Not all runs are created equal, and not all runs go anywhere near according to plan. I have again realized this week that this also goes for life in general.
Things have been going well since the 100 and I am getting more and more settled in everyday. I am beggining to meet new people and am exploring new trails almost daily. Whether my adventures on the trails and in the mountains are solo or with firends I truley appreciate that fact that I now live in a place where I get to take in so much beauty everytime I go out.
Even with all the beauty that is constantly surrounding me though there are still days that are hard. With the exception of the first week I lived here this has been one of the harder weeks for me since the move. I've been stressing about things that I have little to no power to change and I have been focuing on the negative of situations. This doesn't only translate to poor runs but poor communication with the people in my life as well. When I get stressed my introverted tendencies come out in full force. I become short and slightly irratable. This week has brought this out in me. Usually the best way for me to fix this is with a bit of alone time away from things. So what better way to get away from the stresses of life than set off on what was planned to be an epic solo adventure in the mountains.
The plan for today was 30ish miles on the trails. Roughly a six hour solo run. Even with the soreness in my left hip from a nasty spill on some wet trails Wednesday night and residual fatigue from the race three weeks ago I went to bed last night optimistic for a good day on the trails!
I woke up early this morning a bit tired but still optimisitc! I showered, ate and grabbed my stuff and arrived at the trail head just before 7. I hit the trail and not even two miles in my body began revolting. The lactic acid that was building up in my calves was miserable and no matter what I did I couldn't get any relief. I slowed down, put my head down and kept on, still with the intentions of a 30 mile day. I kept pushing and trying to force the run and things were getting worse. Within a few more miles my hip flexors were screaming on every climb, but again I was persistant. I kept thinking to myself that if I just kept pushing, the forces working against me would give up and I would still achieve what I had set out to do.
Sometimes, during runs as well as in life, this is the attitude that is needed. Nothing worth having or doing is ever going to come easy and you have to fight for what you want. It shows courage and strength when you continue to fight for what doesnt seem possible, but occasionally you need to step back and reasses the situation. In running, just as in life, it takes a smart person to stop and realize when you need a rest day. It can be one of the hardest parts of your training to take a day off and listen to your body when all you really want to do is be out there cruising along on the trails.
About seven miles in today I finally listened and decided to turn back. I spent that last hour and a half of todays run thinking about life in general and how it relates so much to my running. At one point I even sat down on a rock on the side of the trail, removed my headphones and just listened. The birds chirped, the wind blew and I could hear the water running from a near by stream as well. I felt the raindrops from a small spring shower land on exposed skin and I soaked EVERYTHING in.
It was at this point I decided that like todays run I needed to listen to what is going on around me and let things work out the way they are suppossed to. It's not giving up or quitting, its being smart and living to do it again another day. Just like deciding to cut the run short and give my body a break, this wasnt decided easily. All week I have struggled with making the decision to just let things happen, but thanks to a rough day on the trails I have came to my senses.
Overall things are great. I'm so thankful to be meeting new people and for having miles upon miles of trails at my disposal for epic mountain adventures. The road to what you want and to where you want to be is never straight. Its filled with all sorts of twist and turns, back tracking and obstacles to overcome. Be smart and keep fighting! Today the trails won. But tomorrow, God willing, I'll go back out for my rematch. I may lose again tomorrow, but as long as I am persistant and smart about it, eventually I'll come out on top!