Fred and I had a tough trail run the other day — a couple of hours out and back on Jesusita Trail and beyond. Both of us were feeling the burn early on, and we could barely hear each other talk over our own huffing, puffing and heartbeat thumping.
During the uphill climb, I thought: Have I not been eating well? Did I not give myself enough rest/recovery days this past week? Why is this feeling so HARD today? Something’s gotta change. Should I stop doing Drea’s killer Spin class? But I love that class. I should stop running these trails. They are too damn hard. What’s the point really? Oh, yeah, that 25K trail race in 5 weeks. Screw that. When that’s done, it’s back to the road, the FLAT road…
F interrupted my inner monologue with,”My body feels like it’s on FIRE. Maybe if I had more sleep, this wouldn’t feel so hard.” He got 2 hours of sleep the previous night because he was on call and worked nearly 30 hours straight. I had slept for 7-8 hours and was trying to keep up with him. (I don’t know how he does it. I keep telling him he should write a book about how to be a long-distance runner as a general surgery resident with two small kids. Ok, he might not have a very big target audience, but it would be proof that it CAN be done!)
As I continued through the switchbacks I started to worry — how will I be able to complete my 25K with 3200 feet elevation gain if this shorter trail run feels so hard?
“Life is FIRE!!!” F panted out during some point during the run. Good Lord, Jesusita was making my husband crazy!
When we got home, my Garmin calculated 10 miles with an elevation gain of 2868 feet. Ah, maybe that’s why it felt so hard. We climbed more than I thought, and being a novice trail climber, I was feeling every foot of elevation. Seeing those numbers made me feel a bit better about myself. Then I opened up my Runners’ World Quote of the Week email:
“Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to new stresses. The result? You become stronger.”
-Eamonn Coghlan, Irish athlete and 3-time Olympian
That run was my toughest trail run yet, but it’s comforting to think that that pain I felt running that big, big hill was actually making me stronger. I’ll admit, mentally I feel pretty bad-ass for doing that run, and it was a beautiful run, but physically…I’m just tired. Right now it’s time for recovery, and then maybe I’ll feel physically bad-ass tomorrow.