Not only am I posting less frequently than in the past, but many of the blogs that I read seem be suffering the same fate. And, almost all of those blogs are written by people who are also Facebook friends. So, I'm left wondering if things like Twitter and Facebook are killing blogs. Do we have such a short attention span that it makes more sense to use other "micro-blogging" or social networking apps to keep up with people and let others know what we are doing?
Perhaps people don't even read blogs anymore (other than me) and I'm simply writing down what I'm thinking, and no one will even notice - trees falling in the woods kind of stuff. Or maybe, we all got tired of writing. Maybe blogging has a lifespan - getting started and being excited, with most people eventually finding themselves bored by the whole exercise.
Anyway, back to life. My training has been sporadic, with one notable exception, but I've been busy with things beyond training.
My well seems to be dying. At least, it's got problems. The color of the water from our well has ranged from cloudy to looking like something spewing from a BP well. After problems earlier this summer with my oven, both of my lawn mowers, my lawn trimmer, a chip in my windshield yesterday, the last thing I need is a huge bill for fixing my well, but it seems imminent anyway. So it goes. (Unlike Vonnegut, I'm not using that phrase to indicate the death of a character. I hope.)
The new roof that I planned to put on this summer seems to have been preempted by emergency fixes. I hope the roof can make it one more year and that our deck lasts two more years.
Last week, I took my children and one of my daughter's friends to PA for a few days. We spent a day at Hershey Park, a place I've been visiting for at least 40 years. I take our children there almost every year now. Regretfully, my daughter's friend didn't feel well, so she didn't have a lot of fun at the park. I promised her a repeat trip for next year. I got to spend some time with my uncle as well, which was nice. I saw my brother and niece. And, I even ran (part of) an ultra.
Earlier this year, my friend Deborah told me she was planning a vacation on the east coast around this time of year, and suggested we do an ultra together. After going through calendars, we settled on the Catoctin 50K in MD on 7/31. But, as the season progressed, my motivation was low, my injury issues continued, and I simply didn't train enough. The course is an out and back with a 4:15 cut-off at the turnaround. The cut-off isn't strictly enforced, partly because the race is closer to 33 miles than 31, but I doubted I could do that much distance in 4:15 at my current level of conditioning. But, I'd signed up and I wanted to spend some time catching up with Deborah.
The weather was perfect, and after a few equipment problems (leaky bladder in my hydration pack, forgotten clothing), we were off. We were instantly near the back of the pack, waiting for a logjam to clear at some stairs. The course was more down than up on the way out, but I found myself struggling to make good time on some of the downhill sections.
The terrain reminded me very much of the terrain where I grew up in PA and the terrain on the Appalachian Trail in southern PA. This shouldn't be surprising, given how close we were to those locations. But, the type of terrain was familiar to me and it felt like I should have been moving faster.
A few miles into the race, I lost my footing while crossing a stream and went down hard. I still have bruises, but no real damage was done.
About mile 6, my Forerunner showed that we weren't moving close to fast enough to make it to the turnaround in time. I tried to get Deborah to go on without me, but she said we'd just do it together and take what we got. And then, she started to get mean! Instead of leading, she dropped behind me and kept telling me when to run. Around the 9 mile mark, I took another fall when I tripped on something.
By the aid station at mile 9.5 or so, it was clear we'd never make the turnaround. But, Deborah kept pushing and I kept trying to run. All spring, I'd been telling her I was fat and out of shape, but she didn't believe me until last Saturday. She believes me now.
We kept moving, hoping that maybe the cut-off at the turnaround was very liberal. But, about a mile from the turnaround, we encountered the sweep runners heading the other way. That guaranteed that we would be done at the turnaround.
The sweeps going our direction ran the last half mile or so with us and suddenly we were done - 16.3 miles in 4:58 according to my Forerunner - just over 18 minutes per mile, when we'd needed to average closer to 15 minutes per mile to make the cut-off.
Deborah barely got in a good workout, but the truth is that I got worked by the trail. Four days later, I'm still sore.
The day after the race, we drove home. Monday night my wife and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary with some nice Champagne. This weekend, I'm going to cook a nice dinner for my wife and her family at her family's camp in northeastern VT as a second anniversary celebration.
And then, next week, I'm going to abandon my family for two weeks while I take a much needed vacation trip to California. I'm going to visit with old friends, drink some nice wines, eat some good food, relax as much as I can, and do some hiking and running.
At the end of this month, I'm on a six-person relay team for Vermont's 100 on 100 race, so I need to do some training to get ready for that one.