I am a CPA, so that means long hours this time of the year. I work every day from February 1st on, that means Sundays too about 70+ hours a week. I work with my eye on the prize, April 15th and the melting of the snow. They usually come around the same time.
I often have pangs of jealousy reading about other's long runs or race reports because I am relegated to the 4 milers. And the scary things is I am going to run 100 miler in June, based on a series of 4 milers, that's right, that's the training plan. Jealous?
4 milers are done in frantic fashion starting with changing clothes here at the office and pretty much putting on whatever I can find. Might be smelly, might not be mine but I am wearing it. Then I drive like a madman to the trailhead (god forbid I run on the roads). We hit the parking lot and darnit! people I know are there. They have a whole hour maybe more for lunch. And really, is there any polite way to say "I would love to talk to you but my 4 miler is more important than you talking to me", no I guess not.
I definitely find that my pace is quicker and I end up sputtering up the first hill realizing that I am not in shape. But who cares? It's sunny and blue skies and the snow is hard packed with a skiff of powder for traction. Sophie is playing with every dog we pass and there was about 22 dogs today. It's a good day and for 40 minutes, I am not thinking about like kind exchanges, partnership returns or how I am going to get it all done.
I was reading Trailrunner last nite and came across the article about meditation during exercise. They talked to Darcy Africa (possibly the best ultrarunning name) and she meditates before races and uses meditation during races. It was a good read and I tried some of the techniques of focusing on breathing and your foot strikes as opposed to what you would really like to say to your boss. It worked, off and on, when I remembered to focus. Meditation has been an ongoing challenge of mine for years. I read Eat, Pray, Live recently and while I thought the book overall was sanctimonious crap, I did think she took some interesting ideas from others. So it's was all a continuation of a theme.
I also was lucky enough to encounter a chatterbox on the trail, someone that any other time of the year, I would chat with. I had run into this fellow before, on Valentines day of all days and he went on about the virtues of his unneutered lab. Sophie thought this dog was better than reese's peanut butter cups so I wasn't getting away anytime soon. And who knew how much there was to know about unneutered male dogs? So I run into him again today but I am on my 4 miler so it was head down, quick hi and pointing to my ears where I realized there were no headphones in (busted). But on the way back, I was treated to something extra special because he had taken his shirt off. We live in Wyoming, no one takes their shirt off until August at the earliest, he must not have gotten the memo.
I even got in a fartlek at the end, felt like I was flying. My feet were digging in and then floating, my arms were pure propulsion and it felt good. That is until the coughing fit hit me like some bad smoker or someone getting over that bronchial crap that's going around.
Got back to the office with an attitude adjustment and things seemed a little better, thanks to the 4 miler.