So what’s next?

October 9, 2005

I titled this post “So what’s next?”, thinking about what outdoor adventures are next on my plate since I won’t be running the MCM. Immediately after deciding on my topic I had to laugh at myself, as the sole reason that I’m not running the MCM is lack of training time. (I have a wife and 4 wonderful kids, demanding career, overfull schedule of church and civic activities, and a house that is one fixer-upper project after another). No matter how much I’d like to be training for a marathon, or triathalon, or section hiking the Appalachian Trail, or whatever, I simply don’t have the time. So, I need to do two things: (1) try to scale back on some of the non-essentials (see “overfull schedule”, above), and (2) be deliberate about getting outside, without biting off more than I can chew (see “Gut Check Revisited”, previous post).

So, that said, what’s next? As the weather starts to turn cooler, some day hikes on the AT with my family are definitely in order. One of the greatest gifts that my dad gave me was his love for the outdoors, and I want to pass that along to my kids (ages 12, 9, 7 and 2). I’m fortunate that my wife shares that love, to a point, at least. I don’t think I’ll ever get her on a river, but I have gotten her to climb and rappel!

What else…running some middle-distance races (no marathons for the time being), an occasional afternoon kayaking excursion on a nearby river (although I still need some lake or swimming pool practice with the eskimo roll before I can consider anything too adventurous), some backyard camping to get the kids into it…. The next big adventure possibility that I see is a springtime rafting trip – either the New or Upper Yough. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep things interesting, in life and in this blog.

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Gut check revisited

October 8, 2005

Well, today was gut check time. My guts, as it turned out, were fine. My knees, however, were another story. The wheels came off at mile 12. I was able to squeeze out one more mile for a total of 13 before I called it a day, having come to terms with the fact that my training (or lack thereof) had caught up with me . A 41-year-old cannot reasonably hope to run a marathon on 2 runs a week, which is all I’ve been able to manage lately. Lesson learned.


Gut check

October 6, 2005

I’m running the Marine Corps Marathon next month. I’ve never run a marathon (26.2 miles) before; in fact, my longest run to date is 16 miles, and that was several weeks ago. My training calendar tells me I’m supposed to run 20 this weekend – how that goes will play a huge role in how I’m feeling going into the marathon. I know two things for certain: (#1) I haven’t been training nearly enough, and (#2) I can run farther than I think I can. Steve Prefontaine once said that he didn’t run races to see who was the fastest, he ran races to see who had the most guts. In that spirit, I’m counting on #2 overriding #1.


Why outside?

October 4, 2005

Why outside?

I went rafting this weekend on the Upper Gauley River in West Virginia – world-class, 5+ whitewater. On the long drive back home, as our moods began to change from euphoric to contemplative, conversation slowed and then stopped. Then, after a few minutes, one of my friends broke the silence.

“I was just thinking,” he said. “Out there on the river, everything is so simple. You’re getting ready to head into a big Class 5 rapid, you get yourself braced into position, and you’re listening for commands from the guide, ready to react. Everything is focused on that. No distractions, no deadlines, no responsibilities, just you out there on the river. You and the water. There’s nothing else like it.”

That’s why outside.