The Hardest Things…

IMG_0702Sunday, 28 July 2013

The hardest physical thing I’ve ever done is climb the Labyrinth at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, on  a cold Saturday all by myself.  The second hardest physical thing I’ve ever done is a 3-way tie:  climb Mt. Whitney, run a half marathon, and run a marathon.  Today I did something ‘way up there on the hard list, but not scary in the same way as those other things.

The Xterra Snow Valley Half Marathon was at altitude (6000+ feet), it was technical (rutted, rocky trails and roads), and it was hard.  It was also a concern to me because I don’t want to screw up my ankles 2 months before my big race.  (So I had the coach call and ask about the trails/roads.  We were assured that 60% of the route was fire roads, sorta implying not so rutted/rocky.)   It was two loops of a trail.  Running and walking along the first loop, I fell down twice, and three times my toe caught a rock causing me to pitch forward catching myself from falling.  It was very pretty, and a lot of shade the first loop.  I wasn’t terribly unhappy with the day, but as I worked my way along the route, I thought about my goals for the day (something I often do while running races).  Based on what was said before the race, how the race was going for me, and the day — I decided my #1 goal was not to be looped by my coach in his goal of finishing in 2:15.  Which means I had to finish 6.5 miles faster than 2:15.  Which I did, but just barely.

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My second goal was to finish as close to 4 hours as I could…and I finished in 4:08.  Not terrible, given that I walked the entire second 6.5 mile loop.  At another time I would have at least run down the hills on the second loop, but I was tiring and I don’t pick my feet up very high under any circumstances, so there was pretty significant danger of getting hurt.  Even with walking, I twisted my ankle walking into the second aide station — not in a serious way — but it reminded me that I had to watch EVERY step.

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So after the first loop, I headed into the second loop pretty anxious.  I was in a dark place.  I knew I had another two hours in front of me.  But, when I got to the second aide station on the second loop, had a lot of fluid, and left in such a buoyant state — I recognized the better state of mind — and it stayed with me the entire loop.  So much so I did something (the first picture of this post) that I NEVER do — looked around and took pictures of the pretty area.  Sometimes I’m surprized.

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So here I am doing this really hard thing, and feeling pretty good.  Now, the winners of this race finished in about 2 hours.  I finished in 4.  Nothing to write home about.  I wonder if life is, for awhile, trying variations of physical challenges?

On Saturday, I ran 6 miles with the Sole Runners (making this is 20 mile weekend), went to Aidan’s b-day party, and drove to Snow Valley.IMG_3689

IMG_0686And with this…I’m going to sleep in a real bed.

Food:  Not recorded but not outrageous

Training Today:  challenging trail half

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