Stormy, soothing skies

I couldn’t capture this morning’s seriously stormy awesomeness that was the outdoors of northern Michigan because I decided to go Nike GPS+/phone/camera-free. Didn’t have my tunes, went without knowing my pace or distance or time. It was just me, the bright-green budding tree branches, bubbling streams under planked bridges, chirping birds and popping trillium blanketing the hilly trails in the woods behind the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

It was blissful. More than once, lost in my concentration of dodging knotty tree roots and staring in awe at the chalky-blue sky peeking through the thick forest of enormously tall trees, I wondered if I couldn’t just spend all day exploring the meandering paths. What if I took a left here, a right over that little hump of dirt and then straight up that steep stretch of dirt and rocks? What if I just kept going and going?

I’m in the homestretch of marathon training, a somewhat surreal feeling as I think back on the many, many days of running I’ve logged since late December. Just three more weeks. Two and a half, really, if you want to get technical. As it happens any time something you’ve been working toward is finally close at hand, emotions run the gamut of excitement and anticipation to nervousness and anxiousness. Do I feel ready, people ask me. Yes, yes I do…and yet, I can’t help wondering if I’ve done all that I can – and what more should I do? – to ensure a great race.

Update on my right foot, which I mentioned in my last post was hurting following a planned 10-miler. I took three days off, iced the bottom of my foot/heel every night, rolled a tennis ball beneath it (scrunching up my toes on that foot was another form of exercise Lisa suggested) and basically just took it easy with runs once I gave it a try after those days of rest. I started with 3 miles, then 4, assessing the pain as I went. Thankfully, amazingly, I felt good! On a pain scale of 1-10, I gave it a 1-2.

I’ve since logged a couple of longer runs – 12 miles this past weekend and 9 yesterday – and am feeling strong. I’m not entirely without twinges, in that right foot and also behind my right knee/lower hamstring, but Lisa reminds me that I’m going to feel some aches at this point in my training. The hope, of course, is that any pain remains manageable and doesn’t worsen.

We also modified my training, going from three 20-milers down to just one, which I’ll do this Saturday morning. Then the taper begins!

Back to this morning’s soul-soothing run through the woods. I needed it. I’m sure it’s a combination of many things, but I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge how overwhelming it is fitting in marathon training. Part of it is the month of May. I swear it’s a busier time kid- and family-wise every year — even more so for me than the winter holidays. Anyone else experience this?? Spring sports, end-of-school-year activities, mounting work commitments…On the one hand I’m thrilled more than ever to have running for stress relief. And yet, how to squeeze everything in and still sane, even with a healthy outlet to turn to?

What is helping: trail running. There’s just something about getting out into the woods after months of pavement pounding…And good friends who continue to cheer me on throughout this training. And trusting my training.

More soon – I want to share how my 20-miler goes. Some planning is going into this long one – planting water, getting dropped off 6 miles into the Bayshore course so I can run it to the turn-around point and back to the finish, celebrating with breakfast afterward (it’s 20 MILES after all!) — and I want to share this with you all. Also want to talk The Taper.

Wherever you may be, in life and in running, wishing you all a satisfying, even stormy, kind of soothing run today.

An official countdown-meter:

I made this widget at

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