Friday, October 23, 2009

Return to "Normalcy"

2009 has been an incredible year and I finally feel the freedom to just "exhale" and pause…………ahhh……..silence. I have thoroughly enjoyed my year and challenging (3) 100-mile trail races. I had everyone's support for the first one. Many local trail runners thought I was kinda crazy for attempting the second one 8 weeks later. When I decided to do the third…well, it went silent! I think people just thought I'd lost it and must be begging for trouble, a DNF, and injury. In retrospect, I wouldn't change a single thing except perhaps not doing the Akron Marathon two weeks prior to Oil Creek and maybe not doing the Labor of Love 5-Miler on Labor Day. Racing that 5-mile race was the beginning of my left abductor problem which presented itself in fullness at Mile 20 at Oil Creek.

Now, 2 weeks post-Oil Creek and no other 100-mile race on the "near" calendar, I must say it is nice. I did finally get the "itch" back last night for the next one, though. It took 11 days but sure enough, I'm mentally back and ready for the next one. It'll be awhile, though. The MMT100 isn't until May 2010 and the registration lottery doesn't open until December 1st. For now, I'm trying to slip back into "normalcy" which for me, includes kicking up some trail dirt on Saturday morning and every other Friday morning. I get plenty of asphalt during my pre-dawn weekday runs so I have no desire to go long on roads on the weekend. "But what about marathon training?" you may ask. Well, I'm not even going to pencil any marathons in right now for 2010. Don't get me wrong…I have nothing against the road marathon…it was my first passion…and I've got 24 under my belt. But, it's those trails that are providing all of the push and "umph" to get me out there right now. I love them more than you know! I figure that the Bobcat Trail Marathon, here in 16 short days will be marathon #25 and is a nice number to pause for awhile regarding marathons. I'm thinking more along the lines of longer and dirtier…ie: trail ultras. I want to volunteer at more, run more, and fully focus my energy in that direction. It can all change, of course, but for the foreseeable future, that's my plan.

My left abductor and left thigh have continued to remind me of their presence. I have limited myself to 5-mile road runs this past week with a pretty invasive foam-roller treatment immediately after each run while the muscles are warm. I roll 360 degrees around my left upper leg each time. Then, about an hour later at work I feel like yuck and a bit nauseous…squeezing those muscles like that flushed toxins right out into my bloodstream and the way I felt was expected after work on the roller. I continued to drink lots of water which flushed all the crud out. So far, no co-pays to the doctor or anything…and I think it is working well. Tomorrow, I'm hitting the trails at 6am from Pine Lane for 3-4 hours of nice-n-easy trail running. It will be a good reality-check of where my left leg stands in terms of recovery. Today, it feels like a million bucks…we'll see how it goes tomorrow. I'm not rushing it but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I am VERY eager to get on the trails for a very long time right now!

So, if you want to join me through the winter months on the trails and see every stinkin' inch of trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and a lot of West Branch State Park, stay tuned on here, Facebook, the NEO Trail Forum, and the Vertical Runner discussion board. I love to run alone but I love company, too and someone always shows up to run. I may love the summer months more, but cool weather and the trails are well,….simply second-to-none. "Normalcy"…abnormal to most but to me, the only way to be. See you on the trails!

Happy Trails, everyone!


Mark Carroll said...

You really have had an amazing year. It has been fun to witness it and read about it. Thanks for all that you do for our sport!

Nick Billock said...

Thanks, Mark. It has been quite a ride and I wouldn't change much at all...definitely not the (3) hundreds, for sure. It's fun now wondering what the future many places to run and a lifetime to do it!