Last week I ran up and down Green Mountain on two occasions and ran lots of easy trail miles on local trails. Yet, I still don't feel like I am actually training, I'm just running and riding and having fun. While everyone else is racing every weekend, I'm off in the woods meandering. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about this. Should I be racing more? Am I no longer a real runner since I am doing more of the Forest Gump sort of thing than the Steve Prefontaine thing? Then I come to my senses and I wonder, why is everyone I know racing all the time? Do they actually enjoy it? Where do they find time for hiking and mountain biking and kayaking and trail work and gardening? I have to do what's right for me. I'm loving life so I'm doing something right.
I have the Vermont 100 coming up and it is going to be my first "race" in a very long time. I know the fitness is there, but will I be able to find my race mode? Probably not, but I think I will be fine. Feeling competitive will get you nowhere in a hundred miler.
I am finishing up my working weekend. It's been busy, but I fit in an awesome 12 mile run Saturday after work. I had noticed, while driving between patients' homes in the Standish/Windham area, that there is only a surprisingly short stretch of road between accesses to two of the trails I run frequently. For a couple of months I have been waiting for the opportunity to connect them into a nice loop. Saturday, all the pieces came together. I was seeing patients in the area, the weather was perfect, and I still had a few hours of daylight left at the end of my work day. It really was a great loop! The first 5 miles was single and double track dirt. Then came the three mile road connection, over big hills through beautiful farmland. Next was 3 miles of flat paved bike path followed by a last mile of traffic free dirt road. Wow, was that a nice loop! I can't wait to get out there again.
Kevin and I mountain biked for two and a half hours before work on Sunday. Scout came along and had a lot of fun. We finally got brave enough to ride the Leavitt Plantation single track. I've been running these trails for many months, but riding seemed like a terrible Taboo. I have explained this before, but I'll briefly tell you again. The single track mountain bike trails were built on private land (with permission) by a man who makes a living doing guided trips on his trails. Then the land became property of the town and was opened to the public. The man continues to run his business and does not welcome mountain bikers to use his trails without permission. It's a bit of a sticky situation.
I run there all the time and never see anyone. Wouldn't you know it, on Sunday about a half hour into our ride we met up with a man and a woman walking the trail. Once we got past, I whispered to Kevin, "was that him?!" in a paranoid sort of way. It wasn't, and we moved on. Just as we were getting ready to start uphill on the next trail, we saw mountain bikers coming down from the trail, so we stopped to let them by. The first three went by and I whispered again, "Was that him?!" Kevin said, "no, but that is him, coming down next." And Kevin casually rode down the fire road out of sight and I followed. We hid in the bushes (not really, we just hid around a curve in the road) for a few minutes and then continued our ride. What a crazy situation! We have the right to be out there, yet we hid.
The trails were fun and challenging. I have been riding them in my mind every time I have run out there. I would think "could I get my wheel over that?" and "I would have to swing wide here to approach the bridge at the correct angle." and "This loose dirt on this steep long hill could be a problem." and "I'm definitely walking my bike around this." So it was great to actually get out there on the bike. Most of the spots I thought would be difficult were do-able. Some spots I never imagined would be a problem on the bike, were. We enjoyed ourselves and never did get into trouble. It was a great way to set myself up for a good work evening.