Sunday, December 27, 2009

Closing out the year

Hail my running brothers and sisters! As a post-script to my last post, I realized that I was close to 1200 miles for the year, so I dug in deep and got those last miles in to reach 1203.1. That's about 100 miles a month on average! By dig deep, I mean that I had to dig past the piles of pigs-in-a-blanket, mini-crab cakes, holiday cookies, pound cake and other food that I love but generally eschew during the year, so that I could shake that lard off my gut and tie my shoelaces to get those miles. It is truly sad that I can battle all year to control my appetite, but lose the war against fat and lethargy in only a few days.

I thought with only a few days left in the year, I would treat myself to some well-earned rest and let my body recover from the years punishment. Of course, I would do some cross-training thanks to my brand-new 20 lb. kettleball that my lovely and patient wife got me this year for Christmas. But when I got on the scale and saw that I had gained 5 more pounds this week, I realized that I can't turn my back on running yet.

Two and half of the miles that I ran were billy-goat miles...i.e. trail miles in Edwin Warner Park. I have done some cross-country mileage in my training for the marathon, but this was the first time that I actually ran a trail route. When I had considered running the trails earlier in the year, everyone had told me that it was more dangerous than road running, because I was likely to twist my ankle or fall flat on my face. Well, I didn't twist an ankle, but I did slip twice. I only fell on my face once, but I quickly recovered and finished my run. Overall it was fun to bolt through the woods, because it reminded me of being a kid and playing tags in the woods near my house. It was hard too. The ascents were steep and the footing unstable enough that I found myself walking to keep my balance and catch my breath. Occasionally I would have to stop and figure out where the heck I was and where the hell was I going, but generally the trails were pretty well marked and easy to follow. Sadly it took more effort to maintain a 10+ minute/mile pace on the trail than it took to run an 8:30 minute/mile pace on the road. Will I do it again? You know it baby! Every chance I get, I intend to get in some trail miles, but realistically, it looks like it would be once a week at best due to my schedule.

This weekend I'll be posting my goals for the New Year, and I'll probably be making some changes to the blog. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you have to shake things up sometimes to keep your training from getting stale. Maybe it's just me but "Run Monkey Boy Run" seems a bit cliched, doesn't it? If anyone has any ideas for a new title, let me know. Thanks for a great year and I'll look for y'all on the starting line next year. Have fun and run hard kids!

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