Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ninja Trail Runner?

The new Asics are white no more.
Trail runs are the #1 thing I like right now.

Today originally was supposed to include a return to Magnolia Road, the classic Boulder run. Kathy was going to come up to run it with me, as she needs some serious hill challenges ahead of April's Big Sur Marathon (and me, I just like Ol' Mags).

But the cold I mentioned after last week's Snowman Stampede 5 Mile race turned out to be a bigger foe than I thought. I ended up shuffling through the Presidents' Day holiday and then feeling so bad that I stayed home from work on Tuesday AND Wednesday. I managed a weak 50-minute run on Tuesday, but afterwards had one those headaches, very rare for me, that start with flashers and end up with me in bed for a couple of hours in the dark. So Wednesday I just cut my losses and went straight for the bed. The one good thing about it is that it explains my disappointing performance in the race the prior Saturday.

I'm much better now, but I wasn't up for Ol Mags and her 8,000-plus-foot elevation and hills. I did want something interesting, though, so I ran an out-and-back at Hall Ranch, whose trails are better known for mountain biking, just west of a quirky little town called Lyons in North Boulder County. It's not spring yet, but the mud that marks our trails in that season was already an obstacle. For two hours, I slopped through it and some lingering snow under crystal clear skies, passing only two bikers on the way out and several more bikers, plus three hikers, on the way back.

Sometimes I need to do runs like this to remind myself I live in Colorado. Many of my days, as nice as they are, full of library books, preschool activities, grocery shopping and time on the Internet, could be lived anywhere. But it's outside in Colorado that you get the whoosh of the wind through evergreens, the intoxication of crushed pine under dirty trail shoes, the glitter of quartz in the half-buried stones you hurdle on the climbs, and the sight of the hoary heads of Long's Peak and Meeker Mountain rearing above you as you round a bend and emerge from a forest into a burn field.

Another thing I like right now are these:

My son Will holding my new *black* Asics. Maybe I should've worn those on the trail. Nah--I need real trail shoes.
Black is my favorite color to wear. The women in my wedding party wore black (and they each chose their own dress in that shade; I wanted them to have a dress they actually liked, and we all know I have no taste anyway). And if I'm not attired like a ninja while running, I feel gaudy.

So when I saw that my Asics GT-2170s come in all black, I wanted some. I didn't want to spend another $110, however. So I went to Zappo's and found last year's model (the 2160) in all black on sale for $80. They arrived the day after I ordered them. I can't wait to wear them on my next easy run (which will be tomorrow since I missed so many runs during the week).

In all their inky glory!
Seriously, though, I had been wanting a second pair of shoes to alternate in with my others. My back and hip's aches are still very much there and will be at least until March 6, when I see the physical therapist my doctor recommended. I'm doing all I can to make things easier on my body without scrimping on training (avoiding a two-hour run on concrete today was part of that plan, too).

If while doing that I can look even more like a ninja on some runs, all the better!