It seems as if I am settling into my usual fall routine and patterns this past week. Running less miles is more of the norm as well as not feeling so damned tired and beat up all the time either. And though I do appreciate the brilliant colors of the leaves on the trees changing, along with that beauty also comes a little heartache knowing what is coming next around the corner.
One of the interesting things that I have seen in the web the past few days... some running group or the other posted something on Facebook basically asking now that winter is close what do runners do to stay in shape, etc? I guess this question or more accurately the answer just does not apply to me and my life anymore. It has been years since I have just sat around during the winter waiting for the sidewalks to clear to start running again in the spring. Nope... really, the winter months are my building months, my months of my hardest work and effort. Fall... right now is my backing off phase if you want to call it that.
Of course another part of my fall pattern is weight gain and I hate it. Of course it is all my fault. If I would stop eating everything in sight and everything else that I crave and oh yeah, give up the Mountain Dew for the 1,256th time in my life, sure those extra pounds that I have picked up since Leadville would drop right off. I could start keeping my eating journal again and counting calories and calculating every damned day, calories in vs. calories out and that would help too. I just don't want to. And I admit... it is especially difficult with Melissa gone.
Not just my eating habits going to shit... (actually I eat quite well, I just eat way too damned much) but ironically enough, I don't like to run so much when she isn't here... I think that I am so used to figuring out my running schedule and what not based on our weekly and daily schedules that when I have all of the time in the world to go, meaning pretty much anytime, I don't know what to do or more exactly, when to go! Weird, huh? I guess I prefer the days when I know that I have to get in 12 miles or any other distance... I can either do it before work, at lunchtime or after work and trying to be home before or not long after Melissa gets home so we can spend our evening together... now it's like I can go anytime I want... eh... no hurry... Then of course the evening gets here and I still have to go and yet I still really don't want to.
Picking 12 miles above is not an accident either.... and THAT is another part of fall stand down if you will... my mental capacity to envision running distances, not just physical fitness to run the miles themselves also takes a vacation on me. I mean I know if it came down to it I could run 50K or more (not much more) if pushed right now but in my mind it seems impossible. Not to mention looking back to the 80, 90, 100+ mileage weeks of the summer... from this vantage point I find it inconceivable that I actually crammed in that many miles in one week... and to attempt it now? No fricking way! Of course that plays into one of my secrets in training for ultras... I run lots of 20 miler's during heavy training, trying for at least three a week and one of those I even to try to make longer. Anyway, it isn't the physical aspect of running those distances that I really have to adapt to, it is the mental. Learning how to manage my mind and thoughts for 20 miles and knowing I can do it... that's where the training really comes in for me. Anyway... long story short... I am a long way from that mental vantage point right now as well.
And of course... one of the more fun parts of fall is that I actually do focus on the shorter and faster runs like the Fall Series, the Turkey Trot in Frederick and also laps and miles at the track. I find it fun to go faster, though it is uncomfortable, but at the same time it is all very life affirming in a way. No, I don't like running on the track so much but for brief glimpses out there... or in a shorter race when I am running all out I get to hold onto some minute vestige of my youth. Call it hopefulness, call it blind optimism that everything is going to be just great in life... whatever... maybe it is just a pure sense of potential that I don't experience all the time anymore,... I don't know but it makes it all worth it I think to have those little yet positive glimpses.
But speaking of track work. I was reading about running 800m workouts and I ran across this on letsrun.com. The subject of the thread was, How do you run your 800s? The first answer was the best I think... "On pure hate."
Looking forward to Fall Series I on Sunday. I've already picked out my shoes that are going to be sacrificed for the cause and good news as of this morning, my friend and training buddy Lisa is coming down to visit and race with me. And bonus! After that we are going to King's Chef for lunch! (Yeah, that isn't going to help the weight issue. I know.)
Watched this video last night. If you substitute his activity with ultra-running, the behaviors, the compulsion, the obsessiveness is uncannily the same. No matter how you look at it, it is funny!