Monday, March 10, 2008

It's been a while

Well, I haven't posted in awhile, so thought I'd do a little catching up. Frankly, after 3 weeks of 25+ mile long runs, I was burnt and needed time to recover. After doing 27 miles in about 3:30 last weekend, my body was exhausted and I felt overtrained. I took 3 rest days and felt a bit better. Work kept me from running on those days anyway, but the rest was welcome.

On Thursday and Friday last week, I did 2 easy runs in the 90 minute range in 2 of my old locations. Thursday, I ran a 9.5 mile loop from East Hartford (where I used to work) to Manchester on a paved bike path. It brought back memories of lunchtime runs with my old buddies. I stopped for some water at the community college where I teach a class at night, and bumped into one of my students. Great! She gets to see her Prof with snot hanging out of his nose and drool on his face. Anyway, the run was pleasant enough, but I still did not feel 100%.

On Friday, I had to pick up my daughter, Tara, from UCONN, so took advantage of the opportunity to run a section of the Nipmuck Trail. The Nipmuck is one of the most beautiful trails I've ever run and it's home to a few great trail races: Northern Nipmuck, Nipmuck Marathon, and the Breakneck. The section I ran was in the southern section of trail. I wasn't sure about the trail conditions, but I needed to give it a try. The snow was gone and I needed to get off the asphalt. I parked off Gurleyville Road and headed south on the trail. We used to live about 2 miles from here, but I'm not sure I ever ran this particular section (maybe once perhaps). I decided to try to run to an old climbing crag called 50 footer. After about a 1/2 mile, I came across some ice and a stream crossing. The footing was sketchy, but I managed. Once I got along the Fenton River, the run became very interesting. The water had eroded some of the left bank in spots which made footing tricky. I had to climb over tree branches in spots and go around or through many puddles and icy patches. The scenery was breathtaking. The water was a deep brown from the hemlock tree resin. Running under a canopy of hemlocks is one of the joys that everyone should experience in life.

I skirted around an old bridge crossing and back across the road. The trail was hard to follow near the top of a big hill, so I decided to bushwack for a bit. I knew 50 footer was near and wanted to test my navigation skills. Sure enough, 50 footer was right where I left it. The overhanging cliffs look a little less intimidating, but I know the holds are small and sloping. My friend, Pete, and I used to get pumped out here after a couple pitches. I think Dawn might enjoy a trip here.

I picked up the trail and headed for home. When I got back to the car, I was still short on my intended time, so headed north for a bit. I ran a section of trail that we had hiked once as a family. Today, it was slick with ice and I needed to get in survival mode. Things cleared a bit and I started thinking back. The section I covered in about 10 minutes was a one hour affair with 2 little girls. They must have been less than 5 at the time. It was one of our more pleasant hikes. Who wouldn't enjoy the views here? I got back to the car, changed, and picked up one of those 2 little girls from her dorm room about 1 mile away. She still has that bright, beautiful smile, but now she's a woman. We stopped for dinner on the way home and talked about going to the climbing gym or yoga class together. It was nice to have my daughter least for a little while.