There's nothing like that sluggish, mercury in your veins feeling around mid-spring when you throw a leg back over the bike 30 miles into your first long ride of the season, or similarly, the blunt pain of a trail run - with the gusto of last season, and the stamina of your Christmas turkey baked and stuffed.
I'm gunning for bypassing those sensations this coming spring by doing something brilliant. I'm going to punish myself right through the winter. No sense postponing the burn, when I can have it all winter long. Yep, I've ramped up the cycling again and started cranking out more miles in the Reeboks.
Through a series of unexpected and unavoidable circumstances as Summer drifted down into Autumn, I slacked off my training, with the exception of a burst of activity around the running of the NorCal Tough Mudder. When I finally found time for some heart pounding activities, I found my heart and lungs, well, pounding. More than once I was dispatched to the back of a pack I should have been leading. I managed to pass some blame off on my bruised ribs (compliments of Tough Mudder), but the truth was I had slacked off. I took winter early.
There are 2 good reasons for me to abolish the slow down. First in order is the Mt. Diablo Trail Run coming up in March - and 50k (31 miles) is a long way to run. After last year's Golden Gate Headlands Marathon there was no doubt that I would run another. I developed an instant goal of running at least one marathon a year. Because cycling is difficult in the wet, dark winter, training for a marathon seemed a natural alternative. The marathon was doable thus the beginnings of a pattern was fixed. I hadn't even considered anything more than a marathon until my friend Matt sent me a link to the Mt. Diablo run. A 26 mile marathon had proved manageable, so how hard could 31 miles be? And so began my training for the 2011 - 2012 season.
The second event is my yearly Death Ride adventure. I let slip a few weeks back that I am nurturing a hope of finishing the DR in 9 hours, total of 10 hours including lunch and stops. Word spread among my cohort like a juicy rumor. The encouragement rolled in - that was good. But now I'm held accountable - that is pressure.
The side effects of the proposed "un-winter break" are yet to be set, as is the feasibility. Factors such as Christmas and Thanksgiving are likely to fall into this season, as well as school field trips, parties for the aforementioned holidays, fall planting and raking, decorating for the aforementioned holidays, shorter periods of daylight, church and choir activities for the aforementioned holidays - Need I go on?
So we shall see how this goes. Among my favorite quotations is a verse which comes from Robert Burns's To a Mouse On Turning Her up in Her Nest With The Plow:
The best-laid schemes o'
Mice an men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us naught but
Grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
Here's holding out hope for more joy and less grief.