My first 18-miler in over two years is in the bag (in the shoe?) and it was everything a long run should be: Challenging, glorious, tough, meditative, frustrating and joyful.
I didn’t feel good when I began. I wasn’t sick; I just didn’t feel energized and excited, the way I usually feel before a run.
I ran the Campbell Trails, with loops around the Service and Hillside trails, for added hills in the beginning, just to make sure my legs were nice and trashed. The day before, I did a 5.5 mile tempo run, again, to make sure my legs were fatigued.
And they were. In fact, they fell off around mile 8 (Mile 8! Not even half of the way!). They decided that they had had enough, thank you very much, and while I kept on running, they departed for a bit and I felt only heaviness where they should have been.
By that point, the only thing I could think of was: There’s a port-o-potty in half a mile and then I’ll get to sit down for a minute.
Yes, I actually wanted to sit down on an icky port-o-potty seat! In fact, it became a song that played over and over inside my head: In half a mile I’ll get to sit down. In a quarter of a mile I’ll get to sit down. In 500-feet I’ll get to sit down…
And then, there it was! The port-o-potty! My shining blue knight of armor!
|The lone port-o-potty on the trail. Why is it here? I have no idea.|
And so I sat. I did my business. But as so many things we long for, it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was smelly and I didn’t linger. I barely sat at all.
I wish I could say that it got better from there, but it didn’t. I bonked two miles later, up by the Tank Trail. I was only 10 miles in, barely past the halfway point, and something inside my head said: Okay, that’s it, we’re done here.
I stuffed down a low-glycemic Gu (Chocolate #9), added a handful of nuts and trudged wearily onward. I was barely running by that point. I probably could have walked faster.
|Nice view but bad bonk.|
Than wham!, a mile later I suddenly felt better. In fact, I felt great. The sun shined through the spruce trees and I was on my favorite trails (Black Bear and Brown Bear and Moose Meadow) and there were hills and downhills and soft spruce needles over the trail.
I passed a woman in a blue shirt going the opposite direction and we stopped and momentarily chatted and later, when I was too far away to go back and catch up with her, I wished I had gotten her name. Not many women run alone on the side trails and something about her reminded me of myself; it would have been cool to occasionally meet up for runs together, to get to know one another better. It felt kind of bittersweet, as if I had missed an opportunity, and maybe I had.
Regardless, I felt increasingly strong the longer I ran and picked up the pace the last two miles. In fact, I couldn’t stop smiling, and I know I must have looked like a crazy woman, all sweaty and dirty and smiling like a dork. Yet I was so happy.
Sometimes I feel sorry for people who only run pavement, who never venture out on the trails. Do they have any idea what they’re missing? The smells and sights and the overwhelming and vast silences, broken only by bird calls and the crack of a branch off in the brush. Yet, probably they find their own sense of peace and serenity, probably they experience the same amount of joy and challenge during their own runs. Still, I can’t quite imagine such a life. It’s obviously not for me.
Tuesday: 5.4 miles and weights
Wednesday: 9.2 miles
Thursday: Rest and weights
Friday: 5.5 miles tempo
Saturday: 18.2 miles
Sunday: 10 miles
Weekly total: 48.3