Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dear Winter: In Some Ways You are Awesome and in Others I am Done With You.


I’m going to be honest here.

I’m sick of running in the dark.

I’m sick of running in the cold.

I’m sick of wet feet and sloppy trails I can’t charge.


Freezing Rain Boney Mountain 3,000 gain mud breakfast (photo: Howard Cohen)

That’s not to say I don’t get my ass out there every day. And that’s not to say I don’t enjoy it. Much to the contrary, the very thing that gets me out the door is knowing that no matter how much I “don’t feel like it,” a mile or two in, I always end up warming up, finding a groove and being all together content in my run. Every. Single. Time.


But let’s be honest: only running in darkness before and after work five days a week is hard. Not only for motivational reasons, but also running at night on the trails is different. While often magical, it slows you down. In short, I miss running fast, wild and unrestricted, and right now, I don’t get the opportunity to do that much. Weekends are reserved for loooooong adventures in the San Gabriels on the AC course, and that means a ‘sustainable pace’. Flying down a hill at 5:30, is not exactly sustainable. For Katie, that is.


All that being said, guess what people? The days are getting longer. If I go run Work Hill directly from the office, I can get one summit in at sunset. And let me tell you, it’s freaking glorious. And now on morning runs, I only run UP in the dark (which is actually kind of great, because I can’t see the grade as well). Then I get to the top and see some amazing sunrises (Southern California is really giving it to us right now) and tear back down, running free. I bet you thought this post was dedicated to complaining, but you were wrong.


Example of my LA sunrises - taken 1/13 Westridge Coyote Run, as seen by K. Chan's camera

In short, I’m excited and I’m impossibly optimistic right now. And I can help but see the expanding days as a metaphor for my expanding potential. With each sunrise, I’m shedding a little more light on my abilities from places once hidden in dark corners of my mind. And with each sunset, I remember to let go of the negatives as I plunge forward in my training, inspired.


1/9: Eaton Canyon to Heaven. It's only 4,600 feet up!

June and I on the toll road up to Mt. Wilson in a true Winter Wonderland.

Look what was outside my window on my last Southwest flight...

Speaking of my training, right now I’m focused on just getting back into the groove of running every day and the absurd amount of climbing that my AC Project requires. I’m confining myself to no more than 70-80 miles a week right now and holding off on twice a days until my body is super comfortable with these numbers and workouts. Too much too soon is a big downfall of mine, and I’m committed to remaining uninjured as a result of overtraining this year. That said, I’ve definitely kicked the year off right with some downright epic long runs out on the AC grounds. And I’ve got the burning quads, cuts and bruises, ripped gear, insatiable hunger and wet, muddy clothes littered about the house to prove it. Also, my legs are already covered in poison oak (despite the use of Tecnu, calf sleeves and the shower) and last Saturday I got bit by a vampire somewhere out of Chantry. It’s tooth is still in my shin, and now I can no longer eat anything ‘lyme’ flavored without hilarious jokes abounding.


But for the biggest breakthrough thus far, I give you the day Katie ate a whole Chipotle burrito.


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