After my flying squirrel launch from the trail on Sunday afternoon as my right middle toe gave its best effort to leave my body and snag a root on the Buckeye Trail, I pressed on for another 8 miles and stuck to the plan for a group run on Monday night. The toe really has been feeling not too bad. Ironically, I finished last night's run and the bluish tint to it subsided a bit during the run, instead of being more beat up and a darker blue. Come this morning and the blue has morphed into more of a red with only hints of blue. It's cool to watch the body fix and repair itself almost in real time. As I got some alone time with my girls away for the evening, I headed down to the Valley last night after putting the word out about a Monday night trail run from the Boston Store. After squeezing in some extra miles before my posted started time, a shocking 5 others showed up to run with me on a route I estimated at 10-11 miles and would cover bits of the Brandywine, Valley Bridle, and Buckeye Trails. The run really was super. It was nice and warm, the deer flies weren't too bad (as long as we didn't walk), and most importantly, my right knee continued to feel great. I finished up with 14 miles for the evening and felt like much more was in the tank. However, I've resolved to the fact that my number one goal for the next 25 days until Burning River is to stay healthy and fresh in my running. I'm trained so no need to risk anything at all that could jeopardize this next event. "So-so" long runs will be on tap with nothing really too far. I'd like to keep the mileage in the 30-50 range for the time being and just pay close attention to every foot fall and any "squeak or rattle" that my body might throw at me. To that end, you'll notice a lot of question marks in my weekly schedule off to the right. I am truly taking it day by day and running whatever feels right. If my body signals "rest" then rest it is...like today. Not planning out the week and feeling obligated by that schedule is a tool I will use to focus my attention on the physical rather than a "schedule." (Treatment of the muscles in my legs via "The Stick" will continue on a daily basis just to keep things fresh and scar tissue away from the area.) I'll get back to a normal schedule, but first things first...that being a Burning River buckle. That loop, by the way, ended up being 10.4 miles tonight so I was dead on my 10-11 miles estimation. It really was a great route with such a wide variety of terrain, difficulty, and surroundings. Afterwards, I kicked back at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula with Brian and Jeff Musick...it was wing night!
It really felt great to be a trail runner last night and as night fell on the Valley and a full, bright moon illuminated the tree-tops in the Valley, I just let it soak in and relish in the greatness of an abundant natural resource we have here at our disposal...the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I am really looking forward to sharing it with an ultrarunning crowd from all over the country on August 1st and 2nd as between 100-175 runners will embark on the 100 mile journey from Squire's Castle in the Chagrin Reservation to downtown Cuyahoga Falls. Registration is on the move and ahead of previous years and many notable, very successful runners have just recently registered. As of now, less than 25 open spots remain for the August 1st event which sells out at 175 runners. Here's who is registered so far and where they are coming from. I am really looking forward to the day, seeing so many volunteer friends at the aid stations, and even seeing some folks who I ran with at the Kettle 100 who have decided to come here and run Burning River.
Thanks to Dave, Marty, Jeff, Brian, and Chris for the company last night. It was a great night to escape to the trails with you all.
Happy Trails, everyone!