Monday, April 7, 2014

Stumbling Into Spring

Photo credit: Andy, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
"Little darling, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here ...
Little darling, I feel the ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear ..."
From The Beatles "Here Comes the Sun" written by George Harrison
(my favorite version is by Richie Havens)

Finally, after an interminable winter, small signs of spring have begun to arrive. Yesterday in our garden, the first tiny points of spring flowers began to push through the dirt, and I think I even spotted an ant or two scurrying about.
Photo credit: Bre LaRow
I've had a rough winter running season, with very little mileage and non-stop struggles with my left hip - another case of piriformis syndrome. I will likely write a post on this common runners' injury soon, but for now I'm getting myself fired up about an upcoming race, my first one of the year: The Zumbro 17 mile trail race, first stop on the UMTR 2014 Grand Prix Trail Run Series.
In 2013, I managed to put together a consistent trail running season and pull off what I'd consider a bit of a miracle by winning that series. However, I came into last year with a solid base of training mileage and no nagging injuries. Ah, yes, good times. This year is very, very different.

I know in my heart that I'm not ready to compete at the 17 mile distance. I would probably be okay at half that mileage, but 17 is going to be tough. I'll need to run cautiously and under control the entire way, and focus more on myself than on any kind of competition. And pack in some calories, because I'm imagining that I'll be out on that course for quite some time. I'll leave the competition part to my wife Monika, who is coming off a strong training cycle and I think will be a force to be reckoned with during the 2014 series. We did a 10.5 mile trail run just over a week ago on snow-covered trails at Lebanon Hills Regional Park, and she was just floating along. I'd like to run with her next weekend, but I suspect she'll drop me early and simply run away. And I'll be the proud husband wobbling in, well-behind!

I hope your winter miles have come more easily these past few months. Good luck to all as you tackle spring 2014. I'll be back with a race report on the Zumbro 17 after the weekend. A brief search just now couldn't turn up any detailed race reports from the past two years, so if you know of any please post a link in the comments below.