Next Race: 10th Annual 10K on the Noland Trail (Newport News, VA)

Countdown to Kansas

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day Two

Friday, Sept 3rd 2010

Well, day two of trail running wasn’t as easy going as day one, but what can you do – just keep pushing and do not give up. Unlike my first run on the trail (4.9 mi on Monday), I did not have the Garmin this time. Not as if I was checking my pace or anything during run number one, but things seem to change when you go at it with a “regular” watch –thanks Meg. On my first “road towards fulfillment run” the stats were pretty good thanks to some super motivation from the wife and Dean Karnazes. Distance – 4.9 mi; Average Pace – 9:23; Time – 45:59. Not great by any means, but acceptable.

For run number two, I was equally, if not more, amped. The night before, the wife and I went to Blue Mountain Sports in Hampton, which I discovered earlier in the day, to get the gear for my physical and mental journey over the next few years. Certainly, a much more convenient solution than going to REI in Richmond. I felt like I hit the jackpot. Trail running shoes, North Face running gear, running socks – they had it all. The damage from being a “kid in a candy store” is below:

• Trail running shoes (Montrail, Mountain Masochist GTX) ($114.95)
Came well recommended from the rugged, semi-bruised looking sales associate. This man clearly knew what he was talking about. The description here supports his point of view - Designed for the off-road runner who wants exceptional fit, performance and breathability, the Mountain Masochist is lightweight and responsive with killer traction. Winner of the 2009 Outside Gear of the Year award.

• Superfeet Green Hiking Footbeds – insoles to help with the flat footedness ($34.95)

• Smartwool, PhD Running Ultralight Mini – trail running socks ($14.95)

• Camelback, Classic 70oz – one that has a chest strap unlike the 50oz Camelback I have ($49.99)

Now that I found something I truly love and that makes me feel alive, I understanding Meg’s desire to add to the running repertoire. I always tell her, if it contributes to your health and/or allows you to be closer to your family, I will not say no. Trail running for me is extremely challenging for me. A chance to clear the mind, sweat, and challenge myself. The options when it comes to trail running are endless; hence, I love it.

Back to run number two. Almost immediately after beginning my run at Noland Trail around 6:20 am, a moderate level of discomfort set in. Not hip or other joint pain, just my body reacting to being pushed. The previous days runs, including some three and four milers as well the 4.9 miler at the trail, left me sore. This does not take into account the weight training either. So far, I have been able to get a solid lower body and upper body weight session in – just as important as the running itself. Unlike the past, I am looking forward to the lower body and cross training components of this workout plan. If you are going to work at something, you need to embrace both the good and bad. Character is best developed when you are unmotivated, tired, hungry, etc. – completing a run when you feel this way is an indescribably good feeling. At some point in every run, I hit this wall.

In the end, I finished the run (running all the way). Should have remember the iPod and Gu, but so well. After stopping the watch timer after the run, I quickly realized why I was so tired. Unlike the run on Monday – pace of 9:23/mile – this run was at 8:25/mile. This explains a lot. I am not fixated on the Garmin when I use it, but being able to check your pace is important – just ask my wife. Once I up the mileage, pace will be critical to avoid early exhaustion.

Alright, now that the scene is set, time to get to the tough part, goal setting. I am a BIG believer in using goals as a means of motivation. For instance, the wife and I have a goal of moving back to the NW come end of Jan/beginning of Feb. Having this to look forward to makes the feelings of frustration and discontent that come from being in my current job dissipate, a bit. I wish for everyone else’s’ sake that I could just be content with making great money as an analyst, but I can’t. When dart throwing and whatnot are a daily part of your job, it is deflating. It has never been/never will be about money (to the point the family is in good shape). This does not make you feel fulfilled. If I give up being an analyst I know one thing, the mother will be disappointed – just as if her son didn’t get his B.S. – which is apparently a prerequisite to supporting a marriage. I am not one who enjoys sitting around and doing nothing; trail running definitely solves this.

Without further ado, here is my plan of attack:

Status Date Race Distance

Registered - Sunday, September 5th 2010 Virginia Beach Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon 13.1 mi

Registered - Sunday, September 19th 2010 ING Philadelphia Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon 13.1

Registered - Sunday, October 17th 2010 North Face Endurance Challenge (Atlanta, GA) 10K trail run

On the radar - Saturday, November 13th 2010 Fall BYB Trail Running Series – Race #3 (Wakefield Park Annandale, VA) 5.5 mi or 10 mi

On the radar - Sunday, November 14th 2010 Potomac Overlook Trail Runs 4K and 8K

Registered - Sunday, November 14th 2010 OBX Half Marathon 13.1 mi

Registered - Sunday, December 5th 2010 Fall Backyard Burn Trail Running Series – Race #4 (Clifton, VA) 10 mi

Registered - Sunday, May 1st 2011 Eugene Marathon 26.2 mi

On the radar - application process begin March 16th 2011 Sunday, June 12th 2011 Dipsea Race(Marin County, CA) 7.5 mi

Goal Race - Saturday, December 4th 2011 (projected date) North Face Endurance Challenge (San Francisco, CA) 50K or Gore Tex 50 mile

My first trail running race is the North Face Endurance Challenge in Atlanta, GA on Sunday, October 17th. I could not be more excited for this race. This year, I elected to do the 10K option – a smart move, I think. While I am thoroughly disappointed my wife cannot go – she has her own race priorities (Race for the Cure in VA) which I fully support.  I am thrilled to get a chance to meet Dean Karnazes. Should be a great experience.

At the end of next year is my goal race. Between now and then will be numerous other races…added to the list above as the weeks and months progress. This is my first goal, not my ultimate goal; that is a work in progress. Here it is – I WILL complete the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K or Gore Tex 50 mile race in San Francisco on December 4th 2011. No matter how much preparation I put in the mental and physical challenge will be tremendous. It will require nights will little sleep and eating on the run (literally) to accomplish this, but I need to know what I am capable of doing. Being behind a desk in a job where you do not have the opportunity to excel shows you nothing about yourself. Throughout all of this I will remember one thing – “Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.”

I will admit. I am worried about Megan and I both being able to accomplish our goals. I will/need to run road races, she hates trail running. I am supportive of her and she appears to be supportive of me, so we will make it work. For me, road races such as half marathons and marathons are a necessary part of becoming a good trail runner. Cannot run a 50K before I run 26.2 mi. Best of all, I enjoy running with Meg and working at it together,

Below are some other adventures of interest…

On the radar - November 26th – 28th or December 10th – 12th 2010 Mount Washington Winter Climb (Manchester, NH) – REI Adventure Trip ($450)

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