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.
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.
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.
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?
Food: Not recorded but not outrageous
Training Today: challenging trail half