Life has been busy lately...to the point that it's hard to even find the time to do my physical therapy. I think I need to get focused on my fitness if I ever want to get back to peak performance. It's great to see so many people enjoying endurance and adventure sports. I enjoy cheering for you all, and want to be back out there with all of you!
My PT, Eric, says I'm really close. He has me doing single leg exercises to simulate running. When I tell him about my hiking and psuedo running, he doesn't know what to say. He knows if he tells me not to do it, I will ignore him. We have a good relationship. I asked him to watch me do my thing, and he said it is definitely running. I call it "slide stepping" or hobbling, but he said I am definitely running. Then, he told me to stop it. I call it "hiking" since it is on the trails...
Goat and I haven't done anything together in about a month, so I asked him if he wanted to join me for my "Pinnacle to Route 6 and back" trek on the Metacomet trail. We did this route over a month ago, so Goat was really surprised to see my progress. I did my little shuffle whenever the terrain permitted (flats and gentle slopes). My goal was to break 2 hours since Char and I had set that mark a couple weeks ago.
We cleared Rattlesnake Mountain in about 20 minutes, skipped across Greenwall and Porcupine Hole, and then started down toward Rt. 6. As I did my hitch down the sloping single track, I saw someone coming towards us with a camelbak. It looked like a trail runner, so I perked up. As fate would have it, it was Jerry Turk, Mr. Bimble, in the flesh. I yelled out his name and he was just as surprised to see us. I asked him what he was doing so far from his corner of the state, and he indicated that he was attempting the entire Metacomet Trail in one day. Matt Estes had told me he did the trail in 11.5 hours, but he reported it as 61 miles. Jerry, on the other hand, said he was attempting a 91 mile jaunt. Wow! He said he was scouting it as a potential ultramarathon and asked if we were interested in helping to promote it. Indeed, Goat and I had talked about making the route into a race several years ago after Matt told us about it, but I had no idea it was 91 miles long. Wow! Jerry, ever the gentleman, was pleased to see me back on the trail. We both finished Top 10 at Vermont in 2006 I believe, and I still have a picture of us together at the award ceremony with the other Top 10 runners. I hope we can get back there someday. After a couple minutes with Jerry, we were back on our way. We tagged Route 6 in about 40 minutes and made the turn for home. We made good progress, but my leg was getting sore. Goat was in disbelief when he watched me run and said it made his day. I was happy to be out there working up a sweat, but my leg was getting sore.
After cresting Rattlesnake Mtn on the return, I asked Goat to predict the finishing time. I knew we were on track to finish in under 1.5 hours. Goat called 1:25, and I went with 1:20. Despite the pain, I pushed hard to cover the 4.5 miles as quickly as possible. Goat took off on the final downhill, and I did all I could to keep him in sight. We got back to the trailhead and I hit my watch: 1:20:29. Damn, it felt like a new world record! It was something! Back in the day, I wouldn't even consider it a warm up...and Goat was scheduled to go for another hour run later in the day...but it was a great progress check for me. If I can get that time down to 1:15 or less, it would be very cool. Maybe next week :-)
While progress has been great, it's still hard adjusting to having a leg length discrepancy, etc. I wobble when I walk, and still have a hitch in my stride. It's frustrating at times. Nevertheless, I cling to the fact that Bill Rogers won Boston 4 times and many other marathons with a leg length discrepancy of more than 1/2". If Bill can manage to run a 2:10 marathon with a bigger discrepancy than me, I think I can get back in the groove. If I stay focused, I think I can still pull off Reach the Beach in September. We'll see...
Char and I were out late last night having a wonderful dinner with her brother, Jesper, and his wonderful wife, Michelle, so today was a rest day. Char and I took the kids to Winding Trails for a picnic/BBQ. It was a great day to be outside, and Maliyah, my granddaughter, had a blast playing on the beach. I was thinking that today would have been a perfect Gunks day. There was a time when climbing was everything. I'd watch the weather and plan my weekend based on climbing potential. Today, I was exactly where I wanted to be, and loved every minute of it. I threw a few lobster tails on the grill, and played in the sand with my granddaughter. Life is good!
Have a great week everybody! Hope to see you on the trails and at the crag soon!