So, the Goat's been out of commission with a torn calf muscle from the VT100, so I've been flying solo lately. It's been fine, but harder to get myself out the door at times. This morning was no exception. I lay in bed listening to the rain on the roof and felt to drive to get up. I knew I needed a good run, but where to run was the question. I had planned to do a loop at the reservoir, but there's a spot with chest high growth that gets me soaked in these conditions. I did not want to run on a treadmill...anything but the dreaded treadmill. So, I decided to head for the reservoir and avoid the wet, tall growth along the dyke. :-)
So, I start at the usual spot and decide to head off on the original Traprock course. I popped a piece of gum in my mouth as an experiment since I noticed Mark B. deliberately chewing 3 pieces of gum continuously during the Vermont 100. He switched out for fresh pieces at the aid stations and I thought, "Hmm, never really had a reason to chew gum while running...perhaps it is something worth trying". So, today was an experiment. Within a few strides I quickly realized that I cannot run and chew gum at the same time...ha! The gum resided in the side of my cheek for the duration.
Nearly a mile into the run, I started up the powerlines on single track and quickly realized I would get soaked by high growth along the single track. Darn, just what I was trying to avoid...oh well!
At the top of the powerlines I decided to follow the Traprock route rather than head for the top, so I could get in some extra mileage. I needed to cover a short paved section on the 5K loop and was not looking forward to it, but was pleasantly surprised. As I hit the pavement, I quickly caught up to a good runner. He looked like a road runner or triathlete, and I said, "Hi" as I passed him. He asked how far I was going and I mentioned perhaps 10 miles or so. He said he was doing 20 and was planning to run the Montreal marathon in 2 weeks. I laughed and asked him if he did not believe in tapering. He said he was doing it as a training run as he also planned to run Hartford in October and then NY in November. OK, sounds serious, I thought. So, what's your fastest marathon? He had run a 2:50 back in his twenties and now would like to run a 2:55 at nearly 40 years old. Cool. He also said he was an ultrarunner, so I mentioned Traprock 50K. He was a nice gent, but seemed more like a roadrunner, so we parted ways when I could get back on the trail. I wished him luck in Montreal. I would have enjoyed chatting more, but I'll take the trail over 5K paved loops anyday.
The rail was just a sputter at this point, so the running was rather pleasant. The rock was wet and the scenery was beautiful. For some unknown reason, a memory from 4th or 5th grade popped into my head. One of my first real hikes was with a 5th grade teacher named Ms. Mazzafarro. It was in the 70's and women's lib was the rage. She was the first person I knew to insist on being called "Ms." and I thought it rather odd. Nevertheless, she decided to take some of us hiking one day. As it turned out, I think only one other student showed up other than me. We were told that we could bring a cup to drink from a stream along the way. I have to laugh thinking that today you would need to sign a waiver and have a filter kit or iodine drops with you to allow students to drink from a stream. Nevertheless, my Mom gave me a cool 1970's type collapsable drinking cup. It telescoped out to be quite the tumbler. Anyway, seeing Ms. M. in jeans for the first time (she always wore dresses) and drinking from a stream in a cool orange, collapsable cup was the coolest thing in the world as far as I was concerned. It was a great day!
So, I ran on and contemplated life. I made good time and pondered and took in the views. By the time I got back on the double track, it really started raining steadily and I dreaded hitting the tall growth along the dyke. My original plan was to avoid it and cut through the woods. I opted to suck it up because I wanted to get in the extra mileage. My pace was good as I approached the horrible weeds and then I burst out with laughter. The grass was cut down to the ground! The haying had occurred and I was saved. I was still soaked, but at least I didn't have to fight through the mess of the tall stuff. I picked up my pace and smiled at my good fortune. I thought how this was a great analogy for life. Quite often we dread things that never materialize. If we just move forward and enjoy the moment rather than worrying about the future, life can be much more pleasant.
I chugged up the hill to some tunes on the MP3 player talking about persevering..one step in front of the other...and thought how appropriate.
The last mile was uneventful. I enjoyed the incredible beauty of the area and felt lucky to be able to run. I clicked off almost 11 miles in a little under 1:28 and felt good about it. The terrain was fairly moderate, but it was a good time on that course. My fitness seems to be decent and life is good right now. Nothing is ever perfect and I have my share of challenges, but I'm very fortunate and grateful for my life and everyone in it.
Have a great week everyone!