Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Beast Awakens!

Yes indeedy, I'm officially back running again! ...and what better way could there be to kick off my return than by running the last 41+ miles of the Massanutten 100 mile course while pacing my buddy Nick P. this weekend?!!  Well, let me answer my rhetorical question by readily advising everyone that there are, in fact, 9 billion more appropriate ways to reintroduce one's dormant legs and lungs to running. I believe "Ouch" was my official comment upon crossing the finish line.

Still, fit or not, I do these things for fun, and I had a blast with Nick (and his awesome mom Yvonne who crewed for him by herself the whole time!) over those many many mountain miles. Sure, my longest run in the previous 4 months was a single 8 miler, but the pressure you feel as a pacer to not let your runner down is a pretty strong motivator! It also helped that Nick was shredding the course to a smokin' fast 2nd place finish the whole time as well. It's tough to whine about your own aches and pains when the guy you're trying to keep up with is still running so well with 63 more miles than you on his legs!

I should also point out that I've never really cared about "extra" miles in a 100 before, but the fact that the race turned out to be 104.8 miles long this year really didn't help a runner in my "condition". I would have paid the RD $104.8 Million to move the finish line to the 102 mile when I realized how much further I still had to go at that point. I mean, really...talk about the Running Gods getting even with me for having forsaken them over the past few months. Sheesh!
Nick leaving the Visitors' Center aid station (mile 77) with some out-of-shape dude holding a turkey and cheese sandwich on Wonder Bread. I should probably mention I didn't really have a "fueling plan" for this one. Also, the shoes I wore were literally taken out of their box for the first time when I pulled up to the race headquarters. Hey, who needs proper planning when you are as far out of shape as I am?!! Kirstin Corris Photo

Nick and his All Star Mom Yvonne: She's about the nicest person there is! It's a tough job crewing solo for a 100, never mind one in the tough-to-navigate MMT area. Hats off to her for pulling it off so well...and on Mothers Day no less!! Kirstin Corris Photo
Now that I've checked off the big box next to "Don't embarrass yourself in front of Nick and his Mom", I'll happily start a proper training plan to get myself in shape over the next couple months. Baby Sam is ready to roll, quite literally, in the running stroller I picked up, so I/we will be settling into a consistent running routine soon. I'm also psyched that our family schedule will now allow me to run commute to work on most Mondays and Fridays. Given that the local trail/bike path network gets me to work in 9.5 miles, I couldn't imagine a more perfect distance for my commute. Sure, I'll question that statement the first time I have to head out in a monsoon, but until then...

As for my race plans, I think my return to ultras will be with the Dahlgren 50k in August, but beyond that I'll have to see how my training goes. I'd love to be able to hop right into some much longer/mountain races, but as I learned this past weekend, I need a bit of work to get back into the kind of shape I need to be in for such an undertaking. One thing I do hope to do along the way back to 100-mile fitness is run more shorter/faster races to get my lungs back. With so many local 5ks & 10ks in the DC area, I'll probably hop in a few of those to shock the system back into gear. Quite honestly, I haven't run a 5k since high school, and I'm not sure I've run a 10k...ever?? I'll be looking to fix that, and maybe have Sam ride shotgun with me once or twice as well. Let the adventures begin!!


Casseday said...

Welcome back Dan! I hated that I missed you out there at MMT. I was hoping to meet Nick too, but it just wasn't my day out there. See you on the trails soon!

Andy said...

Beware of the sleeping bear. Can't wait to see what arises from hibernation -- this time as an ultrarunning dad!

Amelia said...

By the way, I have never ever seen you eat Wonder Bread. Ice cream for breakfast, yes. So happy your posts are back!