For some reason the lyrics to this Kenny Rogers song popped into my head when I thought about how I wanted to write this post. It was a crazy week for me, between work stress and having a big ramp up in my workouts. My weekend was filled with two big runs. The first was me scouting out BearBrook park for the Marathon next month. While I was out there I ran into another running group and spent the second half of the run hanging out with them. They were nice folks and it was cool to meet some new people in the running community. Supposedly they are reversing the course this year so all the technical running will be done in the first half. We scouted out the second half and I’m pretty familiar with it. Going to be a good run, Very confident that I am going to finish this run no problem.
A few things I noticed this week that are making me feel really good. The first thing is how strong I am feeling. Strength in my legs is at an all time high. It’s not just my legs though. The rest of my body seems to be getting in shape also. I’m doing crossfit once a week, I need to add another day, but over all I feel strong. I’m still having issues with my busted up shoulder..there are certain things that I try to do and the arm just doesn’t work. Hard to describe..it’s not pain, the arm just won’t work. Regardless , other things, pushups, lifting, walking I just feel strong. Even my wife has notices some changes too. It’s helping with my confidence and it’s reaffirming that I am doing this right. I’m also healing pretty fast too. Not sure if it has anything to do with it but I’ve been starting every day off with a protein shake made with Hemp Protein and amazing Grass superfood. So far, no stomach issues and , yea feeling great!
That being said, I think I found a limit..or THOUGHT I found my limit today. I had another busy day lined up so I wanted to get out to Pawtuckaway early but I got to bed late and , well you have to strike a balance. Sleep = healing and I had just run 13.5 miles and had another 12-13 planned today. I headed out around 7am and I felt REALLY good again, I was kind of worried. (Yea, I’m a bit of a pessimist) It was already warm and I didn’t really consume enough calories for breakfast. I had two bottles of tailwind but not sure there were enough calories there. I figure I would just take my time and not push it. I had the mighty mighty bosstones cranked and was really excited to run.
Things started out well..kept a slow pace, kept my heart rate low. The deer flys were bad and for some reason they were biting my legs so that started to get annoying but dealt with it.
I don’t want to bore you with the details so I’ll try to summarize what happened. The first part of the run is A LOT of climbing and I started to feel fatigue about 45 min in. I started to take in water and calories but wasn’t having much impact. I finally made the peak of south mountain at about 1:28:00 . This put me on track for a decent run, but I was hurting at this point. I was having pain in my hip and right leg. My feet were not happy. I headed down the mountain and some of the rocks were very slippery and I had to ease up a bit. I opened up when I could to make some time but the fatigue was getting worse and I was having trouble keeping my feet under me. The second half off the mountain is extremely technical and it was chewing up my feet and my hip was getting worse. I had a choice. I could cut the run short or finish out the last section. I was pretty close to calling it off. It would have left me short for the week but I didn’t care at this point. I ran the last section to the junction and the smoother trail had helped me feel a bit better so I decided to go for it. Twenty feet into the woods my hip started screaming again. This part of the course is technical but more of a flowing up down technical. I pushed on talking lots of walk breaks. I got to the 1 mile to go sign and I was pretty pissed. I had felt so great earlier but it was all gone. I felt broken and weak and I was getting chewed apart by bugs and the trail. I started off to finish and then something hit me, can’t really describe it. I thought, one mile? Let’s push it, let’s see what I have left in me. I kept it controlled but purposeful. I knew the rest of the trail was mostly down hill, some ups and downs but it was twisty and single track goodness. I went from running 12-14’s to a 9:50 for that last mile and finished in the 7:00’s and all the pains were gone. I gambled and won ..this time
Sometimes in life you have to just make a decision and stick to it. Not once during that last mile did I let myself think, this is a bad idea, why am I doing this? Instead I embraced the trail, and let it take me to the end, enjoying the challenge, letting the my legs seek their own path. I went for a ride and it was worth every second.