Following the Highlands Sky trainer, I was feeling pretty good physically. I did an easy 8 miles on Sunday following the trainer and last week was a "cycle down" week. I've not heard that term before, but the Santa Clarita Runners use it in their training schedule. It was a recovery week, and came at a perfect time. I could definitely tell a difference in the way I felt with the lighter schedule that week. Now we're ramped back up again. Back to that in a moment.
So last Saturday night I was hanging out, reading and just generally relaxing. For some reason, the funk came rolling back in. I don't know why I get that way, but I was ready to hang it up. I felt the same way Sunday morning, when I was scheduled for 8 with nice weather. I was actually ready to call the race director (Dan Lehman) and tell him to give my slot to someone on the "wait list." Thankfully I didn't go that far. I ate, got dressed and headed to the trail head. After 200 yards on the trail, all of the gloom went away. I just don't get it. The emotional ups and downs are making me nuts. It turned out to be a great run. Moderate temps and mostly sunny skies. Much of the mud had dried up which was very nice. In stead of sucking my shoes off, the dried mud mad for a soft foot fall, almost like running on a high end track.
I did have one negative experience Sunday. I passed a couple of backpackers who had 3 unleashed dogs with them. I'm not a canine phobe, and in more than 35 years of running, I have only had one semi bad experience with a dog, and it wasn't really that bad. In fact, I kind of fancy myself the "dog whisperer." Anyway, I stopped running and this little ankle grabber approached me. I put my hand down so Fido could sniff me, and the little mutt nailed me. Actually he just tore my running glove and didn't break the skin. The embarrassed owner said the shots were current. No harm, no foul, so I headed on down the trail. The funk is still in remission and I've felt good this week.
My friend, Adam Casseday (Adam is running the Massanutten 100 in Virginia next month), suggested I start working some climbing runs into my weekly schedule, in preparation for the first half of Highlands Sky. He suggested a couple of routes "in my back yard," one of which I had previously ridden on my mountain bike. I didn't even think of it, but it really fit the bill. A mile and a half of continuous uphill, most of it fairly steep. I ran it Wednesday evening for the first time and felt pretty good. Ran the entire thing which was a major goal. I'm going to run one more single on it next week and then begin some repeats. I know it will pay off.
I'm feeling stronger and know my training is paying off. I just have to keep warding off these seemingly spontaneous funks. Thanks to everyone, runners and non-runners alike who continue to give me support and positive feedback.