I’m going to wrap up my summer running adventures and then get on with the rest of my life. Unfortunately, since I’m injured, this doesn’t consist of much running but does include a lot of riding-the-bike-that-goes-nowhere-at-the-gym, and for like two and three hours at a time (which is why I’m dreaming of my summer runs).
Late summer, this gal came to visit.
I was in the thick of what I assumed were my final novel edits (wrong, my agent later requested a final, final revision) and wasn’t able to spend as much time with her as I would have liked. And since I was writing emotional scenes, I was moody and introverted for a good part of the visit, but the cool thing is that Karen is also introverted (but luckily not moody), so we got along just fine. I felt a great kinship toward her, as if we had been sisters in another life.
She was tapering and I had bruised my knee on a fall on the Middle Fork Trail so we hiked to Rabbit Lake with MM. It was the only time I had hiked and not run the trail and I realized how much I miss while running: So many views and smells plus the slow and lovely anticipation of the mountains slowly giving way as the lake veers into view.
After Karen left (bye, bye, Karen–hope you come back again, and bring Matt along, okay?), I wrestled with whether or not to run the Resurrection Pass Ultra 50-miler. I had trained for it all summer and felt ready. Except that I wasn’t because I was also staying up all night fighting with my book rewrites and was emotionally and physically exhausted. I cried, a lot. I roamed the house in the middle of the night, in that silver twilight, and I muttered and obsessed and worried and got almost zero sleep.
So I decided to forgo the race and concentrate on my book. I’m still not sure if that was the right decision. It was good for my book, yes, but not so much for me and it still kind of hurts to think about it.
I registered for the Big Wild Life 49K instead. This should have been a fairly easy race. It was only 49K, and on basically flat pavement, and I had been running high elevation gain trail runs of 20-27 miles all summer.
Except that I got sick the week before the race, not surprising since I was so run down. I was so sick the day before the race that MM and I went to REI and I couldn’t walk across the store without resting.
I’m going to repeat that because it’s so ridiculous: The day before the race I was too sick to walk across REI without resting. And it never occurred to me to not run.
I woke up race day and dosed myself with cold medicine. I tried to eat breakfast but couldn’t, and it still didn’t occur to me to forfeit the day. And really, I felt okay at the start, or so I convinced myself. I cozied up with Bart and got ready for a long and slow slog.
I felt like crap from the beginning, one of those days when every. single. step. was. an. effort. My stomach was sick, my lungs congested but it wasn’t all bleak because I got to run with this gal, and it was so nice spending 22 miles with her and getting to know her better and catching up on each other’s lives.
We split up soon after and I slogged even slower and she picked it up a bit faster (or so it seemed to me), and less than three miles later, I had to visit the medical tent and get dosed with glucose because it seems that if you have hypoglycemia and eat almost nothing and yet try to run an ultra race, you’re going to collapse. I knew I was going to collapse and I knew I couldn’t sustain without eating and yet I couldn’t make myself stop running. It was stupid and dumb and I quit with only four miles to go and this still kills me and eats me up inside, and even though I know I did the right thing and couldn’t have gone farther until my blood sugar stabilized and even then, without eating, it would have simply dropped, quickly, again; even though I know this, I still kind of feel like a failure.
But as I slumped on the sofa afterward I told MM: At least I got to get Angel better and that alone made it worth while. And it did, too.
The following week, my sister came to visit and we hiked and glacier cruised and visited the zoo and walked a zillion miles (she records her steps on a Fitbit and has become a bit obsessed, which I love because I’m equally obsessed with running).
We saw this old bear at the zoo–doesn’t it look like a stuffed bear? I made the horrid mistake of opening a protein bar while standing in front of the exhibit and this old dude perked up and started begging. I so wanted to throw him a piece but didn’t figure that it would be healthy and besides, I didn’t want to rack up more bad bear karma.
After my sister left, MM’s daughter and her hubby came to visit and we went to the Alaska State Fair, where I won three (three!) dollars gambling at the mice roulette wheel, and then we took a walk out at Thunderbird Falls.
After they left, MM and I flew down to Portland to visit with my son and take a short vacation at Seaside, where we walked the beach and hiked and played video games at the arcade and swam and hot-tubbed and hit the river in paddle boats, which was a blast, blast, blast.
Whew! That’s a lot of socializing for a huge introvert such as myself, and between all of the visits and cramming to get my novel rewritten, I ended up sleeping for 18 hours (yes, 18 hours!) when we returned from Portland.
Then I got up and ran and ran and ran over autumn trails, trying to get in every last mile before winter.
Two weeks ago I killed my knee in a freak accident on the Turnagain Arm Trail, after two dogs crashed against my legs and took me down and wham, I twisted my knee and that was that. But that’s another story, and for another post.