Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back on the Blog

In the middle of many recent runs, in the latter miles of races, when the pace flowed or when the gears grinded, the words still came. The posts seemed to write themselves on the back wall of my brain but they never quite made it onto the page, err, screen. The blog simply became a casualty of that thing called real life. The words, however, piled up with the miles, and here’s what happened along the way: 

The accidental PR.
Providence Rock and Roll Half Marathon – With eight weeks of base building and three weeks of speed training on my legs, I toed the line at a half marathon I had signed up for months and months ago. I planned to run it as a workout but in one of those beautiful combinations of cool weather and low expectations, I crushed my previous PR by 2:17, running a 1:19:29.  Other than the PR, the highlight of the race came near mile 2 when, after cresting a fairly serious hill, a woman standing on the curb screamed, “What’s the point?! You’re all going to die like the rest of us!”

After summiting Old Rag - twice.
In the Footsteps of Quentin Cassidy – With Mrs. Onthebusrunning out of town for a weekend, my friend and I packed up the car and headed west for the Shenandoah Mountains. For three days, we ran, hiked, camped, and repeated “Once a Runner”-style. We pummeled our legs until they were sore to the touch, ice-bathed with a local high school x-country team, ran for the sunset, and ran from storms. When all was said and done, we’d covered 37 miles in 32 hours.

On top of Long's Peak - 14,255 ft

Heading WestFor the fourth year in a row, I traded running shoes for hiking boots and met up with a high school friend for yet another ultimate road trip through the American West to explore our national parks. This year took us to the tourist-thick Mt. Rushmore, the eerie and dry Badlands, the wildlife rich grasslands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a quick stop at Devil’s Tower, and finally an arduous climb to the top of Long’s Peak, 14,255 ft. up. I look forward to this trip every year for several reasons, but what I cherish most, beyond the camaraderie I share with my friend and the rich landscapes we pass through, is the sense of peace I find when I return home. My head feels clearer, my body recharged despite the miles of hiking, and I return to the roads with a fresh perspective and giddiness to resume training.

The Road Ahead – With seven weeks left on the training calendar, the march toward Marine Corps resumes. This weekend I’ll tackle the first of three 20-milers, though I’ll do it with two friends. The Program calls for the final six miles at near 10K pace so we’ll run 17 and time it so that we’re leaning toward the start line when the gun goes off at a local 5K…nothing like jumping into a race after 17 miles to ensure you run that last 5K fast. And this week, assuming spots still remain, I’ll look even farther ahead and enter my third Boston to get back on the bus to Hopkinton.

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