week eleven.

I admit it.  Work is kicking my ass.  And I do NOT like admitting to that.

It happens every year about this time, as I struggle to put a buying season behind me (pre-purchasing for the Fall season to kick off in another 6 months) while simultaneously getting Spring product arrivals live on the Backcountry Edge website and working with Clipper Magazine to put the finishing touches on our print catalog.  At the same time, I need to be monitoring inventories and chasing down product we need and putting the brakes on the arrival of product we don't need.  These are all good things and, individually, each of these tasks is something that I genuinely enjoy, especially when held up against the mirror of past employment.  The convergence of all these things things, however, can get to be a bit much.

Such is the case at present.

Long days and the need to blow off steam makes running that much more rewarding.  Unfortunately, I have found myself struggling to crawl out of bed in the mornings after working into the wee hours of the night or having tossed and turned while my brain churned over task lists instead of embracing the rest it so desperately needed.

In quieter times, the alarm going off at 5:00 AM is met with some reluctance and requires an initial force of will to get to my feet.  Soon thereafter, though, I find myself glad to be awake and excited to hit the trail or road.  In several instances during the last week I either couldn't muster the necessary willpower to rise or I had enough clarity to correctly recognize that my body (and brain) needed the sleep more than it needed the exercise.

Enough with the explanations.  I only managed my bare minimum of 21 miles last week.  This is a fairly random (and perhaps meaningless) number that I landed on when I decided to start documenting my mileage that roughly works out to 1000+ miles if carried out for a full calendar year.  Averaging 3 miles a day actually gives you a 100 mile cushion but never knowing when sickness, injury or circumstance will put me on the shelf for days or, gulp, weeks at a time, it seems like as good a goal number as any other.  I think it's also a fairly realistic figure for at least maintaining fitness during a thin stretch though not nearly enough to improve fitness and nowhere near where I would like to be if life cooperated.

I'm not at all interested in trading the other hours of my day or week that are devoted to family for miles on the running log.  So, for now, things are what they are and I'll manage what I can until things settle back down.

The upside is that I've found myself able to really push pace.  Hopefully I can effectively balance that speed against the need to be disciplined over significantly longer distances.  That's a problem I'm stoked to solve.

Here is the latest evidence:

Thursday, March 17 - Pre-work run at Pumping Station and on Mole Hill - Strong effort after a few days off UNTIL hitting the wall on Mole Hill and slowing to a snail's pace.

Friday, March 18 - After work out-and-back on the R2T - good bounce-back from the sluggish day prior.

Saturday, March 19 - Mill Road to Sun Hill to Rt 72 to Power Road modified loop - Really pleased with the 7:07 pace on fatigued legs and while tackling good road hills.

Sunday, March 20 - Disappointed to not manage time on the trail, but pushed hard to make up for it - The 6:49 pace isn't far off 5K/5 mile race pace for me back when I was several years younger.

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