I honestly believe that even as late as mid-August, when I last attempted to train in earnest, I had still not fully recovered from the Caumsett 50k in March and last winter's excessive build-up. For example, the Rothlin workout I attempted in early February, which I heard about from Nate Jenkins blog and my good friend JJ loves to bring up in any encouraging correspondence he sends me.
Through the years (1999-present), my bread-and-butter as a runner, if I have such a thing, has been racing 5 milers (sorry for using an expression DD hates) on the roads. I have had some fun and success the last few years getting into some more of the mountain races, and it has made me a better runner, but I am convinced that the roads are my strength. Maybe it's because the roads are where I started racing, never having run track or XC in high school or college, or they tend to be the most convenient place for me to train, or my larger frame can hold up to the pounding.
Anyway, the bottom line is that I may not be ready for ultras, as much as I enjoyed the high mileage training and the obscurity of the national championship, which gave me a chance to contend for a high place finish.
But I digress...the real reason I'm back posting on my running blog is because I had my best run of the year today. And it is the first day of a New Year, but it was truly my best run in over three months. I did 6 miles out and back at 6:40/mi. and felt pretty good. This was a run that a year ago I would have considered a low mileage day and a pace that I was running more or less every day, for runs 2 and 3 times as long. And I really don't want to live in the past of my running anymore, but I'm not doing a very good job so far.
So back to today and the New Year and current training.
I committed to some regular running about 3 weeks ago, and was only looking to get about 5 runs in for the month of December, just to get my legs moving again. (I only ran twice in all of October and November.) The majority of my 12 runs since (I've exceeded my goal) have been in the 4 to 5 mile range. I've been running most days at slightly slower than 7:00/mi., and anything under 7's has seemed quite difficult.
Leading up to today I had two slower than usual runs. Last Saturday I ran in northern New Jersey with my brother in law Andrew and his cousin John. We covered about 5 and a half hilly miles at 10:00/mi. It was the longest time I had spent on my feet on a run in some time and I was glad for the company.
Then Monday I experienced something of an historic running event: my son Benjamin (9 years old), my dad Kevin (69 years young) and I (39) ran together for the first time.
We chose my dad's favorite locale, the Grass Rides at Appleton Farms in Hamilton, and covered about three and a half miles of trails in three-quarters of an hour. Ben was kind of doing the sprint ahead, then walk thing, but it was beautiful. My dad had asked me to run with him as a Christmas present, so the fact that we got to do that and have Ben there, too, was pretty special. Here's a picture commemorating a great day:
Other cool stuff that has happened since mid-August:
I quit coaching at Gordon College and started working construction again. It has been a great work experience so far; we've been primarily building a beautiful custom home in Ipswich with a ton of cedar, a boathouse, mahogany deck (for the hottub), pergola (I think that's how you spell it) and a lot of other neat detail. We're onto the interior trim, so probably have less than a month left there. And we keep joking that we're going to move into the house when it's done; I mean, it is really nice, like the kind of place I wouldn't be able to afford if I received in advance all the money I could make for the rest of my life and had no expenses other than purchasing the house. (Joe, you can skip to the next bullet point now.) Also, the guys like the same music as me, even though they are probably the youngest people on the planet that are into Dinosaur Jr, so that has been fun.
I got to go to DIII XC Nationals in Wisconsin, with a former runner of mine,who became the first Gordon runner ever to qualify for DIII Nationals. He acquitted himself well, finishing in the top half of a very competitive race, and running only a couple seconds slower than his PR, in a race he never figured to attend this year. And he is only a sophomore, so hopefully he'll have another chance or two to improve his place.
I've been reading a lot and spending a lot more time with my family, with weekends free for the first fall in a decade. This has meant getting some projects done at our house, with help from all my kids. We built a 12' x 18' deck that my father in law designed and helped me foot. I got three big new windows that we replaced for a customer and they were a nice upgrade for our home. And a couple weeks ago I started putting together what is turning out to be a pretty big treehouse in our backyard.
And most significantly, Heather found out she is pregnant with our fourth child, and we went ahead and found out that we are having a third girl! She discovered the news on my first day at my new job. I had a text in the morning that said: "Call me when you get a chance." And an hour later a second text: "I am pregnant."