Monday, October 21, 2013

Endurance? Check.

I go out and push for the sheer love of it. There is no real glory headed my way – only the variety that I create in my heart when I destroy yet another perceived barrier.  Heidi Swift

After my off year last year, one of my goals for this summer was to rebuild some endurance.  So I've been working at it: long and longer trail runs, long and harder roller skis, and biking to work almost every day.  I have had some fun times in the forest and on the roads, but after my delicious five-hour run at Cougar last weekend, I was done with distance, the chilly fog and damp trails and crispy autumn leaves making my body think of ski season and intensity.

But first, I had one more long day in the mountains on my schedule.  Michael and I have been talking for ages about tackling the length of the Tiger Mountain Trail, from its southernmost point to its northernmost.  It's not an easy walk in the park; parts of it are pretty remote, and with all the trails criss-crossing it, navigation can be a challenge, so I didn't really want to do it by myself.  When we finally settled on this late October weekend for our traverse, we knew weather could be an added challenge, but lucky for us, Seattle is still trapped in these interminable weeks of cold, soupy fogmageddon.  We were pretty sure our journey would take us above the clouds and into the sunshine, and that's exactly what happened!

It was a long day; there were navigational challenges, but there were also gorgeous fall colors and wide open views and sunlight slanting through trees and burbling brooks and fun conversation and hours of running and hiking and climbing and, finally, descending back into the fog. 

It was a lovely day, and a perfect way to finish off the long slow distance season.

Now, onto intensity!  I've already got a couple of good hills at Cougar and Tiger picked out for some intervals, and this video from Torin Koos, training with the Swiss ski team, made me think of one of my favorite roller ski hills in Discovery Park.  So bring on the dark and the rain and the cold winter air, the pounding heart and bursting lungs; ski season is a month away, and what doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

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