There is a love/hate relationship happening with winter right about now. The majority of the people in the US who has been experiencing the harsh winter conditions this year would all concur that winter just need to get the heck on out of here with its polar vortex subzero temps and it's never ending snow covered icy days; not to mention the high energy bills too! Well, today as I stood at the foot of the trailhead gazing up at the snow covered mountaintop, everything felt strangely different than it had in many similar days before. As the wind whisked the falling snow around my head I felt a type drawing to become a part of the winter scenery that was being produced right before my eyes. As I began running the trails at the base of the mountain I felt like I was being engulfed into a world only found in dreams. The fresh unadulterated snow quietly rested on every crag and branch creating a breathtaking scenery only found in photos, but today, even a photo would do no justice for what I was seeing. When I finally reached the first pinnacle point I noticed that the new pine growth on the baby pines were cradling snow within their upward bound needles creating the affect of giant snowflakes being suspended in mid-flight. As my wintery trek continued along the mountain ridge I felt privileged to be experiencing the wonders and raw beauty of nature. You see, many people on a day like this remain bundled up in their humble abodes and I couldn't help but feeling sorry for them for missing out on such a wonderful experience. When I finally reached the fourth pinnacle point I was stunned to be greeted by 35+ vultures circling just overhead. The gracefulness of their flight was mesmerizing and the moment was almost magical. As I made my decent off the mountain I roused many robins along the way, a sure sign spring is on it's way; this sort of made me a little sad, though I won't miss my high energy bills, I will miss running in a winter wonderland.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I have officially entered into the tapering stage in my preparation for my upcoming trail marathon. In less than two weeks I will be making the final trek of my adventure (26.2 miles), and what an adventure it has been! This is not only the time I greatly reduce my mileage to allow my body to recover and recharge, but a time to contemplate what is ahead. Nerves can easily bundle during this time and questions surrounding properly preparing typically abound, but strangely enough I am not currently experiencing any of this. During this tapering stage I am feeling rather calm and I suspect it is because I have grown comfortable being on the trails. Whenever I venture off into the mountains/forest I am absorbed into a this peacefulness beyond measure. No matter the conditions of the trails, the type of weather occurring, or what day or night it is, the trails are always my place of serenity. As I reflect where I have been on my adventure, and where it will take me, I have realized that I have come full circle from where I started. I began my journey running the trails for the shear enjoyment and after all of my preparation I have discovered that I am still running the trails for the shear enjoyment of it all. Basically it comes down to this. Whatever adventure you are on, love the journey.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
The winter thaw is finally here! The snow and ice is gone, the sun is shinning, and the temperatures are above freezing! Of course 1+1+1= mud, but that is perfectly okay with me. Taking to the trails after enduring the relentless winter we had was glorious and the sloppy, muddy trail conditions didn't even matter. About a 1/2 mile into my run I quickly realized I should have weaved when instead I bobbed. As I was navigating through some muddy slop I zonked my head on a branch that was hanging much lower this time around than it was the last time I was on this stretch of the trail. The aftermath yielded some slight redness on my forehead along with twisting and breaking my wimpy desk jockey glasses. I believe my journey to the trail marathon has officially been mixed with just about everything right about now.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
The winter weather this season has been relentless in providing many challenges to get myself prepared for a trail marathon. Well, to say the least, the past two days have been ridiculously cold forcing me inside once again to embark on a couple of dreadmill adventures. Yeah for me! (add sarcasm here) Anyways, I trudged on into the YMCA with a fistful of motivation determined to maintain my regime. After plugging my earbuds into the side of my skull (for sanity purposes) I confidently fired up the ole dreadmill and started running into the land of nowhere. In an effort to simulate an actual run I continuously manipulated the incline and pace controls to various degrees and levels; up, down, fast, slow, mile after mile I went. People came and went in my temporary world of nowhere as song after song played their motivational melodies into the side of my head. After nearly an hour on the ole dreadmill something suddenly felt funny under my feet. I initially didn't really think much about it and oddly considered the peculiar feel under my feet as a simulated trail condition (as if). It wasn't long before I began to notice a peculiar smell coming from beneath my feet, but in my macho determination I still pressed on. By now excessive sweat was accumulating around my brow so I wasn't too sure if I was really detecting a small plume of smoke below my feet (boy, I was really burning it up!). Well, it was at this point when my mathematical skills kicked in and I quickly determined that 1+1+1= turn this contraption off. Sure enough, when I dismounted the belt was strangely twisted and the motor was resting in peace. The woman on the dreadmill next to me looked in amazement proclaiming in astonishment that I had literally worn the thing out. I stood there a little stunned at first before smiling in agreement with her, that yes, I did wear out the ole dreadmill out! What else could I say? Guess I'll just chalk this up to yet another wonderful experience on my journey to the trail marathon.
Friday, February 7, 2014
The other day someone remarked on how dedicated I was in pursuing my athletic goal of running a marathon and made the comment, "It just goes to show you, if someone wants it bad enough they'll do whatever it takes." After pausing for a moment I felt obligated to correct their incorrect view of me. I politely informed them that even though I am entered to run in a trail marathon next month I actually do not have any athletic goals. I explained that it has more to do about experiencing an adventure than it does with meeting some athletic goal. For example, just the other day I ventured out into the wintry mountains of Kentucky. The trails were laced with snow and ice as I started my ascent and it didn't take long before the whole mountainside was glistening. I was soon greeted by bowing trees ladened with ice and I quickly found myself running through frosted white tunnels of winter. My wintery mountain run suddenly became an amazing adventure only found in magazine pictures. As I crested the mountain I found myself engulfed by frozen fog, or this amazingly thick cloud, that shrouded me in white. Suddenly it felt like I was running in an ice cube and it was eerily beautiful. As I continued running along the mountain's razor edge clinking and crackling sounds began to drown out the wintry silence causing a shower of shimmering diamonds to rain upon me. My heart rate increased and my pace quickened in fear of something greater hammering down on my head. Though my descent was soon rewarded with my point of refuge, I was also saddened for having to end my ice cube experience, but I drove off satisfied knowing my journey will continue on another day.