Sunday, December 1, 2013

ridgecrest wind-down

"If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong."
There's something raw and cleansing about running.

The feeling you get when you push your body past something it hasn't done before is incredible. You get a buzz from it, a certain happiness hits your chest and you're on some untouchable cloud for a good while. 
 In April I got to push my body past the 26.2 miles it had done six weeks prior at the LA Marathon. I ran Leona Divide 50k and I thought I conquered the distance. What I've learned recently, like today, is that you don't conquer the distance necessarily. It's that particular day you conquer. 

Today began like almost every race day;
I woke up before an alarm, I ate half a ProBar, set Pandora to Jay-Z and started putting on my running clothes in no particular order. I did happen to open our hotel room early on to see how cold 32 degrees really was. It was cold, really cold. 
We drove to the start, took some pictures, found an LA Legger and made our way to the start. No fancy guns, no loud horn, just a simple "GO." Nothing remarkably special about our morning besides the fact that we were lining up to run over thirty miles.  

Our game plan for today was simple; Be conservative, eat and drink on time, have fun.
The distance wasn't really on my mind. The early miles came quickly and each aid station was roughly 3-4 miles apart. For a race that started in 32 degree weather, it warmed up quickly. Off came the arm warmers at mile 6, off came the gloves at mile 7 and the buff finally came up over my hat somewhere after 10. With the weather being incredible and the miles zooming by, the race had hints of greatness in it already. 

We got to mile 13 feeling great. I saw a bright yellow sign in  the distance, right before the highway crossing. I couldn't stop grinning when I realized what it said and so I had to have a picture taken.

We ate, we drank, we were on our merry way.

After 13 is where a few things started.

1. I chose to run in my brand new Hokas because of the pain in my right foot. Up to this point however, my right foot felt incredible but my left foot had developed a sharp pain on the side.
2. I went to massage the pinky on my right hand that always stiffens up and I noticed it felt bigger than usual. I looked down to my hands and they were swollen. Swollen enough to where linking my hands together wasn't easily done. Swollen enough to freak  me out, making me constantly check them.
I keep looking at my hands.They seemed to be getting bigger.

We run to mile 16 where Jim's wife, Mollie, is there meeting us with our bags. I packed my Newtons in the car so I do a quick assessment of my body and and how much pain my foot is actually in. I go against the switch of shoes. I decide that the pain isn't getting worse and that I could just push it out.

Miles here start to just carve their way out. The sun is high above us at this point and it keeps getting warmer. We end up running in this pack of 7 runners and not a single word is spoken for a mile and a half. There was a synchronization about our movement. Our bodies all kept the same pace, the same breathing patterns and very similar form. for the next fifteen minutes we were all part of something together. We were a pack of human beings who all took pleasure in this sport. The pack broke off before the next aid station and Jim, Ang, and I regrouped. From here to the end was an incredible journey of uncontrollable laughter, jingle writing, lyric mashup, pop song-singing, and bad joke telling. The miles were filled with ridiculous words put together by tired minds that made little sense. We had a blast together and didn't hit any sort of physical wall. We played things smart and were consistent.

I could write pages about what we talked about and how truly silly I get after hours on a run but I don't think I can do any of it justice. So, I'll go back to my findings.

I don't believe I have conquered the thirty some miles. I did extremely well today and I wasn't sore after (yet). I think that my mental game as well as my core have continuously improved but I conquered the actual day. I conquered my race execution and how I dealt with pain and discomfort. I conquered my thoughts and silenced any doubt that could have crept up. I conquered today as I should conquer everyday. I woke up knowing I was going to give it all my positive being had to offer. I went in knowing that each step mattered, each was just as crucial as the one previous or the one that would follow.

Today I learned that the miles just happen. As long as you are moving forward. I learned that the moments you share with friends on the trail, are forever. I learned that not everyone gets this, and it's okay.

The count down has now been reset. 41 days until Avalon 50 miler where I will be pushing new boundaries, looking to conquer that day's race execution. And, a little over 300 days until one of my stretch goals will be attempted. But who's counting, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment