Why I run Pt. 2

In the past several days, I’ve been questioned by several people as to how and why I run as much as I do, and in spite of my best efforts, I often feel as if I fail to properly explain myself. The following is my attempt to reconcile this, and articulate my thoughts with regard to the run. This is, in fact, my second attempt at articulating this point, the first can be seen here.

Why run? To the best of my understanding, the world we presently live is abundant with complications, and as time continues to pass, the list of life’s complexities continues to mount. Many of these things are good, such as the high speed internet I’m using to post this, or the electricity that helps me make my morning coffee, and powers my refrigerator helping me store food for longer than it would keep otherwise. Unfortunately, in my opinion at least, we as a culture are becoming increasingly dependent on these technologies to maintain our level of happiness/contentment. More so, in the days of smart phones, constant e-mailing and facebooking, the individual is afforded little to no time to truly be alone, in silence. Without this solitude it’s increasingly difficult to develop a sense of self-reliance, self-worth, and independence. In addition, there is an alarming rate of entitled recreation. As a society, we’re increasingly obsessed with ease of recreation, assuming that avoiding work is better than doing work, thus increasing our time in front of the TV, consuming the simplest forms of entertainment, and pursuing recreational activities that require less and less from the recreationalist.

As a runner, philosophically, one must refute that which our society has told us is the best way to enjoy oneself. Instead of pursuing ease, the pursuit is a challenge. More so, the runner does not actively pursue a variety, but rather chooses to indulge, often (as in my case) abundantly in one, very simple activity. Running. But, Why? I’m sure that there’s some sort of chemical reaction going on that leads to the addictive nature of the activity: endorphins, the runners high, whatever you want to call it, but that’s an infinitesimal part at best, in fact, I’m not entirely sure that it’s a part you should consider.  The reasons to run, to me at least, are a lot deeper than the simple pursuit of a buzz.

It begins, with freedom. There is nothing like running up a mountainside, unencumbered, the wind in your hair as you come across a wide panoramic view, brow dripping with sweat, legs aching, and heart pumping out of your chest. It’s an ineffable degree of freedom, known only to the runner. Often I’m asked why I don’t pursue other mountain/outdoor sports, such as kayaking, mountain biking, backpacking (I do on occasion backpack) and the answer is simple. I don’t want to have to deal with that much stuff. The more stuff I need to carry, the less in touch with myself and my surroundings I feel, in fact, this reluctance to carry anything is a large factor in my minimal clothing choices with regard to summer running, as something as simple as a shirt, if deemed unnecessary in the climate can infringe on this primal experience in nature.

Bipedal travel in itself is freeing, forgoing all technology to cover distances on foot. I’ve traveled some pretty substantial trail with pack, at a hikers pace, but having the sensation that I could do more, mileage, faster, forced me to eventually leave the pack at home, and pursue the same terrain as a runner. Once the gear is reduced to its most basic requirements, of foot protection and clothing, the experience on trail becomes vividly different, more alive, fewer ties to the world from whence you came, and a full-on immersion into the present. Additionally, on trail, at high speed, the mind is inherently preoccupied with navigating the technical aspects of the run, avoiding roots and rocks, negotiating the pace, and regulating the breath. This forces the runner to constantly be truly in the present, something that in my experience is often lacking in day to day life.

It’s also a pursuit of simplicity. As our lives become more complex, an opportunity to relieve one of the anguish of decision making is paramount. The run is simply binary, run, don’t run, there are no other decisions to make. This may sound boring to many, and I think is often why people choose to provide distractions (ipods etc) when they begin running (as I once did as well) but in reality, the simplicity is part of the joy, it’s an escape.

The challenge cannot go unspoken either. While the act of running is fundamentally basic, the act of running fast, especially over greater distances is a constant challenge. The beauty of the challenge is that the rules are set in stone, distance over time, no curveballs, and no last minute game changes. With this consistent challenge, there is inspiration, as the stopwatch reads a smaller number, and the legs feel less sore, progress is abundantly evident. However, greater challenges are always availed, and regardless of physical conditioning, a hard struggling session is bound to show up unannounced. Not to sound masochistic, but as much as the high points are elating, the low points are really where the beauty happens. While many people may not think that finding yourself miles from your home, depleted and dehydrated is a positive thing, it’s the place where inner strength is tested the most, and lessons regarding strength and weakness are truly learned.

I am not a masochist. I certainly don’t run to hurt myself, and wouldn’t actively pursue depletion, if I didn’t think depletion had something to teach me. The run, to me, is the most basic thing I can find, and there’s a certain degree of sustainability in that. All I need is a pair of shoes, and enough clothing to cover my naughty bits, and I can pursue a degree of aliveness that few other activities even come close to. Yes, there are downsides. Yes, it’s indulgent, selfish even, and occupies a tremendous amount of my time and energy. In fact, I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that running, be it mine, or a significant others, has cost me meaningful relationships on more than one occasion. That said, the pursuit of mileage allows me to feel free, unencumbered, and truly human. It grants me access to the deepest parts of my spirit, and constant bipedal travel really puts distance in perspective, making me more aware of how much energy is required to sustain our daily lives. So while it may seem a little bit crazy (and perhaps it is) to think this way, I know that the soreness in my legs will go away, my belly will again be full, and when I return home from the mountain, peel off my shoes, glance at my calloused feet, and treat myself to a hot shower, I feel an increased sense of self, and know that tonight I will sleep well, that my time with a book in my hand is well earned.

Accessible only by means of bipedal travel

Summary Feb 19-25

Sunday Feb 19, 1 Mile, 8:31 Typical shakedown mile, figure I should take a couple of days extra light after the 8 day 117 mile effort….. things felt good, legs a bit heavy, but nothing unusual

Monday Feb 20, 1 Mile, 7:46 Same as previous day, it’s strange how lacking my life feels without substantial mileage… In spite of a full day of class/rehearsals/practicing/generally doing things I need/should be doing, the omission of a morning and evening run makes the day seem… empty

Tuesday Feb 21, 6.4 Miles, 270′ 50:49 Had to get some work done on my car, landed a ride back home from dropping it off from the shop, and relied on legs to retrieve it. Tried to add as much vert as I could en route to the shop, but alas, only a few hundred feet. Everything felt very soggy, heavy legs, and general lethargy, could have sworn I was running 9+ minute miles… but apparently I was an eyelash under 8’s…

Wed Feb 22, AM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 39:53 Power Line Trails, slightly up tempo, not pushing too hard since this is supposed to be a “recovery” week, Again, things felt relatively soggy, not particularly weak, but certainly not what I’d consider strong.
PM 1 Mile, 8:02 Usual evening shakeout, just trying to get back into my normal rhythm/swing of things.

Thurs Feb 23, AM 12.1 Miles 1650′ 1:48:26 Allamuchy Double-summit, although I foolishly took a wrong turn adding a half a mile, and some vert, you’d think that I would know the trail system by now, but apparently my autopilot is lacking. Beautiful warm day, and it feels fantastic to be on the mountain proper after a few days of not really running/hitting the pavement/running the local power line trails. Things still don’t feel 100% strong, but then again, I think I’ve completely forgotten what truly fresh legs feel like, and they’re certainly no worse off than what I’ve been dealing with for the past several weeks, so I suppose I should consider myself fundamentally recovered from last weeks mileage stacking PR.
PM 5 Miles, 360′ 36:54 Broken Shin Loop. I started out with the group but after about a mile… maybe an eyelash more, a cloud of darkness seemed to cloud my brain, causing me to simply take off up the hill. I’m not sure what exactly it was, but I seemed immediately confronted with my own interpretations of personal failures, inequities, and all other such things that seem to linger in the sub-conscious. Needless to say, I felt an insatiable urge to continue to rest of the run in solitude, and picked up my pace significantly to earn some space/enjoy the rhythm of a few miles run harder than I would have planned for the back 5 of a 17 mile day….

Fri Feb 24, 5.1 Miles, 740′ 40:14 Feeling a bit beat up from the previous day, and having a substantial amount of professional commitments to attend to throughout the day, it seemed like a good day to lay low, nevermind the rain, and subsequent shiggy trail conditions. I did, however, manage to stretch my ever-sketchy left ankle more than I’d like on a slippery rock, and convinced that I had rolled it, found myself running while cursing in torrents and knotting my fists, only to realize after several hundred yards that it was feeling normal.

Sat Feb 25, 15 Miles, 620′ 1:53:32 Up-tempo pavement session with Dave and Jeff. Legs felt certifiably like crap (although extended flat pavement sessions typically have that effect on me) but then again, running when my legs feel awful is a substantial part of my training plan. Having the company is certainly advantageous for getting my sleepy self out of bed in the morning, as well as sharing the burden of pacing throughout a run. Also, ankle felt fine, good sign.

Totals: 51.7 Miles, 7380′ Vert, 6h54m

It feels strange, and extremely self-righteous to say that a ~52 mile week is a down training week… even with 7380′ of vert. In addition to the mileage reduction, this week provided me with a noticeable amount of professionally-oriented stress, most notably agreeing to a Mock Audition in front of the Vienna Philharmonic coming up this Friday (3/2) which I’m still feeling substantially under-prepared for. This forced me to substantially increase my practice time (which was a bit easier to do given the mileage reduction, and abundance of energy I had as a result thereof) which is something I have no qualms with, but for reasons I cannot understand, I felt often overwhelmed both with the sisyphian amount of work I had to do, as well as consistently confronted with reminders of previous failures ranging from personal to professional to the fickle things, such as my mounting pile of laundry. As such, I’m forced to conclude that at this point in my life, ~52 miles in seven days is far too few for me to maintain a level head, feel balanced, and in touch with myself, my surroundings, my body, and keep my stress levels at bay. This being said, I don’t anticipate this upcoming week to be substantially better as far as base level stress is concerned, with a Mock Audition on Friday, an Audition to record, and a last minute orchestra gig on Saturday (there goes my chance to go for an indulgent weekend destination binge run!(but alas, I do need to pay my bills)) Hopefully an increase in general daily mileage will prove advantageous to my mental health.

Dave (left) and Jeff

Running Store Fail

Disclaimer: The author of the following rant is a bearded, long-haired, barefooted mountain runner who often runs multiple times a day exclusively in “minimalist/barefoot” shoes. While he chooses not to self-apply the name hippie, it would not be an inaccurate description, and the following paragraphs should be read with this in consideration. Also, this rant is about the running store in general, not any specific establishment.

Rant written by this guy…

I hate the running store. It bothers me on many different levels, from the most basic frustration that there is an entire industry built upon selling us things we don’t need, to the brick and mortar face value experiential existence of these awful establishments. This being said, I understand the necessity of the running store, I have to wear shoes, I have to buy them somewhere, someone needs to make money selling these shoes, and someone needs to make money manufacturing these shoes. These are all very simple concepts, and I have no qualm with the capitalistic nature of these endeavors. In fact, I’ll even forgive the running store/shoe company for manufacturing the over-built foot-coffins that they sell the most of. I’ve long since given up on the idea that the majority of runners will abandon these form debilitating shoes in my lifetime.

My gripe with the running store this time around is substantially more personal. In the past few weeks, I’ve been visiting different stores in an attempt to find a new pair of road running shoes to replace my present pair of MR10’s. Now, when I go into a specialty store, there is a certain degree of knowledge I expect from the salespeople, I also expect them to look their part. So if I go into a camping store to buy a new 65 liter backpack, I expect to be sold this item by a knowledgeable person, who most likely has attempted, if not completed a thru-hike in their life. This would usually constitute them as an expert in the field, and compounded with the abundance of knowledge that the representatives of companies impart on the floor-sales persons, should give the salesperson the knowledge to effectively assist me in finding the most appropriate tool for my needs. In my experience, no one works at a specialty store unless they’re specifically interested/active in whatever that store sells. You work at one of these stores to be around the community, and take advantage of the fantastic discounts it avails you, not for the meager wage that they most often pay. This in mind, I expect my running store to be staffed by runners who make me look/feel like a recreationalist. I do not expect to be assisted by Kilian Jornet, Ryan Hall, and Anton Krupicka, but I would like to at least be able to imagine my salesperson having run the Boston Marathon, or at least A marathon, or have participated in collegiate XC, or something to that effect, but instead I am approached by individuals trying to hide their beer bellies under a polo and track pants….

Secondly, the running store almost NEVER has what I desire. It took me five stores to finally locate a pair of 3/4 length tights, (located at REI… not a running store) and I’ve yet to see the MT110’s in any establishment (mine were ordered online). Split shorts for men are also in short demand, and while my choice in attire may not be the most popular, we ARE talking about a niche store, are we not? I expect them to be able to provide me with the running garb I desire. Never mind the often pathetic selection of shoes for my demographic. As previously mentioned, I’ve been looking for a replacement for my MR10’s. The update is officially out (Minimus Zero Road) although, no stores anywhere near me seem to stock it, and while I love my pair of MR10’s, they have 833 miles on them to date, meaning that what little cushioning they had, is long-gone, making a new pair feel rather cushy to my foot these days. I’d continue to run my present pair, happily, if the outsole were not beginning to fail, but replacing them with a new, identical pair, would require a few hundred miles just to break down the cushioning enough to make them feel similar to these.

833 Miles… and still ticking
Upper Still intact…

This last bit, has less to do with the store, and more to do with the manufacturers of running shoes. As I mentioned previously, I understand the economic requirements of the industry, at an elementary level at least, it’s simply not worth making something that doesn’t sell… this, makes sense. However, the running shoe company continuously fails to provide my demographic with a sustainable shoe, something that I do not have to modify to fit my needs.

Raised heel? Not if my breadknife is handy…

I’ve tried on several pairs of shoes over the past few weeks. Mostly a collection of Saucony, and Brooks models, attempting to find something that I feel like I can run high mileage in, but won’t interfere with my form/posture. My basic requirements of a shoe can be seen here. For the most part, my requirements of a shoe haven’t changed very much, lightweight, wide toe box, small-ish stack height, minimal drop (4mm seems about right, i also like zero drop) fundamentally, I want to feel the trail/road, but not be annoyed by it. The shoes I’ve encountered however, meet few if any of these requirements, and these are what the manufacturer is claiming as a minimalist/barefoot shoe! Most often I find that the shoe has a stack height akin to the traditional over-built running shoe, but has omitted the raised heel, and while I understand the impulse to do this, these are NOT the shoes that I’m seeking! Otherwise, it seems, that if a shoe has a reasonable stack height, and a reasonable drop, it’s outfitted with an over-cushy insole that negates the whole purpose of a shoe like this. If I wanted my feet to feel like they’re walking on clouds, I’d buy a pair of Asics, or Hoka’s, but I want a glorified racing flat, that allows me to feel the ground, and doesn’t bother my form. Now I know, I can remove the insole, and I do, but shoes with removeable insoles often use the insole to hide the shoddy sewing work that lies underneath it, which for those of us who prefer to avoid socks like the plague, is a complete deal breaker. All I’m asking for, is access to shoes that I can wear sockless, and let my feet feel the earth. Is this too much?

I very well may be a barefooted sot, an idealist searching for a shoe that doesn’t exist, or perhaps it does, but it’s yet to be donned by my foot (until I bought the MT110’s I didn’t think my ideal mountain running shoe existed without extensive modification). Understandably, with the obvious exception of multi-day music festivals, the barefooted long-haired 20-something demographic is not traditionally the most lucrative demographic to appeal to, and it seems that the available running shoes reflect this. Some companies understand (*cough* New Balance, *cough* Merrell) So perhaps I’ll break down, and mail-order a pair of Minimus Zero’s, they’ve gotten good reviews here and here, so it’s probably worth the gamble, especially knowing that it appears to meet my needs.(I may also try the road glove) While I may have just wasted a bunch of time ranting about the running store/shoe companies, this does not mean that I’m going to refuse them my patronage, but rather that I’m going to patronize them begrudgingly, because in spite of their consistent failure to satisfy my needs, they’re still the best (only) game in town.

Summary Feb 12-18

Sunday Feb 12, AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 44:50 Power Line trail, still obviously sore from the previous day’s 21 miler, but it’s good to get out and shake the legs, try a bit of vert, and hit some technical trail.
PM, 1 Mile, 8:18 Quickie form tuneup, making sure the feet/ankles feel loose and fluid.

Monday Feb 13, AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 42:52 Not feeling 100%, but nowhere near as beat up as Sunday morning, the way the body recovers never ceases to amaze me.
PM, 4.0 Miles, 230′ 31:35 Originally planned to do 6, but I ran after dinner, and little to my surprise, bean burrito’s are not a good choice for running food.

Tuesday Feb 14, AM 7.1 Miles 450′ :51 Woke up feeling unusually slow/lethargic, any sort of movement seemed to require herculean efforts, both physically, and mentally. After the 7 miles (of an attempted 10+) everything seemed to fundamentally shut-down, giving me a pretty good excuse to sit on the couch for the remainder of the day… sometimes, you just need to rest a bit.

Wed Feb 15, AM 10.15 Miles, 550′ 1:15 Snappy 10 miler at 7:30 pace, everything felt nice and fluid again, no extraneous effort to keep moving, damn it feels good to be a runner sometimes.
PM 2.0 Miles 15:53 Short little shakeout, a little faster than usual for these miles, but I wanted to see what it felt like to go quick-ish in a pair of VFF’s as well as confirm some stride-oriented suspicions that I wouldn’t have been able to do at 10 minute pace.

Thurs Feb 16, AM 11.6 Miles, 1500′ 1:49 Snowy/rainy/sleeting for the duration of my double-ascent of Allamuchy. I also had the distinct pleasure of crapping in the woods, something I haven’t had to do in a very long time (excepting backpacking trips, where crapping in the woods is your sole option) good thing I retained all of that knowledge from how to shit in the woods. Trails were getting increasingly shiggy, but the general discomfort of continuous precipitation (in spite of a hardshell) made the idea of a 20+ in this weather a grueling proposition for which I was neither mentally nor physically prepared.
PM 15 Miles, 1080′ 1:58:41 Tripled the Broken Shin Loop, timing my last loop to meet up with the Hashers totaling 26.6 miles on the day, with the last 15 at just under 8:00 pace.

Fri Feb 17, AM 11.6 Miles 1500′ 2:03 Wicked recovery run, everything is soft/sore…. ’nuff said.
PM 6.5 Miles, 740′ 59:28 I realized this afternoon that I was 6.5 miles short of running 100+ miles in seven consecutive days (Saturday the 11th-Friday the 17th) so I couldn’t not do it. Strangely enough, things felt great on the Power Line trail portion, although the final mile or so was a bit of a grind.

Sat Feb 18, AM 17 Miles 1280′ 2:20 Pavement Session with Dave. Trying to maintain low 8 pace for 17 miles after running as much as I had in the past few days (61.7 miles in 3 days) is certainly one of the more challenging things I’ve done lately. It’s amazing how much a partner can take the pace burden off of your shoulders, as well as prevent you from dropping to a walk when things get really tough. The whole run had several ups and downs, as my body is certainly beyond sore, and my glycogen supplies suspect at best.

Totals: 96.15 Miles, 8070′ Vert, 13h40m

All in all, a productive week, lots of mileage (100.15 if you go Sat-Fri, 117.15 in the past 8 days, 61.7 in the final 3) not exactly a lot of vert, but such is running in NJ. On running 100 miles in 7 days… well, that’s 20 miles greater than I’ve ever done in that time span, and while the actual time commitment isn’t that tremendous of a challenge, this sort of residual fatigue really wreaks havoc on the body, making my runs later in the week increasingly mercurial as I struggle to find some leftover glycogen stores/switch to burning what little body fat I’m carrying. Not to mention the sensation that someone has been beating my legs with a meat tenderizer for a week straight. More notable than the discomfort however, is the pure joy the past couple of days (61.7 miles in 3 days) have provided me. I ran in a snowstorm, and on one of the most beautiful afternoons of the year, through the mountains, and with a backdrop of the agrarian lifestyle that seems all but forgotten in society today. So while my legs may feel ravaged, and I’ve found myself still running beyond the bonk, it’s great to feel that alive, and in touch with myself/my surroundings. So after that effort, It’s time for a hoppy brew, a couple Nero’s, and then back onto the horse!

Snow Storm, Allamuchy

Same rock, 24 hours later

A man needs to eat…
Hoppy Brew! (Thanks for the recommendation Jeff!)

Summary Feb 5-11

Sunday Feb 5, AM 5.1 Miles, 42:04 Power Line trails, left calf/ankle has been sore, making technical terrain a little more difficult.

Monday Feb 6, AM 1 Mile, 9:32 Originally left the house to do ~5 miles, but my calf/ankle was really acting up, causing me to turn around at the half mile mark.
PM 2.0 17:02 Short shakeout run in VFF’s to try to diagnose the goings on in my lower left leg. Allowing the heel/achilles to fully relax seems to help a lot.

Tuesday Feb 7, AM 11.6 Miles, 1:42:43, 1500′ Allamuchy loop, powerhiking most inclines to take the stress off of my left calf. Powerhiking seems to be getting faster, as I’m losing very little time compared to when I run the whole course (~2-3 mins over 12 miles).
PM 2.0, 16:36 Continuing the shakeout, strangely, a slow-ish couple of miles at the end of day seems to really relax my left leg.

Wed Feb 8, AM 5.1 Miles, 38:42 Power Line trails trying to push the speed, new course record, and  positive I can run it much faster if I go all out.
PM 1.0 8:17 Neighborhood loop, cold roads are forcing me to give my Five Fingers a workout instead of going naked foot.

Thurs Feb 9, PM 1 5 Miles, 40:23 Broken Shin Loop with the guys, typical Thurs.
PM 2, 1.2 Miles, 11:00 John Needed to keep his streak alive, and traffic made him show up to the run just as we were finishing the five mile loop, so, Not to let anyone run alone at a social run, another mile tacked on for the streak.

Fri Feb 10, AM 11.6 1:45 1500′ Allamuchy loop. Mentally I had planned to use Fri/Sat as back to back 20+ mile runs, but halfway through the first loop, it was becoming obvious that doing a 20 today would be a total slog-fest. In spite of the week being relatively light, I’d been less than diligent with my hydration/nutrition, which seemed to catch up to me here.
PM 1.0, 8:23 Shakeout

Sat Feb 11, AM 21 3:18:18, 2900′ 21 Mile through Allamuchy with 1 crew stop at my car to replace a handheld, change my shirt, and grab a Gu. I often find that long runs done solo involve a tremendous amount of mental strength, especially when fatigue sets in. The run itself was very mercurial, ranging from about as tired as I’ve felt on a run, to several minutes later feeling great about moving through the woods, the body/mind are strange things (and how we operate metabolically is even stranger). In spite of feeling like I had been going rather slowly for the duration, I finished only ~1 minute behind my previous time.

Totals: 67.6 Miles, 9h58m vert 5900′

Strange week, with the nagging leg soreness, and fundamentally bailing out on two runs, but within the range of mileage I had hoped for, as well as surprisingly consistent times considering how slow I was feeling at times.

Split shorts in February…


21 miles in Snow…

Awe, Mama, Ain’t it good to be alive!?

Yesterday morning I woke up obviously on the wrong side of the bed. I went out the door for my usual ~5 miler, still feeling low from this cold I’ve been battling, and within the first hundred yards I knew something wasn’t right with my left ankle/calf. So I bailed out at the half mile mark, making it a round trip mile, and overall a shitty start to the day. So I spent the day knotting my fists, cursing the misstep on Saturday that resulted in the twist exacerbating this long standing Achilles-oriented weakness. The ensuing funk lasted for the duration of the day, making me realize just how cathartic these runs are, and how much they keep me level-headed throughout the day.

Fast forward 24 hours. My ankle is still sore, but not un-runnable (in fact, the soreness is much higher in my leg than it was last time this happened, and no where near as tender). So, I went out this morning for my usual Allamuchy loop, deciding to power-hike more of the inclines to save the abuse on my left ankle, but still take advantage of the 50+ degrees outside. After a week of not really being “on” the mountain, the sheer act of summitting this small peak, and looking over the area from that vantage point is still exhilirating. I’ve hit this peak 7 times since the turn of the year, it refuses to get old (I actually thought the number was higher than this…). So, even with some mild discomfort, it feels good to be alive, forget the trivialities of every-day life, and simply run.

Summary Jan 29 – Feb 4

Sunday Jan 29 AM 5.1 Miles, 44:14 Power Line Loop in minimalist shoes to recover from the previous days long run.
PM 1.0, 8:20 Shakeout evening mile to keep things loose, also run the “Butters” hash during the afternoon, but not recording it as proper mileage.

Monday Jan 30 AM 6.0 Miles, 44:19 Running local roads slightly up-tempo from my typical off-road pace, feeling a head cold coming on.
 PM 1.0, 9:34  I’m beginning to think these light evening miles are kind of important…

Tuesday Jan 31 AM 10.15 Miles, 1:15:05 Normal pavement 10 miler, definitely getting sick, and losing the motivation to drive to a trailhead.
PM 1.0 9:40 Finally it’s warm enough to run barefoot, although I’ve lost some of the toughness on the soles of my foot since the summer, it still feels great to lose the shoe, and get out in skin.

Wed Feb 1 AM 1.0 Miles 8:44, Wasn’t sure if I would have the energy/motivation to run again in the evening after a ~14 hour day in class/rehearsal/teaching
PM 3.21, 19:05 Mustered up the gumption to put a few miles on, and decided to go quickly, it’s nice to see that I still have some pep in my legs, and even better to think that I can run a ~5k at this pace and not feel like I’m particularly exerting myself.

Thurs Feb 2 PM  6.5 Miles, 55:28 New Shoes!!! I finally retired my MT101’s and replaced them with the “upgrade” MT 110, so far, this shoe is fantastic, the input from Krupicka and the Skaggs brothers has created a killer mountain shoe (more to come on this later, when I have a few more miles in them)
PM 2, 5 Miles, 41:19 Broken Shin Loop

Fri Feb 3 AM 5.1 Miles, 41:26 Power Line loop, testing the new kicks, and feeling like hell as a result of a gnarly head cold.

Sat Feb 4 AM 5.1 Miles, 43:22 Same loop, this cold is really bumming me out.

Total Miles:50.16   6h40m

Pretty light week(did I really just say that about a week that had 50+ miles and 12 separate runs?), although I think my body could use some recovery time, and the (still lingering) head cold definitely took some wind out of my sails. Didn’t track vert this week, as I’m still working on acquiring a reasonable means to do so. Otherwise, things feel pretty good, save for some lingering soreness around my left ankle, which apparently has still not regained 100% of its strength since rolling it last July. I’m also experimenting with some different nutrition variables, adding Udo’s Oil again, as well as some supplemental protein and vitamins to try to maintain higher mileage in the upcoming weeks without totally feeling like crap.

Lastly, here’s a video of a great band that a few of my friends are part of: