I had my doubts more than a few times these last few weeks. Yet here it is. Finally.
That’s not to say it’s still not cold out. We’re still wearing hats and gloves, and layers out on the trail, but we’re at least seeing the ground beneath us and if there is anything I’ve learned this winter on the island, its that simple traction is in and of itself, something to be grateful for.
We still will see snow in patches between mountains well into May, but just being able to run, just run is so exciting. Piecing together the various trails in Acadia National Park because you WANT to run them, not because they are the only passable ones, opens up a world of fun that for the most part, has been really restricted this winter. I haven’t run more than 11 miles since the Black Canyon 60K in Arizona back on Feb 17th. Only once did I run 11 miles, nothing else over 10 miles since then. Now that we are past the last major snowstorms, and recent rain and 40-50 degree weather for a week plus, the majority of the trails are runnable. And that gives me a lot of motivation going into the spring running season.
Heading into running season I have to keep goals dangling in front of me or I struggle mightedly with consistency. Lining up a cross island traverse of the park in May was key as it was something I really enjoyed last May but wasn’t able to allocate the time to do the full distance. It’s about a 50K from point to point and this year should be a lot of fun now knowing the terrain and trails that much more. It’s a lot of climbing and a punishing route, but a stunning one and I’m excited to see it through.
Leading up to that over the next month I have to build up my base and get back to those big mileage runs and get used to the granite again. Much of the mountains are a bedrock of granite and while the lower trails are plush, soft pine needle trails the upper reaches of the trail network are almost exclusively running on rock. Going up is fine, but the downhill on the granite can give me some problems if I don’t build back up to it. One great thing about the snow is the cushion it provides. After a 13 mile, four hour run today I’m looking to jump into 30 mile weeks for the next two weeks and then 45 and then hit the traverse that week. It’s not a lot of training but my body is used to short training schedules followed by a painful day long abuse of my body.
With that base on my body I really want to take a crack at the FKT for the 26 peaks in Acadia National Park. It’s a bit of an unknown one with little information on what was attempted in the past, and with so many variations, hard to nail down what that might even be. So if nothing else, I’ll create my own attempt, go for it, and someone can at least use that time as some kind of measuring stick. I don’t care about the time, more about the effort and having a set goal to motiviate me. I can do the miles and the climbing. I need more to push me to train hard. A fixed time goal is enough for me.
I struggle planning further out than that. So much in my life now depends on the immediate, and often so much changes that makes 3-4+ months out planning needless for me. So I focus more on the training for the next 30 days, and 60 at the most. I find that I can focus more on getting in shape and for the next few weekends, then planning 3 months out and not knowing what family or work committments are going to shut down those plans. At the end fo the day, running is dead last on the overall calendar in terms of priorities. I’ve learned to not get too excited and put too many eggs in the proverbial running basket, chances are it’ll just end in disappointment.
But the the next 30 days? Yeah, I’m going to crush those.