Sunday, July 24, 2016

Life Changes

Things be happenin'.

Thankfully, all aimed for the better. After several years of planning, Kate and I have moved away from southern Maine and are temporarily staying with her folks in Brewer until we close on our Downeast home out in the boonies next month. It's a great place. Really great. We've also both secured jobs and are excited about this large new life chapter with lots of words in it.

It'd be nice to start blogging again, but I'll just let it happen naturally if it happens at all. I'll recap the past six or so months: Extremely sporadic running due to lower back issues and a lack of motivation. I've been running regularly the past month though, and have gotten back into the routine. A good sign is when I haven't really thought twice about waking up at 4:30am to run early on busier days or to beat the heat. I'm enjoying it all again, and the change in scenery has a lot to do with it.

I've enjoyed running in Acadia with Mike W. quite a few times now and also exploring the mountains and woods near our anticipated future forever home. We picked a great place to live for epic trail running (as well as fishing and hunting). Perhaps I'll share more later on... I do miss blogging, but I don't want it to feel forced.

More later.... maybe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

There's Winter.

I don't run with my phone very often, therefore I seldom have pictures. The only time I really do take it is when I'm running with a vest or fastpack.

A few days ago it snowed a little. Today it snowed a lot. Today I ran in said snow, but I have no pictures because I didn't run with a vest for fastpack. That might have been overkill as it was just a bit over five miles around my in-laws neighborhood in Brewer.

You'll have to trust me when I say it was very pretty. That first real snowstorm always is. The ones that follow are just as pretty, but that first one just seems more so.

The long range forecasts say Old Man Winter will be here for a while. If they're right, that means more pretty snow. More pretty snow means more snowshoe running. I like to snowshoe run, so this makes me happy.

I like being happy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Where's Winter?

Mild weather continues in the northeast, much to the dismay of winter sports enthusiasts. Though the first snowshoe race of the season is still a month away, the what-if-there-is-no-snow grumbles have already reached a loud whisper. Knock on wood, but for Bradbury it's always worked out, even if Old Man Winter has cut it close. Time will tell.

Several Trail Monsters decided to take advantage of the relative warmth by doing repeats on Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton the other day. Just a little bit of thin ice near the top, but not too bad. I shot out an email to our team with the plan and expected maybe three or four people to be in, but it was awesome to see that nearly a dozen showed up. Because it was repeats, everyone could just do their own thing and still see everyone. That was a lot of fun.

Half Bomb and I went up and down to the peak three times for just under 14 miles and were about a thousand feet short of a mile for elevation gain. Great workout. I had hoped for four repeats, but I'm not there yet. Going up for the third time, it was clear that would be it.

I followed that up the next day with a shakedown run in the woods out back. No snow still, so I used this run as a very early scouting trip for turkey hunting season this May. Found a promising area. I feel really fortunate that trail running really helps with hunting as well as fly fishing. Trail running has directly contributed to success in both, not just for scouting but also being in shape to reach those farther out areas that many overlook and do whatever else needs to be done. Conversely, I also see the woods through different lenses when out running and those added dimensions make it all the more enjoyable.

So we'll continue to hope for snow. In the meantime, the fly fishing has been a lot easier for this time of year and running on the dirt isn't entirely bad. Still, I'd rather be hitting the trails on snowshoes or flying down a well groomed trail on skate skis. There is still time. After all, it's still another day before it's officially winter.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Where It's At

Since my last post, a lot has happened. On October 30th, the docs gave me the okay to run, saying there was nothing to worry about. Yeah, my heart has a funky beat to it, but I'm fine. As soon as I got back from the doctor's office that day, I changed and went for a trail run.

Opening day was the next day, so I ran out to a spot I hunted heavily last deer season to check things out. I didn't see any scrapes or rubs, but I decided to hunt it the next day anyway. Upon telling Kate this, she questioned why I'd go there if it appeared actionless, to which I didn't have a really good answer. I said that I at least knew the area and felt comfortable there. Great strategy, huh? It would likely be a nice day out in the woods if nothing else.

Up early the next morning with low expectations, I headed out and sat under the same big oak tree as last year. At 6:42am, opening day officially began. Around 35 minutes later, it ended when I dropped a four point buck.

Field dressed, it weighed 139 pounds. By the time I dragged it the mile to my car... over a stream and over several hills... it felt like it weighed 1390 pounds. Now THAT was a workout. It was exhausting. I loved every minute of it and it also underscored that yes, my heart was fine.

That served as a great springboard to running. Not only did I get in a grueling workout right off the bat from my hiatus, but I've been less distracted because I tagged out. That really helped to put running back to the forefront.

So for the past month, I've been steadily ramping up the mileage and workouts. I've got to say, the fire has definitely been relit. I haven't felt this motivated in years. It's awesome and I hope it lasts. I suspect it will. I think I'll be in pretty darn good shape by the time snowshoe racing comes around, and then I have the TARC Spring Classic 50K in April. Can't wait.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Not Quite Flatlined

"That doesn't feel right", I told Kate, with my hand laying on my chest. My heart had been beating out of whack the past few days. As I lay in bed that evening, it was doing it more often, every few minutes. I fought my wife's insistence of going to the emergency room, but when I called the next day to make a doctor's appointment, they told me to head to the ER.

Reluctantly, I told Kate what the doctor's office said and we were off. Of course, my heart didn't do it during my two to three hour stay. I set off the alerts a few dozen times because of a low heart rate instead. I joked with the doc that the issue in question was like when your car makes a funny noise on occasions, but not for the mechanic. Sure, it did it before and would do it again often the next day, just not when I was there.

To further the car analogy, what my heart felt like was a car's pistons firing out of sequence because the cables were crossed. Atrial fibrillation comes to mind. I do have a history of sinus arrhythmia, which is a fancy phrase for an irregular heartbeat. No big deal. From many moons ago, I also know from practicing echocardiograms with my classmates when I was becoming a certified cardiopulmonary technician that I have two heart murmurs, both in the less crucial right side of my heart. Also usually not that big of a deal.

But all of that adds up to a few more heart tests: an echocardiogram and also being fitted with a holter monitor later next week. The ER doctor expects that it's nothing, and so do I. But, one has to be sure.

Since the ER visit, everything has been feeling pretty normal, aside from a few sessions of heart hiccups but not as often or as regular. But no running until the tests are over. In the meantime, I'll chomp at the bit and seek revenge this snowshoe racing season. I'm glad I have fly fishing so I don't go too crazy, at least that has been pretty awesome lately.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Maintenance Miles

Welp, I've decided against running the Big Brad Ultra. I'll volunteer there instead. Just too much on my plate with the start of a new school year, coaching cross country and also taking the final class I need for English teacher certification. We also just got done moving into our other property after selling the other we were living in. And this spring this one will go up for sale in a hopefully still improving real estate market, and then we'll move again next summer into our "forever home".

So yeah, a lot going on. And though it's been hectic, it's all been good stuff and for that I am VERY thankful. I'll fit in my own running in the gaps as they present themselves, but look forward to mostly concentrating on helping others via coaching and volunteering at races. A lot of joy and satisfaction in that.

Perhaps I can piece together enough to be in decent race shape for snowshoe season. The timing works out nice, as the races fit into a window where things should be relatively calm. Let's hope for a snowy winter.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Post 100 Mile Limbo

The Vermont 100 continues to grow smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror, leaving rested muscles now turning rusty due to a summer full of twists and turns. I've been trying to get my legs up to at least maintenance mileage, but not without setbacks due to the selling of one of our properties.

The mental toll of various bumps and potholes has been more than I'd like, all pretty normal these days or so I'm told. But... at least the closing is finally tomorrow. My wife and I can then exhale until next summer when we begin the final phase of relocating.

I'm on the fence for signing up for the Big Brad Ultra in the middle of October. It'll all depend on how much I can get the plane off the ground in the next month. It'd be fun to run, but I'm seriously fine either way.

However, if I don't, I'd still like to get in some sort of regiment to prepare for snowshoe racing season. Last year, my times were pretty lackluster thanks to having an autumn where I didn't run much, in part from being distracted with hunting season and the incredible fly fishing that October and November offers. I'd like to not be frustrated by extended time off from running again.