Wye Island NRMA

Wye Island NRMA

Monday, March 30, 2015


As we crested the peak, my Garmin beeped, notifying me that we had completed another mile. Twelve minutes and twenty-nine seconds earlier Tristram and I began a steep ascent on a single-track trail that would take us high above Harper's Ferry, where we started our run. During our climb, we negotiated switchbacks and scrambled over jagged granite.

These same rocks that impeded our progress had tormented the blistered, broken feet of both Union and Confederate soldiers in their efforts to control the strategic town. In light of the region's not-so-distant history, heavy with human suffering, our plight was palatable. Our reward was view of the valley's splendor, which Thomas Jefferson described as "perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature." 

We celebrated the first weekend of spring by running along the Appalachian Trail (AT), a course that required arduous climbing.  In the four months since my December marathon, where I attained a new personal best of 2:27, I have been doing nothing but climbing. Two injuries, a fall on the ice that took a tooth and gave me my first concussion, and a body in rebellion against the pavement have stripped me of hard-earned fitness. Although my injuries have healed, my body can't handle the pounding of running on the roads.

Throughout much of January and February, I cross-trained almost daily, which, in retrospect, may have aggravated my injuries and prolonged my recovery. I've had several false starts since resuming daily running. With each passing week throughout the late winter, I omitted another race from my spring schedule. I've now accepted that returning to a high level of training will take time, and I'll have to adapt my ambitious plans for 2015.

I ran every day last week comfortably, without any physical inhibition. I need to seek out soft surfaces as frequently as possible; the body holds up better on the forgiving trails and grass. My recuperation and inability to race is an opportunity to develop as a trail runner and spend more time exploring the region's parks. I spent the last two Sundays on the Maryland AT, something I wouldn't have done within the constraints of a 90-mile week, structured workout plan, and full racing schedule.    
Let's keep climbing.
Weverton Cliffs, Maryland

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