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.

End of the year

This morning, I finished my running year with a double summit of Schooley’s Mountain with Dave. Typically my love for sleeping in, prevents me from hitting the trails too early, but whenever I get the opportunity to trail run with someone else, I can’t turn it down, regardless of the start time (7am). In spite of the alarm clock, there are some definite advantages to the early trail run, we had the distinct pleasure of watching the sun rise as we ran to the mountain, which, for those of you who have never experienced a mountainside sunrise, is probably one of the most invigorating experiences available in nature.
Now, as the year comes to an end, many people will be celebrating, and making resolutions for the following 365.2425 days. While part of me still thinks that the change of the year is really an arbitrary deadline, it is a convenient start-date for change, starting over, and gives us all a simple means of quantifying our lives. That being said, I am, in fact celebrating the new year (I’ve never been big on party pooping…) and I do have a litany of lessons I’ve learned over the course of the past year, as well as things I’d like to improve on in the following. With that in mind, I’ve decided to not publish the full extent of my goals/plans/list of random improvements, but I will say this, Next year will include the following:
Ultramarathon(s)
Auditions
Recitals
Increased dedication to bipedal mountain travel
Additional cross-training/core work in an attempt to prolong good form, and make those super-long runs hurt that much less

Now, for some Pictures… according to Dave’s Garmin, we gained and lost just under 1300 feet, all of which during the middle 5.5 miles of a total 11.16 not a bad end to the year…

Rails to trails before the mountain

Base of Mountain… Sunrise

Fog over Long Valley

Rocks can make good tripods..

This was the SECOND stick stuck in my shoe today..

Weekly Update 11/6-12

Sunday 11/6
7.03 miles 59:20 Ran around the local hills on the road, nice to get out and see the area on foot.
Monday
AM 4.85 miles 46:23 Often when I don’t have a lot of time to run on a particular day, and want to get on trail, I’ll run the paths for the power lines local to my house. They’re surprisingly technical, covered in medium sized rocks that challenge my running technique, and the paths right by my house essentially go straight up, and down hill. I did however, take a rather hard fall tripping over an embarrassingly small obstacle, which resulted in my knee being sore for a few days, and my foot still being sore today.
PM 1 mile 10:54 slow, almost barefoot(vibram) mile to shake out the stiffness from the mornings fall
Tues 0 Knee and Foot very sore
Wed 0 Foot very sore, limping noticeably (still!)
Thurs 4.85 46:45 Ran the same power line trail as Monday, foot still feels awkward landing on technical downhills
Fri 6.2 miles 1:40
Ran to High Point with Brian mostly through Appalachian Trail, we decided beforehand to take it rather easy, and split the difference between running and hiking, particularly with regard to my sore foot, I’m not sure how much we ran, and how much we hiked (i figure 1/3 hiking 2/3 running). As a runner, we spend a lot of time training in solitude, and it’s nice to have the chance to be social again, especially since my rehearsal schedule has prevented me from our usual Thursday runs with the Highlands Hashers.
Sat 0
Came down with head cold, probably for the better to keep me off the trail, as my foot is still substantially sore, and negotiating rocks/roots isn’t the best game plan to recover.
Totals:  23.93 miles, 4:25 Looking forward to my foot healing some, and getting myself back into the 60’s 70’s/wk

Here are some photos from High Point, Brian and I both decided to wear hydration packs, a deviation from my usual “bring nothing” M.O. With the mercurial weather predicted for the day, it seemed prudent to bring a couple of extra layers, especially knowing that our pace would vary, and that it wasn’t terrain that either of us were intimately familiar with. So, while I prefer nothing more than a handheld water bottle (and boy did the sloshing of the bladder annoy me) sometimes, bringing more is the best plan

In Favor of Short-Shorts

Now that summer is over, and it’s becoming more necessary to start wearing clothes, I thought I’d try my best to justify my summer attire, or lack thereof. Enter the split shorts. A lot of people find it strange that I would prefer to wear the shortest shorts available to runners, so allow me to explain it.
1. It’s hot outside, so why would I wear more than I need to, more clothes = more sweat, more sweat = more water to carry = slower runs…. you do the math.
2. Freedom of movement. The way that split shorts are cut allows the most freedom of movement I’ve experienced.
3. Better support. Even though longer shorts always come with a bloomer, or some similar support system, the support in split shorts in my experience, is always better. This may be because of the increased potential for a wardrobe malfunction, but regardless, it’s nice to have.
4. It makes a statement. As a runner, I think I need to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a runner, this includes embracing the style, and the aesthetic. Track athletes, marathoners, and a handful of ultra-runners embrace the short-short, and it’s one of the ways I like to embrace the aesthetic of being a runner.
Plus, these guys seem to dig them:

Scott Jurek

Killian Jornet

Anton Krupicka

Jesse Scott