Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On a rainy Monday

It rained 1.5 inches today. I went for a two-hour run on the Lemon Creek Trail (can you believe that raging whitewater is a "creek?" In Utah, major rivers have lower flows than that.) Anyway, everything about the run felt strangely exhilarating - the slimy surface of the trail, the salt water streaming down my face, the clattering of raindrops as they bounced through tree-branch filters, the thick mist blowing sideways in 25 mph wind gusts, the icy plunges into knee and thigh-deep side streams and puddles. I hate this kind of weather, but I was loving that run.

My Achilles tendons are really starting to feel better. The stretching pain only manifests itself when I take big strides, or pedal hard. I think I am ready to start riding regularly again, and am considering it - you know, training - unless we get another long block of sunlight (in which case I'll be traipsing through the mountains for all Juneau's long, wet, quickly approaching rainy season is worth, and I don't care how much it hurts or how little sleep I get.)

I know I am still not that far removed from the Divide, but I like the routine of training to: keep me motivated in difficult times; to keep me occupied in difficult times; and to spur excitement for the future. Not that I ever train with that much direction, but I do have a few hopes/dreams/goals that will require some structure:

1. Late September long weekend bike tour. (Golden Circle or TBD Alaska tour)
2. February 2010 Susitna 100. (With a goal of going light and riding fast.)
3. August 2010 TransRockies! (Oh yes, it could really happen. A friend and I have been "talking.")

Note that the last two are more athletic-driven goals, as opposed to the adventure/survival goals of my recent ultraendurance races. Both events will require the kind of focus I've never really invested before, which is why I'm excited to set them as goals. I'm excited to try something different. Although adventure is still very, very much what motivates me in cycling, I think it will be fun to seek out my athletic limits. As long as I continue to have fun and find new motivation, I think I only stand to benefit from a little bit of structure. I have enlisted a friend to help "coach" me. But the day any coach tells me to leave my camera at home is the day I stop training.

And until then, I will run in the rain, because running in the rain is surprisingly fun.


  1. I love running in the rain too...unless it's freezing cold. Then it stinks.

  2. If you ever did anything that wasn't extreme, your achilles would feel much better. 2 hr run out of the blue. I know your in crazy shape but that is a long run. Start slow on the bike and you will be fine. How about something small next year like the Leadville 100. You could ride with fatty

  3. Agree with both Missy and Slow. In fact it's amazing you can run for 2 hours (without building up duration over many weeks) - what's your secret?!

  4. Hey Jill, comment leavers,

    When running in the rain, ever notice that as run, it seems that the trajection (sp?) of the water under the sneaker splashes up as if its a little arc of water and splatters your butt? Whenever I go for a run in the rain, I end up with rainwater from my sneakers soaking my butt, the back of my thighs and calves. I'm hoping I'm not the only one?

  5. This 'friend' you've been talking to about Trans Rockies would be quite upset if you DIDN'T bring your camera...so make sure your coach has you training with the extra weight! We'll make sure the bike is 6oz lighter to make up for it...oh, and we'll work in some 'stop-start' excersizes so we won't regret halting for pics!

    Now first...I have to get this damn run out of the way... ;)


  6. Have you seen this snow bike:

  7. To achieve your athletic goals your gonna have to rock some clipless pedals - way more efficient and the stiffer shoes, as compared to your sneakers, may help your achilles too.

  8. The two-hour "run," on muddy, technical terrain (so probably averaging no more than 5 mph) is really not a stretch from the five-hour, climb-heavy hikes I've been doing on a regular basis. I'm in better shape for running right now than I am for cycling, because I've only been out for a couple handfuls of shorter rides since I came home from the Lower 48 over a month ago.

    Sara - regarding running in the rain, I've never noticed that, but it's probably because of the deluge falling from the sky. I always return from rain run/rides as soaked as I would have been if I jumped in a lake, head to toe.

    Anon, definitely agree on the clipless pedals. I just have to find a pair that don't make my frostbite toes feel like they're being pressed in a vice (stiff shoes = ouch.) But since winter is coming, and I have more things to worry about with my frostbite toes, I'll deal with that as summer approaches.

    I hope I can find a way to balance "real" training with all the things I like to do and places I like to go on a bike. If I can't, "training" will lose out, every time.

  9. Kia ora Jill,
    John Muir once said "never hurry through the rain". I love tramping in the rain and always seem to walk slower but get there faster.

  10. TransRockies! It's a terrific event - a great bike vacation for enduro heads. They do take good care of you when off the bike...as for the route, it can be pretty burly in spots. Plenty of hiking to be had, especially day 2 last year LOL. Plenty adventure, but somewhat controlled since it's not self-support.

  11. Agreed, The Transrockies is a stellar way to spend a week! I just got back from this years event and despite fairly horrific weather we still had a fantastic time!

    Like Dave said, your bike ends up being on your back for a lot of Stage 2, but that's part of the fun isn't it ;-)

    Great food, warm showers, massages if you need them, a truly world class event!

  12. Jill, have you ever thought about doing the Hoodoo 500? Its in beautiful southern utah...you should check it out http://www.planetultra.com/Hoodoo500/index.htm

  13. wow it's a beutiful natural picture, you have more other pics then post it.


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