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.