JUST KEPT CLIMBING

I joined the ‘August Run Climbing Challenge‘ on Strava, which set a goal of running up 2000 meters in during the full month. This got me exploring some of the more hilly trails in the past few weeks.

On a Tuesday I set off for The Pinnacle, which starts very matter of factly as this yellow gate. In total it was 898′ of climbing, mostly power hiking because a lot of it is over 10% grade (it even hits 20% at one point). That was a 3.6 mile adventure in under an hour, and it even started raining at the end, which was very nice.

Then on Wedneday night my buddy Mimi hit me up, saying she’d be in town for a bit, so I went to crash with her and her family that night, so we could run up Mount Minsi the next morning. This was 1,171′ of climbing, and again it was steep, upwards of 20 and 30% grade in parts when you just sort of had to crawl up the mountainside. It was amazing. We did that, plus some extra miles to and from the trail head (because of this cool creek crossing) for a total of 6.15 miles, in just under two hours.

Then Friday night, I’m feeling good, an my friend’s still in town and leaving the next morning. She texts me saying we should run up the other side, Mount Tammany in NJ. So I got up at 6am on Saturday, drove up her way, and we set off for the trail (and parked much closer this time).

So we start that at about 7:30am, before it got too warm or crowded. This climbs up to about 1500′ in elevation in 1.5 miles, so pretty steep in places. Lots of rocks to climb over. It’s like going to fucking Mordor. But we made it, and you can see the other peak in the distance, which is what we climbed two days prior (Strava).

Afterwards we get some Dunkin Donuts, we’re hanging out, all is good, and I head back home. Then I get the idea to drive to Palmerton, PA and try running up that peak!

I stop at a grocery store and pick up some yogurt (for protein), some fruit (carbs), some iced oatmeal cookies to use as a spoon for the yogurt, a gallon of water, and a Gatorade. Turns out after eating this, then waiting about 30 minutes, I was able to give the trails in Palmerton a go.

Mercifully the trail to the summit was closed, I think, and I stayed on the Prairie Grass Trail which was grassy (duh), up and down, and led into some pretty neat sections of single track. So I ran that out a bit, then came back, for yet another 3.6 mile run.

In all that was 3,709′ of climbing, and almost 17 miles in five days time. Today is Sunday and I’m feeling pretty good overall, but definitely need a nap later today (and no running).

STOP AND REST

From a recent trip down to West Virgina, this on the Baltimore National Pike. Views for miles, a fun place to get off the highway and stretch your legs.

I haven’t driven more than 2 or 3 hours in awhile, but this was a full, eight hour day from early morning to late afternoon.

Of course, after all that driving, you wind up at a place like Burger Carte, which served up burgers so good, we went there two nights in a row.

I JUST KEEP DANCING

Via @_meanmachine on IG

Not as many miles as I wanted this week, but it’s been brutally hot out, so the few miles I’m getting feel like more bang for the buck. Running in the heat is double duty on the heart; one for the run, two for the internal cooling.

There was a half mile stretch the other night where things came together. Warmed up, legs felt great, sun beating down, and settled in at my 10:30-ish per mile pace, which I am not usually doing. I’m puttering along most of the time, really, as I don’t want to press, and wipe myself out after every run – life is hard enough already!

But yeah, that little half mile section felt good. Settled in, accepted the discomfort, eyes on the prize, chest up, and yeah, got it done.

Today’s run at the nature preserve didn’t have the same vibe, but it was a lot more climbing, which felt good. I didn’t run much of it, but I got the heart rate up, saw some buffalo, and got home without destroying myself. Felt good to have all that under control.

NOT A HOBBY

I posted one of those “I’m too tired from work to do my hobbies so when I get back to work I’m mad I didn’t do my hobbies” memes on Instagram, and meant it mostly for the music / creative side of things.

Which made me realize that biking and running have stopped being a “hobby,” and turned into who I am. I’ve been biking for 30+ years. This July I’ll have been running for six years.

I have so many running clothes, and bike tools, and fuck, I have three bikes again. A Zwift subscription. A gym membership. An Apple Watch. A Garmin for longer runs.

So those hobbies haven’t fallen off. And since January they’ve actually ramped up, as evidenced by my falling resting heart rate (hooray).

But getting in a five hour run takes more than the hour or so it takes me to run it. There’s stretching, cool down, fueling afterwards, getting to bed early to aid with recovery.

So with that, yeah, there’s not much time after a full day of work and an hour long run or bike ride for other stuff.

And right now that’s plenty okay.

FEELING STUCK

Via @NXHLVS

I don’t know how I had the energy to make daily loops in early 2021, or weekly Goodnight, Metal Friend mixes, or live audio streams a few nights a week.

It takes all the energy I can muster to get out for a run or a bike ride most evenings. Creating or making things is absolultey the hardest thing right now. Fuck, even trying to keep writing blog posts is hard, like this one.

But right now those runs and bike rides are enough. I’m not “creating content” like I used to, for other people to enjoy. I’m getting my butt outside, and off the computer, and just staying in the present moment enough to get the blood flowing.

Everything is hard right now, so I’m just trying my best to keep a bit of softness in my life, and not try to beat myself up for not being the most creative, or productive person right now.

BUY THAT BIKE

I said this last month:

But honestly – I turn 46 next month. Luck runs out someday, right? So in the meantime, fuck it. I’m going to spend the money on shit that makes me smile, shit I use, and shit I want, because someday the oceans will boil and shit. Today is it.

And well, I said fuck it again, and bought a mountain bike.

To be 46 and own three bikes again, well, whatever. Life is short. I’ve seen too much death in recent years. COVID has shown us all how fragile everything is. Modern society in here in America has shown us how “on our own” we truly are, so fuck it… if I want to ride on the road, or some easy rails-to-trails, I got my gravel bike.

And now, if I discover miles of single track, I have a bike that can handle it. Fuck it.

I don’t want to be on my death bed and think, “shit, I shoulda just got that bike,” or “I shoulda just went to that trail but never did.”

MORE TIME OUTSIDE

I started posting on Flickr again (here).

I bought a 1Up bike rack, making it 1000x easier to get out and get moving during the week.

Been heading for the woods on the weekends for runs and bike rides.

Highly recommended.

MORE GOOD STUFF

It’s been a week of movement. Of steady forward motion. Not sure if it’s the weather, or the kick in the pants from a recent doctors visit, but I am not standing still.

More running, more walking, more biking.

I got a hitch mount installed on my Chevy Sonic. First time ever buying an “after-market” item like that. Ordered a 1UP Bike Rack, which should be showing up soon. All an investment in my overall happiness and joy in life. If it makes it easier to get out with the bike and smile, hell yeah, I’m gonna do it.

More solid running. I’m not trying to make it all about weight, but for me being lighter makes running more joyous. I know I’m supposed to love my body, and throw out the scale and all that, but I also have a family history with this stuff, and a blood pressure that’s creeping up. So fuck it. And honestly, being more sensible and not eating a row of Oreo cookies before noon as a way to cope with day job stuff is way more unhealthy for me than stepping on a scale every day.

I keep being flippant with the ‘ole “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.” I mean, a local college student got hit by a distracted drive this past week, and days later is still in critical condition (here’s a GoFundMe link if you’d like to help out).

But honestly – I turn 46 next month. Luck runs out someday, right? So in the meantime, fuck it. I’m going to spend the money on shit that makes me smile, shit I use, and shit I want, because someday the oceans will boil and shit. Today is it.

A bit dark, sure. But hey, it’s Saturday morning and I’m up earlier than I am during the week. The upstairs neighbor is vacuuming and I’m planning on getting into the woods today. Make it great.

I SPIED ANOTHER PLACE TO RUN FROM THE ROAD

Spotted a section of paved path while driving with a friend today. On our way back I made sure to watch via Google Maps, and find out if it was a park, and sure enough it is.

Graphic design aside, the above map is from their website (hooray for websites in 2022), and it shows that the outer loop is just over a mile. And from the looks of things I could switch up some of the turns here, make loops within loops, and get some nice mileage in without going nuts, or being too far from my car.