October has moved right along. The season is changing and the Aspens in Flagstaff looks amazing–I would know as I have been up on the mountain hiking a lot. I call it a RunHike. It has been the best way for me to get outside and still feel like I am running. I run when the trail is good (somewhat flat, not a lot of rocks), then I aggressively hike when the trail is bad (extreme ups/down, lots of rocks). With each RunHike I have been able to call more parts of the trail “runable”.
So let’s back up. I saw Doctor John Ball in Phoenix and he suggested no running for one week. I did that, then I did a short run. Not the best, as I was still feeling a little pull in the stomach region. So Wes Gregg, our Flagstaff doctor, suggested a hike. After all, Flagstaff does sit at 7000 ft elevation with the ability to hike as high as 12,633 ft, and has lots and lots of trails. It has been great to get moving outdoors. Yes my stomach pain isn’t 100% gone, but we are making some progress. I still spend plenty of time on stationary bikes, ElliptiGOs, and a rowing machine, but the outdoor hiking has given me a sense of accomplishment. Mainly because it is something new. The first few days it was hard to get used to doing a five miler that took well over an hour, but in time I relished the crazy climbs, rocks, tree routes, and the unknown. It has kept my mind alive and active and that always helps take the focus off my injury. I’ve seen more new trails in Flagstaff in the last few weeks than I have in the past five years I have lived here. Kind of sad really, but when you train for road and track races as an elite, you don’t have as much a reason to go check out Fatman’s Loop, or head up Elden trail. I do run on single track trails in Flagstaff when running is going well, but not the technical and steep climbs I have explored lately.