Monday, December 29, 2008

A Very Ultra/Trail Running Christmas...

In the season and spirit of giving, I feel really blessed.

I certainly have a love/hate relationship with this time of the year as far as the holidays are concerned. I love spending time with family, catching up on what everyone has been doing since we last had a chance to gather, and generally enjoy being reminded of how important it is to have friends and family. I also love giving gifts; We don't have much, but we love having the means to give something to the people we love. I don't necessarily hate receiving gifts, but for a couple reasons I get uneasy. Probably too much to unpack and probably too personal, but basically I have a problem with 'stuff' and think part of the great deception of this life is the constant desire to accrue 'stuff'. Again, it's a weird philosophical issue for me, and I think there are needs that should be met, and am not about to say people shouldn't be allowed to have nice things, but I have seen how 'stuff' creates discrimination and causes unnecessary pain to others because they are ridiculed because they don't have the right shirt or the 'cheap' version of something.

Usually I spend the weeks before Christmas dodging questions about what I want or need, but with a limited budget, and a desire to continue trail running and my pursuit of running an ultra, I suggested people could support this through the giving of gear. I think my family was relieved to finally have ideas, and I really was blessed to receive what I like to think of as a trail runner's gift package.

I won't sit here and list the gear individually, but a few things that I got I have had the chance to use and gain a bit of an understanding of how they will beneficial. The greatest of these was a biofoam roller that has really helped the IT Band situation. Using it really has made a difference, and the only pain in my leg has been from, first running on tough snowy trails, and, second, falling hard and taking a root across the middle of my quad, but none of which seem to be IT related. I also got a couple Nathan Hand-held Quickdraw water bottles. I was really hoping to get a couple hand-helds in anticipation of the Spring and Summer trail season. handhelds aren't necessarily desirable on technical trail races, but thinking about Pineland Farms and Stone Cat, two ultras that seem to be events where one can get away with two handhelds, it is nice to have the option to carry two types of fluids in mass quantities. Carrying one of the Nathan Quickdraws on a technical trail has certainly been tested already, but more on that in the post to follow this one.

I hope everyone had a great holiday, and I wish everyone who spends the time with strides and keystrokes, sharing their experiences with life and the trails in this blogging forum, the best for 2009. I certainly look forward to the chance of meeting more of you on the trail next year!



Pathfinder said...

Funny, I had a similar experience. The family seemed happy to have ideas and get me running associated items.

I ran the 25k at pineland last year and agree handhelds work well. I only used one but two would not pose a problem.

There are a few places that you will cross more than once so there is the luxury of leaving items for later in the race that you don't have to carry the whole way.

Have you devised a training plan for the 50K yet? At this point I am just running base miles and trying to get at least one long run in per week which I will increase in length as the winter progresses.

RunninRob said...

Thanks for the information on Pinelands!

As far as training plans go, I am still sort of in the 'thinking' mode, but I am with you on the base miles/base time plan. Obviously, it is dependent on what the winter allows. My IT Band seems like it is starting to come around, which should open up the possibility of venturing out longer as the weeks go by.

I'd like to take advantage of the shorter training runs that I am stuck with now and push a little to try to get more comfortable running at a faster pace, as I think it will help over the long haul.

Crazy to sit here in the dead of winter thinking there are just about 20 weeks to race day! I guess I need to start working on building that base!