Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Weeks Three and Four: Into Summer Rest

Mon 6/11 2 miles
Tue 6/12 2 miles
Wed 6/13 2 miles in Huntington, West Virginia, my home town, at the beautiful Ritter Park.
Thu 6/14  After the strangest evening of my life, any thought of running Highlands Sky disappeared. EO's diagnosis was grim: severe brain damage from lack of oxygen. He was unresponsive, breathing on a respirator, but my brother John, my mother, Christy and I hung out with him all day, joined by my sister in the late afternoon. We talked, and laughed, and cried, and we included him in all of it. We all became closer.
Hospital Rock Trail February 2011
It's covered in briars in the summer.
Sun 6/18  10 ½ miles in Huntington. A really nice run with my big brother through some of our old spots. Kevin told me he had done this run starting in 1977 when he ran 10 miles a day, same loop, no idea what he was doing. We ran the two and a half miles of crushed stone trail to the west end, then through Harvey Town and across Fifth Street to the back access to the Huntington Art Museum.  The climb to the museum—Mount Futhermucker, we fondly call it—is a brute. Added in a little 1930s neighborhood and a tour of the park. Nice to see two old men go at it.
Christy and I drove home to Spartanburg to pick up L and Q, and their cousin at camp, to come back to Huntington for the funeral. 
Total  16 ½ miles in four runs
Sat 6/23  9 ½ miles at Jones Gap. This run should be counted in time—2:27. What a brute of a run. Jones Gap never fails to remind me how tough it is. About 2000 feet of climbing in the first three or four miles, then brutal and difficult downhill. Two waterfalls and some great views later, I ran back to the car by the road.
Falls Creek Falls Trail to Hospital Rock Trail. Returned by Jones Gap Road.
Sun 6/24  5 miles at Croft. First hot-hot-hot run. Bristol and I stopped in the creek twice for some sitting.
from Dairy Ridge: New Edition to cut-off over to Palmetto
Total 14 ½ miles in 2 runs
One of my first concessions to age was taking a couple of months every year to run with little focus. It started in my late thirties when I lived in the mountains in southern California. The winter snow limited trail access near my house, so I turned back mileage and intensity until things started to melt in early March.  Teacher vacation made summers training camps, with lots of outings and races.  I did that for so many years that when I stopped teaching six years ago, the habit stuck with me.
Last summer I really paid for it. The summers here in South Carolina are very hot and humid. Training in the heat with a focus on a race in late July, combined with antibiotics because of a tick bite, led to a DNF, only my third in 28 years.  Several years ago my brother told me he spent the Tennessee summers running a couple of week day runs of five or so miles, and a long run of 15-17 miles in the mountains every week. He said he was fresher than all his friends who trained hard through the summer, and came back stronger in the fall.
So there I am, in rest mode. I’ll still run far if I feel like it, and I have a couple of longer runs planned. I’ll run four or five or six or seven days a week, probably 25-40 miles a week. I’ll start back in September, and may run a 50k in October. I’d like to run faster than last year at the Camp Croft Half-Marathon in November. I’m still holding off planning for Pine Mountain in December.

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