Spring Training

As the calendar turns to March, the racing season lies ahead and you wonder if you’re anywhere near ready. Hard to know what kind of shape I’m in, though as I look back over the last month it seems like training is going in the right direction.

After a low key January in Iowa, I headed back to Oregon with a stop in Missoula, plowed through the snow for a few weeks then finally made it onto the dirt around Bend. I’ve wanted to live here ever since first visiting and my friends Fox and Rocklocks from the pct have given me the chance. The clear skies, soft surfaces, abundant hills and open spaces seem like a perfect training environment, or at least a new proving ground. Juniper and sage wake you up in the eleventh mile and unnamed dirt roads stretch to the horizon. Sure, there’s a healthy share of condos and shopping complexes to navigate, but once you get past the clutter your feet are free to find the high desert and roll.

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Repeats up Missoula’s “M” on a clear Feb day

In February I averaged about 9 hours of running per week, with at least one solid tempo or vertical workout, plus a long run. Tuesday nights with Max King’s group has introduced new running partners and kicked my butt, and I’m looking forward to exploring more new routes on the outskirts of town. Check: Horse Ridge, Cove Palisades, North Main Canal road, Powell Buttes. Yet to come: Smith Rock/Grey Butte, Pine Mtn, Newberry Crater, Badlands. This is just the winter desert list. Once the high country melts a whole new realm opens.

Time other than running has been spent scouring job options and helping friends fix up their new (old) house. For the near future, I’ll be staying in the stylishly remodeled loft, aka attic. Access via ladder and climbing holds should build upper body strength.

First race of the season is now less than two weeks at Portland Shamrock! Word is they’ve brewed a new batch.

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Clark Fork river just upstream of Missoula. Tough snow running.

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