Monday, August 24, 2009

Ditch trail

Living out of a suitcase for four months hasn't bothered me at all until today, when I was suiting up for a run with Abby on the Treadwell Ditch Trail, and all three pairs of running shoes were in various states of muddy and wet. I probably have an extra pair of running shoes stashed away somewhere; I may even have a boot drier. But today I had to pull on one of my wet pairs, green slime still glistening on the laces, a musty aroma of mildew on the mesh, bits of bark pressing down on my toes and muddy water gurgling out of the soles, as I contemplated the life of a runner in Juneau.

I am really starting to hit my stride with trail running ... starting to think about all the places I can take it ... starting to think about ways I can improve it ... starting to (gulp) enjoy it. If I can bear to leave my bike at home, there's still a whole lot of terrain surrounding me that I have yet to experience. And while walking can be relaxing, running tends to get you there faster, with larger doses of happy chemicals, and a greater feeling of accomplishment.

I still have little interest in 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons ... really, anything that involves pounding feet on pavement. Which is good. It means that if I do start running more, my fun won't be threatened by the temptation to turn it into training for some kind of race, because what kind of foot races are held in Alaska in the winter? (OK, there's the Little Su 50K. Don't tempt me.)

Or maybe ... do tempt me? I'm still very uncertain what I really want to do with this winter, but I do need goals to keep me motivated and I do need daily excursions in the outdoors to keep my spirits up. And right now, I am struck with this feeling that I need to do something different, even as I remain in Juneau with the same job and the same limited bike route options. Training for a 50K? Is that a completely idiotic idea? Or is it maybe just what I need?

Either way, it's fun to formulate different ideas and goals, even ones that contradict each other.