"Will you win?" This was the question my 7 year old niece asked when I told her about an upcoming race. Upon answering with a definitive "no", she inquired further, "why are you doing it, then?" Why, indeed. I do it for emotional stability, physical health, to connect with nature, to work towards a goal,… Continue reading Why are you doing it, then?
On realizing my potential: I don't know what I'm capable of and I want to find out. I, like so many others, have wasted many years waiting until the conditions were right to do things, and they never are. The time to start is now, whatever that looks like. So, I decided to work with a coach.
I'm not ready because I wore my body down little by little with every race after which I did not allow space for recovery. I'm not ready because I refused to miss an opportunity to take advantage of the warm, beautiful weather. I'm not ready because I never go to bed early enough for the 3:30 am wake up calls, and the sleep deprivation is compounding. I am not ready because I am depleted. Every run seems to feel more fatigued than the last, to the detriment of my attitude, my enjoyment and the quality of my company for those I run with. I am tired of feeling slow and weak. I am tired of tripping and falling on the trail. The only way to correct these things is not to push harder, but to pull back.
For what it's worth, it is NOT advisable for two adult humans to sleep in the back of a Subaru with the seats folded "flat" at a trail head where 100 other people are "sleeping". Though it is totally comfortable enough to eat Pad Thai and play Head's Up.
Like stress, a certain level of comparison is healthy, but go a hair beyond that and it quickly turns toxic. Comparison used as a tool to assign value is the real culprit.
So – what happens after mile 30? Does a secret door open up to a magical universe where fairies ride on the tips of unicorn horns, the secrets of life whispering forth from the flap, flap, flap of their wings? Nope. It was pretty much just more running and more pain and more joy.
...the goal has been achieved and no matter where you sit, some pointy rock edge is jamming you in the ass - it gets cold and windy and chances are a storm will roll in before too long. Before the journey down the mountain is even over, you find yourself already craving another and reminiscing about the journey up, almost wishing you were still headed in that direction.
Right around mile 22 is when things started to go south. I was grinding up a hill, seemingly on the path to Mordor based on the heat and the terrain, when I encountered a hiker. Two runners who kept passing me, sitting to rest until I passed them, only to pass me again, were coming up to pass me for perhaps the 37th time.
Leave it to a songwriter to describe the purpose trail running serves for me better than I can myself...
As I saw Nikki Kimball running towards me, I had a surreal moment. In the split second that felt like minutes, I at once saw the progress I'd made both physically and mentally over the last three years and it hit me that I was running and running well on the same course as the person who inspired this pastime of mine.