Monday, March 28, 2011

March nearing an end

We are well on our way to finish out March in style by bringing a new baby home most likely before this week ends.  I'll be sure to update with pictures as soon as it is realistic for me to do so.

Running has been great recently and has really been key in dealing with some stresses at work and getting ready for a new baby.  My two year old son still doesn't value sleep as much as I'd like to see, but what are you gonna do :). 

I had a couple of interesting experiences running, first was on Wednesday.  I was completely wiped from work for various reasons and really didn't feel like doing anything but collapsing into a comma.  However, because, I've been in the habit of running nearly every day for the past three months, there is something natural feeling about getting geared up for a run.  I put on my running clothes like a zombie and stumbled my way out of the house with some water an a couple gel packs and started moving.  I felt like I was sleep-running the first couple of miles, but then the unfailing effect of increased blood flow and movement seemed to snap me out of it and by around mile 3 I was feeling revived from the dead.  I ended up putting in 10 miles instead of the planned 8 and felt twice as good when I got home from the run than I had only 1:30 earlier.  It is counter-intuitive that burning 1500 calories would actually revive you, but I think there is some insight into how our bodies are designed to function:  being outside and moving, not confined to many of the modern ways we end up spending our day (like right now typing at a computer :) ).

The second experience happened when I went out for a 2nd run on Saturday after I had just put in a 14.5 mile trail run that was supposed to be 17.5 miles where we got off track multiple times and had to bag the original route because of some time constraints.  It was snowing and 33 degrees with the ground absolutely drenched.  The day had ended, Zach was in bed and Alyssa taking a relaxing bath and for some reason I felt like I should get out for a run to finish the miles that I set out to do the beginning of the week.  This felt like a completely irrational desire given the conditions outside and the circumstances.  I even waffled on it a few times but ultimately put on my cold weather gear and headlamp and headed out.  The snow was falling in such large flakes initially that I could even see the ground with the head lamp on, so I ran most of the run with it off until the snow fell a little lighter.  Running in the dark in a Spring snowstorm at 8:30 at night made me wonder why I do it.  Why run?  And especially why subject myself to a run such as this?  The 4.66 mi that I ran we really insignificant in the big picture of things and I had nothing to prove to anyone in the process.  I have thoughts like this run through my mind during the run, but before I really had a good answer for them, I realized what it was.  I stopped thinking and just felt the movement.  My legs moving, the sound of soft footfalls on wet ground (tap, tap, tap, splash, tap), breathing in cold wet air.  There was something automatic and freeing just about the movement and the process.  I wasn't running fast or a particularly interesting route, but realized it didn't matter.  The run was worth it in and of itself.  Future races and hopes of success in those races weren't important and didn't provide any motivation for this run.  I feel like this run was most likely the first time I really "felt" like a runner.  Sure, I've self identified as one for a while now, but for this run I had no real reason to get out and do it other than for the pure enjoyment.  I had many good reasons NOT to run that night and no real benefits to run (4.6 miles flat miles were going to make me any stronger or more fit...probably going to bed early instead would have :) ).  Here is what I wrote in my running log that night: 

"2nd run. 33 degrees and snowing...wet ground. Not sure why I really wanted to run tonight, but it was one of those things that defy logic...I had every reason not to run tonight. Tired from a full day taking Zach to the pool then running 14.5 mi early afternoon and hanging with Zach afterwards while Alyssa was out. Looked outside around 7:30 and it had started dumping rain that turned into snow. Tossed around not going, but ultimately decided to go. Out in the wet snow, I realized what kind of a hold this human form of movement has on me. It was everything I'm not too fond of in a run: at night, in town, on roads, cold and wet, but I loved it none the less."
All said a good week of running.  It was my highest mileage so far this year and I felt great most nearly the whole we other than the little heel issue I'm still dealing with. This week I'm taking a few days off and hoping for a baby soon.  Here are the numbers and some pictures from the week:

6 runs
52.14 mi
8:07:55 h:m:s
5,471 ft elevation gain

Running with a storm on the way in the background on Saturday.

Turned out is was snow and it started to get close.  A curtain of snow slowly moved toward us.  Very surreal weather...typical Baker City spring!

The aftereffects of the moving wall of snow.

Great new climb I found on Sunday.  Too bad the rest of the route didn't work out as planned.

Have a good one everybody!


nikeathena said...

Where are the trails you're running? We need to do some altitude training for Cascade Lakes Relay.

David Henry said...

The first 3 pictures are from some trails around the Interpretive Center and the last one is in the east foothills off of Prowell Rd and Sunnyslope. These are decent little trails (although not that long), but they are not my preferred routes. However, everything is so muddy and snowed in here still that all the high stuff is not very runnable.

nikeathena said...

We'll probably be running those for the Run to the Ruts in June. I'm really impressed you run outside in the winter.

David Henry said...

Yeah, looking forward to the Run to the Ruts. Unfortunately for me it is the week after my first race, so I won't be feeling very fast for a 5k at that point, but I plan on coming out to watch or run, albeit slowly.

As far as running outside goes, I really can't handle the winter any other way. Once you get out and as long as you have a few decent pieces of winter gear, I think there are some very enjoyable things about winter running that you just don't experience otherwise. I personally can't handle the treadmill and haven't done an actual run on one for years.