It has all become so mind-numbingly perfunctory.
The drive home from work was slow as usual. Roads were getting sloppier as we went and the mix of confident and timid drivers attempting to negotiate them at rush hour meant traffic would pretty much just crawl along.
I was tired when we walked into the house. I knew I would go out for a few laps around the neighborhood loop, but I wasn't exactly looking forward to it.
One more run. In the cold. In the dark. Round and round the little cluster of houses I live in.
I got ready on auto-pilot. Up the stairs... peel off the work clothes... pull on the Smartwool long-johns and the running pants. Do I need socks? Nah. Last night's pair are downstairs with the shoes and still good for a short one. I head down... grab the Garmin... strap it on my wrist. Grab the socks and the shoes... sit down on the bottom step.
One more time through the 'shoeing ritual.' Wipe foot to remove any stuck-on grit... pull on sock... make sure it makes a good seal with the long-johns... pick up shoe... check inside for debris... pull on shoe... lace... repeat with other foot.
Pull on jacket... grab gloves. Hat and running vest are in the garage entryway. Put on running vest... put on hat. Turn on GPS, say goodbye to Karen, and head out through the garage, pulling on gloves as I go.
I pause in the middle of the driveway, carefully working the seal of the gloves with the long-john sleeves while I give the GPS time to find satellites. As usual it takes a minute, and while I wait I do what I usually do: I look up at the sky - as though I expect to see satellites, but really just because I'm outside and I can't help but look up and see what sort of sky I will run under. It is just getting dark. Thick swarms of decent-sized snowflakes are drifting down. I can feel them hit my cheeks. I breathe in deeply, and I sigh.
And a smile breaks across my face.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
|That's me - in the red shirt left of center - starting near the back of the pack.|
(Photo credit - Richard Detweiler)
This year I finished my third Mendon Ponds 50K trail run. That's three for three. I've run Mendon as my last race of the year each year I've been ultrarunning. It's the only race I've yet repeated, so it's become sort of the key annual measure of how I'm progressing.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
|(Photo credit - Natalie Werner)|
At CanLake you're treated to one vista after another of the lake set in blazing hillsides of near-peak fall foliage - and when you're running on roads you can afford to keep your head up and drink it all in. Increasingly, I find myself loving runs on the roads.
|(Photo credit - Natalie Werner)|
Friday, September 13, 2013
|'T-Rock' getting it done on the Pine Creek Rail Trail|
(Photo credit - Brian Newcomer)
This story is from my point of view. If you're more interested in a race report from the runner's perspective you'll find that on Tiff's blog, "Hrach Garden."
Sunday, July 28, 2013
|Google Map from this year's race.|
(RIP symbols indicate where runners dropped out of the race.)
That's my genetic defect.
Monday, July 22, 2013
|Image (appropriately) lifted from Psyche Wimberly's blog:|
"Run Like Ya Stole Sumthin'"
You're out running with a good friend who happens to be a pretty experienced ultrarunner with some tough races on his resume: Massanutten, Arrowhead 135, Badwater, and a bunch more - over 60 ultras in all. Last year he managed to gain entry into the fabled Barkley Marathons, but was unable to finish.
As you run with this friend, you of course talk about ultrarunning. As it happens, another race cooked up in the imagination of the Barkley race director, the Last Annual Vol State Road Race (LAVS), is happening while you're running. Your friend ventures the opinion that the Barkley and the LAVS are the two toughest races in America.
You're an ultrarunner too, but one with just a few races to his credit. What do you do?
- Say, "Whoa!" with a sense of awe and wonderment in your voice, and keep running.
- Think to yourself, "It's so great there's no end of challenging goal races out there for me when I'm ready for them."
- Sign up for the 2014 LAVS as soon as they start compiling the list of entrants (which was yesterday, BTW).
If you chose #1 or #2 you are a sane person. I picked #3.
Monday, May 20, 2013
I was just about to click the buckle of my seat belt closed when I heard the loud 'bong' that heralds an announcement from the cockpit: "This is the captain, folks. I'm sorry to announce that we have a maintenance problem. We thought we could get it corrected, but unfortunately we haven't been able to. It is a safety-related issue and we cannot operate this airplane. We're sorry for having boarded you, but we're going to have to ask you to deplane. This flight is canceled."
It was 23 hours until the start of the Strolling Jim 40M Run in Wartrace, TN (about an hour southeast of Nashville) and I was now stuck on the ground at my starting point in Syracuse, NY. This had just become a longer endurance event than I had planned on.