Thursday, June 19, 2014

Outrunning Self-Pity and Blubber

It feels like my summer is gone.  Next weekend is the Preservation Pedal, then we're almost into July, then I'm gone to a West Coast conference for a week, then it'll basically be August and the kids will be headed back to school.

This all hit me when I suggested we plan to take a long weekend soon and go on a trip with the kids.  I started trying to figure out when would be a good time.  It seems there are few good times left.  I know this sounds like dirty self-talk.  It's really not.  The summer is stretched out ahead of us like a well-built multiuse path.

I spent Friday evening and Saturday feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t get into the sort of impromptu adventure I was craving.  I wanted to ride.  I wanted to hike.  I wanted to trail run.  I wanted to climb.  And none of it was going to happen.
Saturday we had a final little league game which jacked up the morning, but it was good.  Lily has been doing so well in softball and it was worth it to see her get her trophy (everyone gets one) and share that with her.
The kids went off with my dad to see a Lexington Legends game leaving Mandy and I free to do whatever we wanted for the afternoon.  It took some indecisive agonizing on my part, but eventually we decided to go hiking.  I chose a six mile loop beginning at the Angel Windows trailhead following the Swift Camp Creek Trail from its western terminus down into the drainage and then south toward Rock Bridge until it intersects Wildcat Trail, and then following Wildcat back to the paved road and the road back to the car.
Swift Camp Creek Trail
I chose this hike because I recently remembered that I had identified a 2014 goal of trail running Rough Trail and Swift Camp Creek Trail.  In the purest sense that is a 16 mile connection.  I could amend that to avoid some early climbing (three significant climbs) by skipping a chunk of Rough Trail and just doing the easy parts plus Swift Camp Creek for a slightly long half marathon distance.
The hike would be a good scouting trip for the Swift Camp Creek section.  Plus, it’s just a fantastic hike.
The initial ridge section of SCC Trail is really good.  The descent down to the creek is good.  The section from where the trail meets the creek to the junction with Wildcat seems to me it would be a brutal run.  It was a tough hike, and that’s coming from a lifelong hiker.  I clearly remembered the climb out of Swift Camp Creek along Wildcat (that’s a lie, I didn’t) and it would be a bear as well, but not quite as technical and rugged as the contouring section leading up to it.
Now, to clarify, my running scheme doesn’t involve Wildcat Trail at all, but for a good six mile training run I had decided the hike we did would be adequate.  After doing the hike I’ve decided it would only be good for the occasional technical training as it could seriously mess you up if you were to misstep down in the steep gorge.   
Looking across the Swift Camp Creek gorge from SCC Trail
I’ve recently had a positive change in the condition of my knees and feet and I don’t want to jeopardize my health by getting into something beyond my capabilities.  Also, I am allergic to pain.
Last week I managed to ride or run every day and my body responded well.  Our hike on Saturday was pretty quick, and the only pain I felt was on the climb out along Wildcat Trail.  My knees hummed a repetitive ditty that faded once we were back on relatively level ground.  Sunday I hauled Bean out of Brandenburg Cave on my back.  I’m a good dad that way.  And felt a little knee pain Sunday evening and Monday, however, the pain wasn't a stiffening pain that eroded my mobility. 
I opted to leave the mountaineering bicycle at home on Monday in lieu of a lunchtime frolic at Vet Perk.  I wanted and needed the rest.  And I felt fairly sated after a busy weekend.  In fact, by Sunday afternoon I was inebriated on the euphoric feelings that built up while spending quality time with my family.  Father’s Day was absolutely great for me.  My kids are great!  My wife is great!  Life is great!
I’m still behind at work.  I’m still fat and slow.  There are still a plethora of adventure schemes competing for attention in my brainpan.  And that’s okay.  Sometimes the chaos fades into the background and you are able to live in the moment and enjoy the space you find yourself in.
This would be a fantastic MTB trail except it is within Clifty Wilderness
I will do the Rough – Swift Camp Creek Trail run sometime this year.  As we face July I am inclined to push it off until fall when the temperatures are cooler.  I’ll do the Rugged Red Half Marathon trail run this fall.  I’d like to do at least the 25k version of the Cloudsplitter 100 this fall too.
And what lurks out there beyond the horizon is my even more ambitious scheme to establish a thru-hiking/trailrunning record on the Sheltowee Trace in the near future.  I don’t think this year; but soon.  I won’t have to be fast; just long suffering. 
This is where I find myself as my mountain bike racing dreams begin to fade. 
I had a great Father’s Day morning run at the city park.  I ran my fastest mile in a long time (8:12) and managed a respectable 9:00 pace for a 5k distance.  Thirty pounds.  I’ve got to get serious and drop those thirty flabby pounds.  I feel the speed in my bones.  I feel the strength to run across the state in every beat of my heart.  However, this blubberous boat anchor I carry around my middle has got to go.  It’s time to get serious.

Along Wildcat Trail
I was going to entitle this post Outrunning the Blerch but decided against it, but if you're not familiar with the concept of the Blerch as described by The Oatmeal then you should probably check out that link.
Also!  We drove out Sky Bridge Ridge on Saturday to get to the trailhead and Mandy and I were both salivating over the fresh new asphalt.  That part of the Gorge Loop was in dire need of repaving and now that it has been repaved we're more than itching to get out and do the ride.  Soon!

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