Friday, March 28, 2014

My Place

In my desperate longing for the trails I ventured out onto the Pinnacles today, but my attempts were wrought with reminders of a strained muscle not allowing me to run as I once did. When I reached my favorite trail on the Pinnacles a flood of emotions rushed over me. Many times before I have ran down this hidden trail that threaded its way precariously down the side of the mountain, and yet today I was barely able to maintain a lite jog where I once flew. I just wanted to cry. Later in the afternoon/early evening as I was teaching class the window displayed a view of the Pinnacles, the very mountain range I had ran so many times before. At the moment I gazed out the window a turkey vulture glided by, and then another one, and then another. As I admired the view watching the majestic flight patterns of the vultures I felt my connection and place in the world, which is not specifically defined by running. Running is the activity I enjoy, but connecting with my roots is where I belong. I realized at that moment that my life journey is not defined by my choice of activity as much as it is by my experiences. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Left in Waiting

The strenuous trail conditions added on top of 26.2 miles caused a severe muscle strain in my upper right thigh leaving me in a longer recovery stage than I anticipated. For the last two plus weeks I have been engaging in the typical functions of athletic recovery (i.e. stretching, foam rolling, icing, heating, lite cross-fit, and soft jogging). During this phase I have been passing my time away with various forms of modern media (i.e. iPhone apps/games, Twitter, Pandora radio, junk emails, and television), which I am getting pretty sick of. My time prior to this phase was spent alone out on the trails without any source media plugged into my ears; I run media naked, meaning, I never listen to music while I run. I am longing for those lengthy periods of time spent out on the trails away from all the media junk, but I do not want to over extend myself during this phase due to running the risk of further injury. Needless to say I have been growing a bit frustrated and a tad dishearten. Thoughts of alternative adventures have been swirling around in my head, everything from backpacking to canoeing; I have even considered mountain bike riding. My spirit is restless and my heart is longing for an active adventure, but my body is restricting me at the moment to advance into my next running adventure. Patience in this area of my life is difficult to manage, but patient I must be. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Two Down

I did it! I completed my first ever trail marathon, my second marathon to date, and what an adventure it was! Even though snow still ladened the ground the weather was perfect and the atmosphere casual. There were no antsy runners readying their watches looking to PR (personal record), but there were plenty of adventurers readying themselves for what was to come. Initially the trails were snow packed and a bit crowded, but the traditional thinning of the crowd occurred some eight miles in, which was hard to determine because there were no mile markers to indicate how far I had gone. The lack of mile markers concerned me at first, but this only led me into a zen like state on the trails where I simply fell into my running mode without regard to how many miles I was running. It wasn't until the seventh aid station when I gasped after being informed I was at the 22 mile mark; I was feeling pretty good at that point and couldn't believe I had ran that far because it didn't seem like I had. There was a wonderful mixture of great company and beauty on the trails that made the day seem almost surreal. The trail looped around a golden meadow before meandering along the lake's edge. Then the trails ventured into the forest along babbling creeks before catapulting through a series of mountainous climbs while bottoming out into the valleys. On the final decent from the mountainside the view became rather stunning as I found myself perched high above the vast lake below. As the morning wore on the temperature rose causing a significant thawing of the trails, which gradually became grueling. I sloshed through puddles of water and miles of mud, an experience only a kid at heart could love, and I was enjoying every minute of it. The last two miles of my adventure were trying and I admit I had to dig deep and run on auto, but crossing the finish line gave me a great sense of accomplishment. Overall I felt good, strong, and confident believing I could have gone further. Running a marathon at the age of 48 is about experiencing a life adventure and this one did not disappoint. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Final Days

I am in the final days of reaching the apex of my trail marathon journey and there is, as there always is, a lot going on in my head. Several times throughout this week I will mull over the progress of my journey and relish in the memories of my adventure. Several times throughout this week I will mull over two quotes to help heighten my motivation:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us." Marianne Williamson 

“I’m gonna show you how great I am! Only last week I murdered a rock. Injured a stone. Hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick. I’m gonna show you how great I am! I have wrastled with an alligator, I had tussled with a whale. I have handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail. I’m gonna show you how great I am!" Muhammad Ali

Yes, I am a badass MOFO able to do what most wouldn't even dare dream of doing! One day I won't be able to do this, but TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY!