Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TRILOGY - PART ONE - "Trail runner starts racing in 2008... on the roads"

I returned to competition in 2007 where I slightly gained a bit of the trail racing bug due to Dean Karnazes' book Ultra Marathon Man. Granted, Dean's book is a revelation that places sedentary runner into the wonderland of Ultra Running. Dean's story is remarkable and I highly recommend the book, but his ascent into the world of Ultra Running is very quick compared to some of us with endurance event aspirations. At this point I was battling nagging injuries and still convincing my body back into calories burning mode. I was still stuck in 200-210 lbs. land, great that I lost 25 pounds in about a year of walking and running, but the real treat was feeling like I was ready to run a 5k. As it turned out, I ran two road 5k's, three 5 mile trail races, and a Thanksgiving Day road 5 miler. The hurt of running 5k's and 5 milers that once were flowing and effortless were hard, but extremely valuable lessons. All things considered, though, I wanted to go farther, Marathon and beyond, but how do I get back there?

Quite simply, the answer was to keep running.

The winter was filled with dreams of running all of the New England Grand Prix Races in 2008, but unemployment and injury and really poor winter weather had adverse effects on my trauning. Then on a cold January morning I decided to run 13.1 miles on a whim, and really destroyed myself. It was mentally and physically draining, but it really destroyed my aspirations. Two months of nursing injuries and figuring out how to take the next step in my weight loss goals, I began training again.

Fast forward - 15 pounds lighter and a healthy dose of injury-free running, I decided to race for the first time this year, which I had no intention of doing, but while sitting in the orientation of my new job the HR rep told us of the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5m run.

Morgan-Chase Corp. Challenge - Boston, MA - 3 miles

I am not going to say that this was a bad event, because what could beat running with thousands of other runners through the streets of Boston? It had always been one of my dreams to race in Boston along the roads, I had always imagined this would be the latter end of a 26.2 mile trek from Hopkinton, but the opportunity to do so with new people from work who also run was nice too.

The unfortunate part was that going into it I was sure it was going to be an event and not a race. Sure, there were the usual New England speed burners that work for other participating companies, but for the most part it is attempting to run and not eat pavement along Comm Ave because other people have absolutely no idea what a mile pace is.

Got clipped once toward the end, but nothing serious like the poor woman who did get clipped and dropped face first into the road, and in a crowd. Feeling so much more wasted because of the jostling and jockeying for position to get by slower runners, while being conscious of not hurting anyone in the process, I was happy to just have survived the circus. As a trend with this race, and the second part of this opening race trilogy, time was not something overtly concerning at this point. I was hoping to have some sort of benchmark to compare my fitness this year with last year, but this was no setting to really analyze such things.

Cool as far as events go, but don't count on running PRs, and running to race another day is really the theme.

For this trail runner, it was a cool thing to experience, but I felt the call of the wild following the finish of this fiasco!

Enter the sequel! Here's a teaser, it is a complete 180 degree turn from the above.

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