There's a chill in the air and the roads are quiet. I'm jogging across Baseline Road towards Kitt Field, the venue for the days workout. These mornings have been colder lately, as we transition into Winter, but still, it's nearly 50 degrees and almost December. Blame it on Global Warming, solar flares, and the Mayan Armageddon, either way it's a nice morning for a workout.
As usual, there's barely a cloud in the sky and the Flatirons are leaping out of the plains in the distance, their ragged edges allude to their escape, perhaps they clawed their way out of the even grounds before they reached fresh air. The natural beauty of Colorado never gets old, and this picturesque backdrop to a painful oxygen-debt style of a workout seems odd, but appropriate. I soak in the views as I circle the turf field awaiting Jonesy's arrival and begin to recap the journey here. The last half year has been littered with baby steps of improvements and today, I'm finally feeling the pop back in my stride.
Nearly six months ago, I hit a huge low. I was running on empty (literally). Ferritin levels were rock-bottom, and after some intense observation of my diet, I realized I was barely getting a 1/3 of the protein that my body required. Something had to change. So, I began drinking liquid iron - not the tastiest treat - twice a day. Post-run smoothies also became common (now this was a tasty treat). I packed in a variety of frozen fruits, yogurt, and the key element: protein powder into my blender. Also, I began consistently devouring beet juice, another not-so-tasty-treat. Besides the color-change in my urine, I was recovering quicker within weeks. Though, as with most things worth doing, no miraculous performances began sprouting out of the sidewalks, but my workouts became consistently better. Day to day, week to week, it all began to connect into some massive spider-web of workouts, long runs, and easy days. Very gradually, things began to click.
Back to the turf of Kitt Field, we're within the final weeks of tapering for Club XC Nationals and things are just heating up. The pop is back in the stride, nothing is wearing me down, and now I've got a new shadow to chase: Tyler McCandless (2:17 marathoner) has joined the group for the grind. The next few months are already looking exciting with this addition to the group. Mr. Matt Duncan (sea-level-flatlander-turned-Mountain-Goat) has kept me honest in long runs, and now we've got another body to push the pace, daily.
We loop around the field for nearly 40 minutes, inching back and forth, finding rhythm then pushing the pace up to cap off the workout. The Flatirons watch in the distance like they did on the warm up, like they always do. We finish with a burst and before 9am, the bulk of the days run is over. It's been a long journey, and there's still a ways to go, but I'm baby-stepping forward. I'll go home, whip up a tasty smoothie, down some beet juice, and maybe invest in Schrute Farms. It might be getting a little chilly outside, but things are heating up…