Sunday Trail Crew

Even the smallest of sparks can culminate in a conflagration that can light your heart in an instant. It can make the mundane seem fantastical, the trite and
commonplace new and inviting, and the time all too short bringing action to the forefront.  Just a tiny little thing. After a number of months not really feeling the interest in getting out to formally train, nor a race to train for I have found my groove.  I was signed up for the Pittsburgh Marathon already, but had no real goal in mind and simply finishing the race was not enough to create drive. Signing up for the Burning River 100 kindled a little spark. That little click of the “submit” button and I was in it 100%. That little spark was fed by time spent with great friends out in my favorite places, both city spaces and wild places. Only the sound of footfalls and joy …okay maybe the sound of an occasional fall or grunt of pain as well. These simple things made manifest a great love within myself and that grew into what I can only describe as run lust. The run lust set upon me I began preparing for the coming tasks in earnest.

A friend clued me in to a free 50k coming up on March 25th and …well…freee!!!!!!!!! So that is next on the list. Then the Pittsburgh Marathon. I love running in my city! Then the Laurel Highlands 70.5 mile Relay with great friends followed by the Burning River 100 miler. My year without running races is quickly being filled up by races and running and I couldn’t be happier. Still, I am trying to stick to the plan of keeping costs at a minimum in order to stay in track with paying debts and saving. Adulting and having all the fun. Can it be done? I’ll let you know at the end of the year.

Now give me a little slack because when I tell you what I’ve done I know I will hear just how foolish my recent enterprises as far as training have been.  In the past few weeks I have gone from running 20 miles a week to 40-50…yeah 10% rule…I know. I have run 80-90% of that last 50 mile week at moderate to hard effort.  Yes, the 10-15% speedwork rule. But that is why I call it run lust. I am fully enjoying it body, mind, and soul and can’t be bothered to hold back the joy streaming forth.  I have a feeling some of you understand. That brings me to the focus of this post, getting focused.

A little run down of this week (pun intended)

Tuesday: 11 miles at the crack of dawn chasing Fedorko, Arjun, and Corbin around the streets of Pittsburgh. Phew. Dem boys are fassst.

Thursday: 9 speedy miles with SCRR in the North side with tasty beers and pizza at Allegheny City Brewing afterwards. That place is awesome!

Saturday: 15 miles in the city chasing Antonella, Sean, and the rest of the 8:30 pace crew. Great fun as always!

Sunday: Trail day!!! My form of Sunday Service. 16 miles of mostly trails with a whole bunch of good people.

I followed the week up with a rest day Monday and dove into 8 miles of hills with John P. on Tuesday. Tow more rest days and then a light and easy solo 4 miler on Friday morning. This training season is off to a great start and I’m looking forward to more.

Get On the Training Train

Having trouble getting motivated to train? Is that big race date coming closer and you just can’t part with your dear sweet couch? Take it from a man who recently had a 3 month affair with my couch, I feel your pain. Habits are hard to break. This is true for good habits as well as the bad ones. Here are just a few simple tips to help build the positive habits again and get into the groove:

  1. Set a schedule: It is likely you already have a training schedule. Make copies and keep them visible. Maybe one at your desk at work and

    The Schedule

    another on your fridge. The more you see it the better. Cross out your workouts as you do them. It feels good to cross things off and see the progress. I like using excel to create plans and track progress. Do what keeps you engaged.

  2. Get ready the night before: Check the weather and pull out your clothing accordingly. Get everything you need together and set it in one location. Running in the morning? Set your alarm….and maybe a backup or two. You are mentally preparing and thinking about what you are going to do. You are investing a little bit of yourself and your energy into the run that is yet to come.
  3. Run with friends: Especially if, like me, a majority of your running has been solo. Don’t get me wrong. I love a long solo run. It allows me to just be in the moment without thought of keeping pace or following a route. But when you have one good friend or a group of them the shared stories, camaraderie, and laughs make the time fly by and the miles melt away.  Do what you love with people you love.
  4. Plan new routes: My weekday morning runs have often been as if from a blueprint. The same few routes over and over. When things get dull I find a new area and plan some runs. New surroundings and areas to explore liven up training and help get me in the mood for some hot and sweaty running. After running all over Pittsburgh for 4 years I still find new places and hidden treasures all the time. Adventure running, it’s the bee’s knees.



In other news some friends and I are fundraising for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society under the name of the Tour de Friends Team We will be participating in the Race to Anyplace at Slippery Rock University!  As part of the fundraising effort I decided to shave my beard if we topped $1,000 in donations. Thanks to you all we are currently over $1600!! Click here to donate to this great cause and click here for a video of the shaving of the beard.

This coming weekend it’s back at it with long runs in the city with SCRR on Saturday and then more miles with the trail crew Sunday!