Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break

The 4 days of March Madness might as well be a national holiday. This is particularly the case anywhere in the basketball crazed part of the country south of the Mason-Dixon line. But regardless of rooting interest or even whether someone actually cares about college basketball (or has a team worth cheering for), there is something about this particular weekend in the southeast where the season all of a sudden shifts dramatically from winter to spring. Of course this is preceded by the week just after the clocks shift forward one hour and the air is filled with pollen, which means I wake up each morning in the dark again, delirious and disoriented, drugged up on melatonin and allergy medicine. What we really need to go along with the spring forward is a real "spring break" holiday.

I took my own version of said holiday this weekend, which is far different (i.e. tamer) from what this was when I was in my early 20s. "Spring break" for me this year consisted of taking Friday off and heading up to DC to catch up with friends, which is ironic because I lived in DC for 4 years and usually regretted each year I wasn't somewhere warmer and further south. The weather was damn near perfect, however, and I caught up with a wide cross section of people from my time up there. And yes, one Friday is sadly about all the time I really had to take off this year for reasons I won't elaborate on here. Originally this was the weekend I had slotted to run Tobacco Road, but my friend Bob borrowed my bib and went on to run a PR of 3:30, so at least my entry went to good use (sorry Bob, but the results will still show my name).

View from the rooftop, Capitol Hill; 80 degree day and sunny on St.Pat's Day

Bring on the Mucinex

Cherry Blossoms were in bloom too, but I took this picture a few years ago when I still lived in DC. People get really into the cherry blossoms...

Duke's tournament run lasted all but 40 minutes this year, which was an underachievement even compared to my own pessimistic estimate of a round of 32 or 16 flame out. Congrats to Lehigh, NC State, VCU, and yes, even you Carolina... All of you did better than us.

At any rate, in my own selfish pursuits, I'm hoping the Duke loss finally broke the curse for me. The morning after, I went for my first 4 mile run all year that I finished without pain. I'm hobbling along now with a knee brace, as my self-diagnosis of my latest ailment is something called 'runner's knee', which ironically was probably caused more by cycling than running (or somewhat the combination of the two). For those of you keeping score, yes, it was my foot that plagued me in January, then I started biking, hurt my knee, so then couldn't run OR bike.

That left swimming, but I never could get into that, as sharing lanes is an awkward and uncomfortable experience, and particularly humiliating when I am getting passed by old ladies because I have a natural tendency to 1) sink to the bottom of the pool and 2) never learned the skill of the 'flip turn' appropriately. Bottom line is I am a lousy swimmer which is why I was in pollywog (remedial) swim class at the YMCA for 3 summers and notably why I've never attempted a triathlon. C2 rower intervals + Sleigh Bells went a little better than "aquajogging" but I'll be glad to be taking angry music out on the Tobacco Trail again soon enough.

Interestingly enough, the Rock and Roll Marathon / Half Marathon was taking place one block away from where I was staying in Capitol Hill, so I tagged along the race, running on the sidewalk with the people going about 9 minute pace. That was about as hard as I wanted to push it on the concrete going around the Capitol. I ran by Union Station, the Library of Congress, and came back through the residential streets behind the Capitol.

So begins the long road back to being in shape. I'm still going to show up at Mountains to Sea, probably jog the 12 miler, and then spend the summer getting my base back up for an October marathon.

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