Friday, July 12, 2013

Of absence and fondness

The 9 days we spent on the road were amazing. For the first 5 days it was just Tanker, myself and our motorcycles camping our way through Michigan and Wisconsin - we cooked all our meals on a single-burner backpacking stove, lived in a simple tent and breathed in great huge gulps of crisp, clean air.

The south end of Higgins Lake, before reaching the Upper Peninsula

Miners Castle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Miners Falls
We did some hiking at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, taking in the incredible beauty of the varied geological formations on foot after winding along the endless beaches of the North shore of Lake Michigan and the twisting forest roads along the South shore of Lake Superior on our motorbikes. Our days were filled with breathtaking sights, exciting riding and the unique challenges of minimalist camping on the go.

Our campsite on the South shore of Lake Superior, where the temperature dropped to near freezing overnight

Munising Falls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

A view worth shivering for.

It wasn't until the 4th day on the road and our entry into Wisconsin that I finally found some time for a run, tackling the 3.5 mile Forest View trail at Governor Thompson State Park. I did so with a bit of trepidation, as we spotted a young black bear just 300 yards from the trailhead! Fortunately I only encountered a doe on the trail itself, who was very obliging about moving out of my way - the terrain, ankle-height grass and hot, sunny day left me panting just trying to run at an easy pace so there's no way I could have moved quickly enough to ditch a bear. The scenery was gorgeous, and it was a wonderful way to explore the park.

Not really designed for running.

A hot and sweaty run!

This reddish sand was everywhere, especially on the uphills.

I only had time for 2 more runs on the whole trip, while at a friend's place in the West side of Central Wisconsin. Having moved far away from the Great Lakes, the temperatures soared and we absolutely roasted in the heat and sunshine! Add in the hilly terrain and lack of shade and you have a recipe for suffering rather badly, while still enjoying the opportunity to see more detail of the countryside than I ever would from my motorcycle.

They don't go much for flat in WI.

This is not the recommended way to spend a hundred degree day.

When we finally returned home on Monday after just over 3,000km in the saddle, it was right back to training. Despite a butt sore from 926km in the final 2 days (plus a ferry ride across Lake Michigan), I ran Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening. I missed going to the pool on Tuesday (the idiot swim schedule changed, so we missed our chance to cool off - grr!), but was able to head to my favourite local outdoor pool last night for my first swim in two weeks.

Who wouldn't want to swim here?

Not only am I still able to swim and run decently well, the time away has renewed my appreciation for training. It was wonderful to feel myself sliding through the water last night, and I've been thoroughly enjoying the cool evening breezes as I run around my familiar neighbourhood routes. The joy that can sometimes elude us all as the weeks of training pile up has returned, and where I might have had to convince myself to get out the door a month ago I now find myself eager to see what the next workout will bring. While I'm still quite slow, tired and a bit sore as my body protests resuming normal training after its vacation, my mind is refreshed and I can truly enjoy the process of building to my upcoming races instead of just the end result.

I can't wait to get out for a pedal this weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Go on, have at me!