell for it! Today I ran a second set of tests, putting a silk layer between the metal and my skin, and a found that I was even colder than I was a few days ago when it was (neg)11 and windy. Where I had wind protection over the material I was slightly warmer. The point is though that I exercised. I did so despite the grumblings about the cold because I needed to get away from myself feeling like a landing pad. It is after-all the last week of the semester and there is this dog-pile effect that comes over people as they try to squeak out every possible drop of credit deserved or otherwise. Its hard at times to suck it all up and stay professional as one must. Exercise does wonders for the soul! Tonight I listened to The Story Podcast while I walked. It was an interesting choice as it featured two mothers, one from Palestine and one from Israel, discussing how they teach their kids about the war that they are so weary of. It was sentiment that I knew existed despite never being able to bring it up peacefully in my family. Then there was the interview with Robert MacFarlane about his new book about walking the Old Paths as a life journey. Of course I arrived home and immediately downloaded it onto my kindle and started reading. Heck it is after hours and the school work I need to do will be there tomorrow! Here is some more food for thought

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The first XC ski of the year

It snowed last night, and since my district decided on a snow day, and there appeared to be at least 4.5 inches of the stuff, a xc ski workout was in order. I chose a local county park that has been intriguing me lately. It has a decent amount of XC trails that are secluded enough and long enough to feel like you got a decent ski in. In no time I found myself alone in the woods and the first one to break tracks. The trail gently climbed for a good 2 miles. All the while I was trying to beat down that "ALONE IN THE FRIGGEN WOODS" demon and enjoy the ski. I kept telling myself that this was good training for May when I will spend a good portion of a 50 mile hike alone in the woods. Demons are interesting. This one kept debating the training idea with "yeah but you know that park well". Let me tell you what I know about Mohonk and Minnewaska. Most of those trails are along cliff edge and despite knowing them well, I will be covering some of those miles in May in the dark. Today? I was just skiing in daylight in the woods, rock outcroppings, but no escarpments. There was no comparison. So how did it go? The snow was sticky and heavy with a crust of ice on top. It covered the trail well in most places but the main issue with sticky wet snow is the "STICKY" part. This makes for downhills that are almost as treacherous as an icy surface because instead of not letting one stop you gather up speed and then suddenly the ski stops dead, your body still traveling forward at top speed. Lets just say I will be sore tomorrow. I look like I was out inlining on pavement with no protection on. I bit it on 4 separate occasions, eventually skinning my knee. I have a feeling that I will feel a bit disjointed too. I arrived back at my car just in time. It had started sleeting at some point and between that and my falls I was pretty cold despite wearing the correct clothing. I was was soaked to the bone. I arrived home to the driveway in the same condition I left it in (workout before work you know). I had to get warm and so its still that way 3 hours later. How I wish I could find a kid with a shovel looking to make some cash!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The first 9.8 is uphill after that its a picnic. Right?

I have often heard that the first step is the hardest and I will agree that the last month and a half has been a uphill climb but then again the first 9.8 miles of this challenge will be uphill. What surprised me today is that when I reached the gatehouse at the top of Lanape Lane I was not at all winded despite the nearly 4 mile climb with a 25 mile pack. I wanted so badly to keep going another few miles to the Crag despite not being able to see anything on a day like today but I had to remember I wasn't alone. I did need to be able to get my companions back in one piece. I didn't want them to be soured by a bad experience and working beyond your means can often ruin it for good. Company was not something I wanted to give up just yet so killing them with the distance was out of the question. I would just have to make up the miles later in the day. The walk down hurt but I did expect that. At about 6 miles my friend told me she was starting to feel it. I encouraged her to eat something and to continue drinking. Ten minutes later she asked me how I knew she was hungry? Andrew was right, I have been around this world of endurance efforts long enough to see tell tale signs in other people. By mile seven I was feeling a bit behind the curve. I had a few handfuls of dried fruit along the way but I knew I was running into the need for protein. I had packed almonds and was craving them, however my friend Diane informed me on the way up that she has an anaphylactic reaction to tree nuts, even if the exposure was minimal. I didn't dare get nut oil on my hands. I had contemplated asking them to meet me in town. I would walk. By the time we got back to the car though I was hungry enough to know I was teetering on bonking. I think I started the day behind the curve a bit after chasing blocks all day yesterday without much to eat. So I opted to go eat with them and finish the workout later. I have to admit on the way home, I napped and thought I would blow the last few miles off. Heck who would know? That little training voice stepped in however and reminded me I was only hurting myself. So when I got home I rolled a few cramps out, grabbed my headphones and headed out the door. The first 1.5 miles sucked but then again most of that was downhill. The second half I was elated as my training plan was finally clear. According to my calculations just adding 2.5 miles a week will put me at 45 miles two weeks (taper) before the event. I can do this! Small steps will bring HUGE gains.

Still going strong

I am not sure if I am exhausted or not. Some days I find myself bone tired, sore, and wondering if I will every be closer to my goal. The calendar ticks away moving ever closer to that date I will be asked to complete this double marathon and at times, despite knowing I am approaching training in the best manner, I feel like I am standing still. In a few hours I will be embarking on a hike that will take me over part of the course. I will be joined by a few friends as well as my best friend, Kenny. This has been pretty typical of this endeavor. I never seem to be alone. This brings me to a my experience yesterday. I have been contemplating finishing out my season obligations and then taking a break from the skating world to be selfish and take care of myself. While I wrestle with the idea of stepping back from helping people learn, learn to train, and train for a variety of goals I find myself reflecting on why I am making this decision. It is not unlike a grieving process. Yesterday, at the CT Thaw ST meet I was greeted with one of the greatest moments a coach could ever experience. I watched a former athlete, now a junior in college studying kinesiology/exercise physiology offer to do some fitness testing and design a strength training program that will tweak my current plan. I was intrigued. The athlete is now the coach. What I found interesting about this was how his depth of understanding and training philosophy were so familiar. I felt like he was imparting what he has learned in school in the manner in which I would have delivered similar information to him a few years ago. What was even more uncanny was that in his conversation with me I heard every coach I have ever considered a mentor speaking to me. One of the most important things was that he reminded me that despite not ever running/walking this distance I have to remember is that I understand endurance training. It is at the core of my being. Because of this I shouldn't waste time reinventing the wheel. I should go with my gut and just look to optimize what I am doing. He also told me that he had all the confidence in the world that I could do this because I knew what to expect. I knew how it worked. (Andrew, you are the best! Thanks for the gift!) Now off to conquer some mountains!