Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall of the runner

Sometimes things get wonky. If you have ever seen a bleached elk skull entwined in the branches of a fallen pine tree or come across an iphone 5c at the bottom of a river, you know life is not linear. Try as we might, we must flow with the debris when the volcano blows and the glacier turns to mud slurpee.

My training has not been going well. I am trying to adjust to life's tumult and dive under the waves as they crash above. I get tumbled but keep popping up intact.

Post UTMB I returned to Seattle, work, life, school for the kids although they were very jet lagged and looked like methadone zombies for the first week of school. I was smart enough to avoid the temptations of early fall Ultras including the new Skyrunning Crystal Mountain Marathon which kept singing its siren song luring me to crash into the rocks. I stuffed my ears with cotton and sailed on to a local 10k which took all of 36 minutes (a PR as it was my first 10k).

Again, my training has been sub par. My free/running time has shrunken considerably due to... life. I suppose I am lucky this has happened late in the season when my race schedule is anemic and my body is too. The daylight hours are truncated, the weather is dampening. I have a few races left this year and none of them ultra distance. Smart no? Yes but not very satisfying.

I feel like going big and wasting myself in an all out war of will with a 100 mile or longer monster. I want to duke it out with pinspot headlamps behind me. I want the thrill of chasing or being chased. It has been since June that I have had the taste of the hunt in my throat. I yearn for it. Yet I must be smart. Patience and rest. Let the body recover over the winter. Secretly train while the others hibernate. If you can't be stronger and faster, be smarter.

I am running the Lake Padden National Championship, Trail, 1/2 marathon on Saturday Oct. 18th in Bellingham, Washington. I feel undertrained and aggressive. I want to burn, I want to hurt and I want to win a medal and not puke. I suppose that is enough to tide me over until 2015.

Dark days need light. I have been extremely lucky to hitch my wagon to the fine folks at PETZL. This year Petzl will be providing me with headlamps of unequaled quality. I have been taking the Petzl NAO headlamp with "reactive" lighting out on training runs and am blown away by the feel, output and engineering put into this lamp. Reactive lighting technology means the headlamp has a sensor which lights or dims the output depending on your aim. Look at a map or an aid station worker's face, the light automatically dims, look out over an expanse of trail, the lamp brightens to full strength. The reactive lighting is not only a cool party trick, it actually is used to maximize battery life of the fully rechargeable  battery so you can get up to 12 hours of burn time. Did I mention how much I love Petzl? I am also playing with the Petzl Tikka headlamp which is lighter, has reactive lighting too and makes for the perfect backup light. Bring on the winter running.

Lake Padden Trail 1/2 then probably the Deception Pass 25k then a long winters nap with dreams of what adventures may come next Summer.

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