I wiser man than I once told me that he would never stop running because it sucks so much to start up again. To him goes the inspiration to run the Twin Cities Marathon over the past two years, and his words always ring true when I come back from a break.
This break is a bit longer, almost four months. And yet it feels like I never really left. Running in the cold saps my lungs and time, but it feels right. My legs feel like they are churning at the same cadence, my breathing is still a relaxed 2:2 and I still never think I have enough time to finish my task at hand.
I'm going to head out for an 8-mile run today and then hit the weights. It will be my first longish run since the marathon, and it is a mere precursor to longer runs to come - runs that will reach 20 miles before the 50K. Whenever I leave my steps I always have the route in mind or at least moderately set. It prepares my mind for the time and distance to come. I hit my watch but rarely check it during the run - it takes me out of my element, removes my mental psyche from putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
I'm not sure how I am going to handle the 50K, and it scares me to think about those miles above 20. I have never done trail running, and the first time I saw a trail runner on the SHT I just about lost it. The man was flying up and down the hills near Tettegouche and his speed just floored me. How is he doing that, my hiking partner and I thought first to ourselves and then to each other after the mind filter gave way. Miles seemed endless back then, and they even do now - especially when the prospect of running the rugged trail comes to mind.
I will get some trail running in before the 50k, probably at Afton State Park where they run a 25K/50K race in June or July. The hills are steep into and out of the river valley, and it should provide a good training ground for the distances to come.