Oh, it is absolutely gorgeous here right now. You wake up way before dawn to a crisp 50F and clear sky full of stars with no humidity, put on a long sleeve shirt, a light hat, a skirt and a pair of shoes and head out. The breathing is easy, the stride opens up, the water bottle is practically not needed anymore for an hour worth of running around a neighborhood. As the first light lites up a horizon on your way home, over the hills, you open your eyes even wider and exhale: this is what's important in life. This is why it is so worth it to be groggy when alarm clock goes off, when no other people (besides committed dog walkers) turn their lights on in the houses, this is why it's worth nodding your head on the bus and not be able to live without a couple of cups a coffee a day. This is it, the moment of truth. This world is yours. Take it for what it is...
Last month was my lowest in terms of miles for the whole year, even comparing to July when I DNF'ed at Tahoe mid-way through and stopped running. Between having a bad flu for 2 straight weeks beginning October 1st to plowing Palo Duro 50 to recovering lost toenails (none of the shoes fit until they fell off), and then I managed to get scheduled for a surgical procedure, which wasn't all that serious, but with stitches and strict orders not much running could be done. Besides the whole weekend was "donated" to Cactus Rose fun, and then trying to catch some kind of sleep afterwards.
On Tuesday I finally said "screw doctor's orders" and went running. It felt awesome! Just as I said before, it's one thing when you take a break by yourself, and totally different when you're forced to be out. Coming back is a paradise. And with the weather it is now (even at the peak of the day it doesn't go above 70F), every route gave me a nice PB time to smile about. Just as I've been warned, if you struggle yet run through the summer in Texas, your fall running will give you high as never before.
On Saturday I figured I need to throw a longish run in, as my next scheduled race for Texas 50 Slam is in 2 weeks. Ha! What a joke my attempt is. I was just thinking, looks like all the Slam races will be just bumps in training, but I want a time close to PR in a 50k in December and 50M in February on un-related to Slam courses. Means I better start getting speedwork in.
Anyhow, I ran on the usual Forest Ridge trails, looping enough times to get 20 for the day, and while I didn't feel particularly spunky, I made it in solid and even times, without breaking down. And as usual, while on the long run, the ideas for next year's long races were floating around. While I don't really like repeating my "good races", I enjoyed MMT100 and SD100 so much, and I also know I can throw a better run there, that I am vaguely considering to sign up again. I'll sit on it a little longer:)
Sunday was per usual since my break-down summer, a club run (I run to and from home there to add on miles), and I worked pretty hard today and kept the pace up there. The group seems to be getting bigger, and it's fun to exchange remarks and conversations. And just like that, my weekly mileage went from 0 to 60, leaving me a bit stiff and somewhat wiped-out:)
I'll be joining Joe and Joyce Prusaitis Tejas Trails coaching team, and I am excited. There will be some adjustment and upgrades to the system that is going on now to accommodate for more runners to join with various goals and for "coaches" to have an occasional life (a.k.a. weekend free). I am also setting up with Joe a speed training mornings, it's a progress sin discussion, but I firmly believe to run ultras does NOT mean you have to forgo speed workouts, as well as other good stuff.
I've been thinking how blessed I am. To be alive, be here, be doing what I do. Sure, we all want something more, but if we stop, look around - it's a wonderful life. One day some time ago, Larry broke his personality and came to visit a stranger in Portland. One day, later, I decided to take a leap and leave my still most beloved city to move across the country. I had a burn-out in running, and it couldn't have come at a better/appropriately needed time.
Stephen had run into some stepping stones, and I was so glad to be able to be around - and to be able to fully focus on overcoming those. Our relationship soared. Of course, there will be more bumps and dips, but at least now we both know we can make things work. We had a great weekend together, while Larry was away. At one point, we talked about ultras and ultrarunners and "why's" of it for different people. And at some point I was mentioning something about last weekend. And he said: "I could see you loved doing that AS and helping runners so much". That was so unexpected...and best thing he ever said to me. I didn't think he even cared to look at what was going on at the AS, yet along approve it. I am grateful for his acknowledgement. May be, just may be, I am doing not so bad of a job here...
The rest of the year will be counting weekends and trips. Next Saturday I am taking a group of runners to Bastrop for a longish run. The following is a race in Warda. A couple of days afterwards Larry and I are off for a trip to NM! Honeymoon, take 2! Stephen will be visiting his Dad in OR. First weekend of December it's my turn for Oregon trip, to see my son Alex, my dearest friends, and my Gorge. Then, a 50k in Huntsville, another group run around - and off to Mother-Russia!!! I am counting days for sure. It's been too long, 2 years is way too long to not see your sister and mom and dad...my heart aches, I can't wait!
It is a wonderful life, indeed.