Friday, January 31, 2014

January

 
After a mentally trying end to 2013, the idea was to make January all about getting back after it.  The specific goal was just to get healthy and run as consistently as possible.  Feel good about the month overall.  After taking a nasty little spill on the trails that banged up the left shin good enough to force a few days off, the last 2/3 of the month was a model of consistent (albeit modest) running.  Good enough to end the month with 24 runs and just over 131 miles.  If someone had asked how I'd feel about those numbers at the beginning of the month, I would have been thrilled.  So, time to work on a real base over February & hopefully be able hit long runs approaching 20 miles by month's end. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Touch

It's rare that I'd be tempted to post about a massage, but that's what I'm about to do. I had a full 1.5 hour session yesterday with my longtime muscular therapist, Gale.  Never done the "long" session before. Typically, I'll schedule an hour on an as-needed basis.  Say for a sore calf or a tight hip flexor. And, that's pretty much what she'll focus on.  Not the case yesterday. Just left it up to her. While I got a full normal session on the legs & hips, the extra time allowed for work on the back and shoulders. I haven't had anything approaching a back/shoulder "massage" in a decade probably. And, let me tell you, it quickly became obvious that it was long overdue. I lost count of the adhesions throughout my back and neck - issues arising from accumulated stress and poor posture that I had become dulled to over the years. When the time was up, I was little more than a limp noodle, barely able to move off the table. Did it help?  Well, I slept like a rock, woke up without most of my usual aches and pains, and ran my 5.8 mile route nearly 25 seconds / mile faster than the day before. Not a coincidence. 
 
On a more fundamental level, I find these sessions rewarding for the same reasons I find running rewarding - because during that period (be it an hour or longer), pretty much all the outside interference melts away and I am focused (intensely sometimes) on the absolute present. A common question from non-runners upon finding out that I run is "Don't you get bored? What do you think about?" My answer is "No, not really." I suspect like most runners, I think about how I'm feeling. Breathing. Stride. Aches.  Perceived effort. And a lot of times, nothing much else. Sessions with Gale are the same - the focus is purely on what I'm feeling.  A knot in the calf being worked (usually painfully). Quadriceps kneaded like dough (just heaven). That chronic tight right hip flexor stretched out slowly & progressively. As much as I benefit from the physical aspect of these sessions, they also provide a wonderful mental cleansing.  A form of meditation. Alas, not a cheap form of meditation. If I was a rich man....      

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014

Wow.  Had no idea it had been so long since the last post.  2013 was pretty forgettable anyway.  One good block of training during the summer months, but that was about it.  Realized (once again) that I don't do well without some external motivation.  So, for 2014, the focus is Miwok.  Threw my name in the lottery on a lark, with part of me hoping I didn't get in.  Which, of course, is why I got in.  January is about finding consistency and working through some nagging shin issues (so far, so good).  February will be focused on building a base back up to 50-mile weeks by the end of the month.  March will be about strength and sharpening before Hells Hills in early April.  In April, I'll try to string together some runs in the high 20s and low 30s before easing into short taper before May 3.