Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Running and Riding the Trails

Summer is in full swing and I've been out running the trails, mountain biking all our favorite New England Trails, and working in the garden and yard. I haven't spent much time on the computer and it shows in the frequency of my Blog posts. I'll try to catch up a little today.

My new job, covering the town of Gorham, has been going great. I've been able to manage my day so I can fit a good run in each afternoon after work. I have been exploring trails! I love exploring trails! I have put a lot of miles in on the trails near Sebago Lake in Standish and Windham. There is one main corridor trail, "Sebago to the Sea", which is OK, but there are many side trails which are wonderful. Some are "multi use" single track, which seem to be primarily used by equestrians. These are fantastic. There are also miles and miles and miles of snowmobile trails and old tote roads. These exploration runs are fun, and I usually end up putting in more miles than planned because I have to find my way back to the car when I'm ready to quit for the day. One memorable run on these trails forced me to cut across a huge field with hay up to my chest. I found 12 or 13 ticks on me at the end of that run. Yuck,

I have also run on the USM/Gorham Trail system. The official trails are good, but I discovered some rogue mountain bike trails that were much more fun. These are not currently being maintained and are getting a little overgrown. I have run all the snowmobile trails in the area, too. I am happy to announce that it is possible to run off road in the Gorham area!

I am excited about the Virgil Crest 100 in September, but haven't felt inspired to run any races leading up to that. I still enjoy low key events so I will run MMD, as usual. I thought about the 100 Mile Wilderness Run, until I started following the online conversations. Way too much machismo and goal setting for me for a wilderness run. I can just picture all us crazed runners dashing through the pristine trails, pushing the weary AT through-hikers out of the way crying, "we're in a race, clear the trail!" I'll do it alone some time instead.

Still Jack strongly suggests that I run something besides MMD and Virgil Crest. I've been training like crazy and am as fit as ever. Shouldn't I use it?! I decided on the Maine Huts 50K. Only 32 runners are allowed so the field should spread out enough to make me feel like I'm on my own. Perfect!

The more I read Blogs and Facebook, the more I realize I am done with the race scene. Don't get me wrong, I was as competitive and gung-ho as anyone up until 6 or 8 years ago. I have pictures of me at 95 pounds running with my tongue hanging out and my eyes rolled up in my head on the verge of collapse, all for the sake of being able to say "I won." Now it just seems kind of silly (sorry). That said, I will always run lots of trail miles. I will probably run a hundred miler or two every year. Hundreds don't feel like races to me once I get a few miles out. It's just me covering a great distance as fast and effectively as I can. Adventure runs (I don't mean eco-challenges, triathlons, Duathlons...I mean just going out into the woods and mountains alone or with a few others and covering some serious distance on foot) still appeal to me greatly!

Mountain biking? I'm still loving it! Absolutely loving it!!! I don't want to race, or even ride fast. I just want to ride well. But as i ride better, I find I am riding faster without even trying to speed up. I love developing my skills and seeing the improvement. Getting over a big rock that has always stopped me, getting to the top of a steep loose rocky climb that has always made me get off the bike, riding over a narrow bridge that I have always been too scared to try, hopping a big slippery log that has always sent me flying...those things give me the same thrill that winning a race used to. I guess I've gotten a lot simpler with age. It doesn't take much to make me happy these days!

Plus mountain biking is something I do with Kevin. I can't tell you how much fun we have on the trails together! We turn into a couple of kids while we are out there. I have to wonder what the folks in the fire department think when they look out and see two middle aged people on mountain bikes jumping the pile of dirt in front, or the people fishing at the river think when they see a grinning 50-ish woman riding over a ramp or jumping a log, or the school kids think when they see folks their grandparents' ages hopping and dropping off the curbs and riding the "skinny" in the playground. Hopefully, they think, "wow, you're never too old to get out and play."

Oh don't worry, I'm putting in almost 70 running miles a week, even with the mountain biking. I'll be ready for Virgil Crest!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like your gettin the most of your free time & I agree adventure runs are the way to go. I'm on the bike kick as well going to register for the Mt. Washington Century Ride. Happy trails - stay cool.