Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Pleasures of "Flexing"

Today I was able to indulge in the pleasures of “flexing”. It is not necessarily a common practice, but one I have become well accustomed to over the past couple of years. It is more informatively labelled, “earned time off” (ETO), and ostensibly amounts to a day off work within the middle of the week every three weeks. Many likely use this time to “catch up” on chores or other required aspects of daily life that we so often fall behind on (and rightly so). On the other hand, for me, it provides the perfect opportunity (justification) to spend some extra mid-week time in the mountains.

Today, with the sun breaking through the morning overcast I could see that it was going to be ideal conditions for a solid effort. With temps in the mid-teens by mid morning, the sense of spring time would certainly be present. With that in mind, I headed to some of my old stomping grounds and a route I endeavoured fairly routinely in the past: deep-cove out-and-back via Old Buck, Bridal Path and Seymour Grind.

(typical terrain heading out of deep cove via baden powell)

After a mere 8 minutes on the road to reach the trails, I began the slow and often arduous initiating climb up through the Rifle Range to the intersecting Bridal Path. Backtracking, I worked my way towards the Seymour Grind, finding my legs through the more forgiving rolling mountainous terrain. It was not long until I ditched my unnecessary extra clothing, stashed it under a log (one I would pass on the return) and proceeded up the Seymour Grind, mixing between a high-cadence shuffle and a power-hiking step up.

(a taste of the interrmitent stairs along the way)

I was unsure of how my legs were going to react to today’s run. Yesterday’s effort was forced, with the residual junk from the weekend still noticeably there; not unexpected. But it is amazing what 24 hours can sometimes do. Things felt smooth and calm today. Perhaps bolstered by reacquainting myself with a familiar route or inspired by the pristine conditions I was afforded, I worked my way up the climb eventually finding my way down to the Cove in a fairly effortless fashion. The return trip started out in a similar way as my feet sought the necessary footing to make the many step-ups along the route. Gaining reprieve during the brief, but o-so-appreciated flatter terrain, I was able to run most of the trail up to the intersecting paved road (more than I remember being able to the other week), and then continue the gain in elevation. Nearing the 1:40 mark, I decided to take in a gel as the legs were becoming heavy and slow. This seemed to awaken the body, and reinstate a sense of purpose in my effort. Looping around down Old Buck, Horses Loop, and Bridle Path, I eventually grabbed my discarded clothing and made the return trip to my starting destination. 13.3 miles/ 2:25 minutes later, I basked in the enjoyment of a mid-week/ mid-day run in the mountains and the pleasures that come with “flexing”.

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