Bloomington Redux (and Training, July 29 – August 4)

When I moved back up to Chicago last October after a summer away, it was the most logical place to be.  Most of my friends were there, as well as my sister and brother in law.  I was also seeing two doctors in Chicago, working on fixing my Achilles injury; and since I was barely running at all, I hardly had need for trails or hills.  However, as I slowly regained my health and fitness, it became apparent that I would need to move to a location where I could train better for the types of races I’m focusing on—namely hilly and mountainous trail races.

I started pondering the move sometime in March.  I had vague ideas about where I might like to be if I moved out West—Missoula, Montana; Bend, Oregon; perhaps somewhere in Colorado…  But I didn’t really know anyone in any of these places (with the exception of a few friends out in Colorado).  And while I certainly could have just moved without knowing a soul, laying down new roots with the help of the local running community, my mind was drawn back to the town of my law school alma mater: Bloomington, Indiana.

I absolutely loved Bloomington when I was in school.  The town has a lot going for it: plenty of great (and cheap) local beer and food; cool bars, restaurants, and cafés; great people; and miles of gorgeous, hilly trails and winding country roads (not to mention the world class track and cross country facilities).  As far as the Midwest is concerned, I think it’s one of the best training locations there is.  (Hey, it worked for Bob Kennedy!)  I also have a number of friends who live in town, and it is relatively close to my sister and friends in Chicago and my dad in Springfield, Illinois.

I began to look at housing options later this spring, ultimately finding a great little house in my favorite neighborhood of Prospect Hill.  I’m a mere two blocks from the rail trail system, and just a few easy miles from a whole lot of singletrack and the stellar cross country course.  There is a great running community (track, as well as trail), and a host of other great trail options that are short drives away.  I’m thrilled to be back in Bloomington, and I’m excited about how much stronger I will become running on hilly trails all the time.  I was really starting to handicap myself by training in Chicago; I love that city, but it was time to move on.

While it’s entirely possible I’ll stay in Bloomington for some time, I think it’s equally likely that in a year I’ll be looking West again.  Despite everything Bloomington has to offer, there is no altitude, nor mountains.  With that in mind, I hope to visit a number of places out West among my growing network of trail and ultra running friends.  To that end, I’m actually headed to Colorado this week for a 12-day visit and training trip.  My only real plan is to run a lot in the mountains and hopefully hit the UROC course for a bit of recon.

As for this past week’s training, things were a bit rough with the move to Bloomington.  I accomplished the move essentially solo, so there was a fair amount of lifting involved that just plain wore me out.  I also wasn’t getting enough sleep due to squeezing in good-byes prior to leaving, as well as a botched U-Haul reservation (they had no truck for me and were unable to get me one until the next day—it was kinda like this).  I felt pretty exhausted all week, though after a couple nights of good sleep at week’s end, I was feeling good again.  I capped the week with a great long run on the Griffey trail system in Bloomington; it was awesome to be able to run from my house to awesome, hilly singletrack.

Monday: AM – 9 miles easy
Ran into Kyle Larson on the boulevards, and we ran a few miles together in Humboldt Park.  Pretty destroyed from yesterday’s 30 miler, naturally.
PM – 9 miles easy
Lakefront path.

Tuesday: PM – 13 miles moderate; Functional Strength Routine 1
Lakefront path, felt pretty tired still.

Wednesday: PM – 14 miles moderate
Lakefront path.

Thursday: PM – 10 miles moderate
Ran in Bloomington, post-move, at about 9 p.m.  Despite being exhausted, I had a great run on the IU XC course at dusk.

Friday: PM – 9 miles easy
Absolutely wrecked today, tired from moving I suppose...

Saturday: AM – 7 miles easy; Functional Strength Routine 2
Ran with Rebecca Walter (IU assistant track and XC coach) and her friend Temujin on the XC course and connecting singletrack trails.

Sunday: AM – 18 miles moderate
Had plans to hit a 24-mile route in the country that I’ve used in the past, but a late start and a bright sun led me to opt for the trails instead.  Got in a great 2+ hours, mostly on singletrack, on the Griffey Trails.

Total: 89 miles, 2x FS