I had a couple pictures from this weekend that were too glorious to not share. I love this one of the older munchkin. It looks like he’s about to dart off to a magical land. And then the younger one in the cathedral of leaves
And an action shot of her running across the bridge to catch me. The sun was definitely not out on today’s trails, however. My friend, an ultra runner, had offered to take me (read that as I begged her to take me) to a different set of trails in Palos. I was nervous about not knowing how to get to them, navigate them, etc. I also wanted to try a run on them to see how I felt about the Paleozoic 50k. There was a little bit of driving around as we tried to figure out which trailhead to pick up. We were initially trying to start at the same point the race would, but we ended up on the north side of the preserve as we had trouble locating the right trail head on the south end. We still ended up driving a bit and having to ask some folks about the trail head. Cuz there’s nothing weird about people in forest preserves in the middle of the day for no apparent reason… Although, I guess we were there too.
It was a grey day and slated to rain pretty hard later in the morning, so it was an attempt to outrun the rain. Getting to the start of the yellow trail took some meandering through some single-track with a good bit of rutted hardened dirt and roots. Exactly how I fear trail running will be. However, the regular trails actually were more like crush gravel with ALOT of horse poop, so safer for the girl with the wimpy ankles.
It did rain lightly on and off throughout the run, but the trees gave pretty decent coverage from the worst of it. I tried to take some pictures, but there was just enough light to make the shot dark and not enough light to really show the colors well. In other words, these pictures are going to make the trail look dark and dreary but it really wasn’t. In fact, we commented on how many of the trees still had good foliage.
For the flatlander I am, these were some pretty good hills. And I struggled. I had counted on my friend (who, by the way is nameless since she was playing hooky) to run slower, but she pushed a 9:30 tempo. Normally, that would not be an issue, but I was really struggling. And I even asked to walk a couple of times. YEAH. Training for the last year has definitely kicked my ass, and I am not recovered from Chicago. But more on that in a bit.
The trails were relatively easy to navigate once we got on them, although we both pulled out maps a couple of times to get it right. We did discuss, though, how it’s nice to be able to do long trail runs and not worry too much about distance…as long as you figure out when to turn back (i.e., before you’re deathly tired or it gets too dark!). In this case, I had thought we might do 12-15, but at the end of the yellow trail, which was just over 5 miles, I was tired and wanted to turn back. It was actually perfect timing because after we got back to the car, it started raining in earnest. It had rained a little bit last night as well so my white shoes finally look like they belonged to a runner and not a gym rat!
My Garmin continues to cause me issues (i.e., it said we ran 8 miles in 1.25 hours, which was not correct), so I used my friend’s Strava data. All told, 11.2 miles just under 2 hours. That was with all our random stopping, so our average pace was 10:34. I think it was closer to 9:30 for most of the time we were actually running.
I love long runs with friends. You get so much deep stuff out there as well as silliness. We talked about how running was such a lifesaver for helping us deal with the rest of life, things on our bucket list, addictions, family dysfunctions, racial politics, educational policy…it was great. I think that’s one of the things I love most about marathon training, all that awesome time with friends doing something you love.
Which is why it kills me to admit that I can’t do the 50k. This run felt hard by mile 3. I am definitely still recovering from my ill-begotten sand run this weekend, but it shouldn’t have felt like I was pushing SO hard. My legs are tired. Heavy and tired. And I keep feeling like I’m having trouble hitting a rhythm with my stride and my breathing. All things for making me think that trying to push out 50k in under 6 hours is going to be a recipe for disaster. I will fall or sprain my ankle or just cry in public. All unpleasant, undesirable options. And every time I’ve looked at my training calendar, I’ve thought, “No. No f’ing way I’m doing that plan.” I’d fallen out of love of
running training. I need a break.
Do you hear that? That was me putting on my big girl pants. Me listening to my body. Me being an adult. I’m not sure I like it. Or that it’s comfortable. But growth never is, right?
I’m still considering going out there and running the 25k. That I know I can do. The course is 2 loops, so I could run the second loop with my friend Amy, who’s doing the 50k. It would be fun to help encourage someone on their first ultra and to give back to another runner. I’m not committing to anything right now as I need to see how my legs are the next couple weeks, but I like that I have options. I mean, I don’t even have to register for the race. I could just go out there and run a couple of miles since they can’t close the course (and I would obviously not be taking aid from the stations). Or I could register and do the 25k. Or I could stay home and eat alot of cake (it’s my birthday weekend).
Anyhow, maybe I will be ok with “just” loving running and running for fun. For now at least 🙂