Thursday, April 9, 2015

Choose your surface

Several days ago I ventured onto the trails near my home and was surprised to find the flooding had subsided and I would have access to what is normally my warm-up 1.5 mi of bouncy, winding and rooted trails along the Shawsheen river, running in the direction of Andover HS. Ambitiously I ventured about 8 minutes down the path, absentmindedly dreaming about a day when I might endlessly roll along golden pine needle laden paths. The trails were mostly still covered in a layer of 4-6 inches of snow and ice but I was making the best of it when suddenly *Crack!*.. *Oof!*.... "****it." and I returned home along the railroad tracks so to avoid further damage.

At the time I thought I'd actually sprained my ankle. It hurt as badly but didn't swell very much. My peroneals were sore, but 72 hours later I was ready to try again and this time with more dexterity (read: attention). I had a great run, albeit a slow one. The next day, I had another great run. My hips and lower back seemed to relax after months of tension, all because of a change of environment. Recently I ran 15 miles at an aerobic pace without pain. Since that run I've been confident about my durability enough to think about training for something.

I'm still hopeful about the prospect of running the Vermont City Marathon, which I targeted way back in December. There isn't much room for error since the race is on Memorial Day weekend. My goals have changed and every long run really counts. I'm pretty sure I'll do most of my runs on trails, going for time rather than distance. I'll try to do something around marathon pace and below each week too. After that, I'll mostly focus on strength, balance and mobility. I ran 2:39 several 30 mile weeks so maybe a few years later I can run 2:40-45 on a bit more. Who knows?