Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trickling toward fall

All around me now are subtle first hints of fall. Deeper chills in the morning air. Red leaves on the mountain ash berries. Devil's club wilting. Fireweed blossoms closing. Alpine ground cover showing hints of yellow. Oh, and then there's the nonstop rain. That's a definite sign of fall in Juneau.

I think I have finally found a place to live in Juneau. It's not available for another few weeks, and it's quite small, but it's cheap, secluded, scenic, cat-friendly and serves all of my needs - mainly, a dry place to rest my head and my bikes, with a shower and a garden hose to keep them both clean. Everything else is just excess. It's out in Fritz Cove, which is about 10 miles north of town. It will be my first time living on the mainland - no more Douglas Island, which makes me sad. But this place also doesn't require me to make any longterm commitment, which makes me happy.

I am still moving slowly toward my resolve to start up a training routine. Doing whatever I want every morning has been fun, but as the weather deteriorates, it's been harder and harder to motivate. My recent solution for horrible weather has been running. It makes perfect sense. Running is already full of suffering, so it doesn't matter much what the weather is doing. I made an attempt to run/jog/speed-hike/trudge up to Gold Ridge today. I'm hoping to include some intensity work in my repertoire in the near future, so I have to test my mental resolve to keep pushing the throttle when every synapse in my body is firing pain and my thoughts dissolve into unintelligible screams and grunts. I pushed to this level twice, swallowing gasps of lung-piercing raindrops and cold wind, leg muscles throbbing and head pounding as I splashed through goopy mud up the steep slope. It's a good way to gain 2,700 feet in just over an hour. It's not a good way to leave yourself feeling like you are worth anything during your nine hours at work later that evening.

But, high-intensity workouts do have their immediate mental rewards. I can see why people like them. Endorphins are pretty cool (but wear off much too quickly.) I hear high-intensity workouts improve your performance as well, but I hear this only works if you keep yourself in a constant state of pain. If you are not limping into work every afternoon, head spinning and feeling like your quad muscles are going to melt right off your femur, then you are not working hard enough. So I hear.