Monday, January 13, 2014

The Deep End

Well, just after my 50 mile R2R2R run, I had sworn off running forever, and planned to climb and ski my brains out over the coming months.  Within a few days, however, a weird thing happened: The memory of the pain faded to the background, and the memories at the front of my brain were only of the breathtaking (as in, literally, I forgot to breathe for a few seconds) sunrise, the high fives and encouragement given and offered by so many other runners, and the delicious sense of accomplishment that accompanied our pizza and beer after finishing.

So I started to think of running again, although I still had a ton of climbing plans that I was excited for.  Most notably, at trip to Hyalite to climb ice in December with my buddy Rich, and a trip to Ouray to climb more ice at the end of February with a bunch of friends I haven't seen in awhile.  

Then I blew my hand up.  That put most climbing plans on hold (although I'm still holding out hope for the Ouray trip), and forced me to rethink things.  I couldn't climb (obviously), and I couldn't ski (or risk re-breaking my mangled thumb).  

Not one to sit and mope, I looked at what I did have: two healthy legs!  So I got some new running shoes (the old pair was finally shot after the GC), and got after it!  

My dogs were certainly happy, as they have more fun with me when I'm running than when I'm climbing.

I began upping my weekly mileage, and really enjoying myself!

19 Miles and 4000+ ft gain in Laguna Beach
Thirsty in the Pasadena heat

23 miles and 6000+ ft of gain in Pasadena

I started to get obsessed with running.  In 3 weeks I blazed through 4 novels on the subject (Born to Run, Eat-Run, Racing Weight, and Once a Runner).  I ran in a splint, I ran in a cast, and finally in a brace.  I ran on our Christmas Vacation to sunny California, and I ran when I got back home.  I stopped in the middle of the 15 hour drive to California to break the trip up with a run.  

Run to and from work in the freshly fallen snow.  8 miles +/- 1000ft each way.  Water on my right, coffee on my left.

With all this running, I thought it might be fun to sign up for some races.  Rather than a local trail marathon, I did what I often do, and jumped into the deep end.  In fact, the water was so deep, that not only am I in over my head, I don't think I could swim down and touch bottom.  

I convinced my wife that we shouldn't go out on New Years Eve (not too hard since she's 6 months pregnant).  I sat and silently counted down in my head, although not for the same reason as most other "sane" people.  I counted down to midnight because that's when the signup started for the Leadville 100 Trail Ultramarathon!

10, 9, 8, 7 . . 3, 2, 1, chug, click, and I was in!

Just like that I had planned every minute of my free time for the next 8 months . . .

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