Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trail Runner

I've been needing a personal physical goal for awhile. After completing the Appalachian Trail in 2012, it took me a year to not have incredibly vivid flashbacks pretty much all the time. So that was really a recovery year.

Lately I've been way less active than I've wanted to be; hiking on the occasional weekend, backpacking a few times a year, a very infrequent bike ride. Goal-less.

When Songbird asked if I wanted to join Crossfit, I said "No", I didn't feel like doing that. When she alluded to it in conversation I didn't respond, when she asked again more adamantly I began to introspect as to why I had no interest. I found that I didn't want to do it just for the 'health' of it. I would, however, want to do it had I a goal. I am very goal oriented.

Well, the last hike I did was nearly 25 miles - 16 miles the first day, the rest the following day. We'd started at 10am and finished by 4. We had 30+ pound packs. And WOW was I sore the few days afterward. Really muscle sore. But the thing is - I LIKE muscle soreness. Maybe not that sore though. I began thinking about that trail in particular. We could've done it in a day. Easy(-ish). Started earlier, carried less. If I could've easily (I say that sarcastically because it would've whipped my butt, more so I know I could've been able to to complete it - I would've had to dig deep though) done that trail in a day, could I go further? Could I go much further? Could I do the Four State Challenge VA to PA (43+ miles)? Could I do 50? Could I go all the way around the Massanutten Trail (71 miles)? Could I do the entirety of the AT in Shenandoah (105.3)? I might be able to - with training.

Karl Meltzer is 48, and a bad-ass. Anish is just an ultra-bad-ass.Jennifer Pharr-Davis. Scott Jurek. All recently have beaten the AT speed record. Now I'm not saying I'm going to try to attain that, or even any Long Distance hiking trail. I don't have the desire to do that for 48 days. But if they can do it for 48 days consecutively - I might be able to do it for a SINGLE day, right?!

A did a few marathon+ plus days while hiking the AT. My training ground was... every day before that. I can't train that way any longer, I've obligations, an awesome understanding wife that I like to see, a wonderful house that I like sleeping in, and great friends I get to see on the weekends and during the week. Doing Crossfit as part of the equation makes sense. I've got my goal now. I want to see how far I can go on foot, more importantly, on a trail.

To that end, I began today. I went for a 5.5 mile run according to the mapped mileage (5.9 mile run according to GPS, which is what I'll be posting). It felt GOOD. After I warmed up. I walked up the hills, and ran on the flats and downhill sections. I trip less and have a more surer gait when I'm going fast. I focus on the trail in front of me, get into a zone, and feel like I'm floating over the terrain - rocks roots and all.I've done bits like this before, but never in a premeditated way with a goal.

I'm going to begin posting here weekly with stats for the week, including when I start Crossfit with Songbird, and what other activities I'm doing. I'll be using this as a log for myself, as well as a convenient (and public!) place to track progress. Also, to tell others a goal is a way to keep focused and to keep training! I'll also use this as a place to rate the trails I'm training on, when I'm able to actually train on trails.

I ran from Route 7 to Raven Rocks. I actually really like this for this type of training. At close to 6 miles out and back it can be done fairly quickly. It also helps this is the closest nice trail to the house. It has a lot of roots and rocks, with some nice gentle grades, as well as some steeper sections. And the view at the mid-way point is great, with some nice rocks to lay down on and stretch out on, if need be (I needed it!). It took me about 3 miles to warm up, but on the way back from the view after the short rest, I felt awesome, really loose and limber. A wonderful fall day, with squirrels everywhere, deer, and a few backpackers that offered to be my support staff when I go to break the record (whoa there fellas, don't put that on me!!)