Just a heads up – this post is going to be whiny. I had a rough run this weekend and I want to talk about it. However, there is a pretty good chance you don’t actually care about the running part…so I’ll give you a little mountain eye candy.
On Saturday morning we headed west to Buena Vista to run a chunk of the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 25M course that Chris will be running on next month. He wanted to get a feel for what he would be racing on and I needed hilly miles on single track…done and done! Turns out I was also about to get a miserable dose of reality…and, now that it’s all over, I’m incredibly glad that Saturday’s run sucked. Because I needed a bad run to make me appreciate the good ones…and I needed this craptastic run to go down before race day on a different course.
A few weekends ago I pulled off a solid 48 miles in just over 36 hours. I was feeling good about my body’s ability to run and got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t completely hate life at the Quad Rock 50M. I was still prepared to chase cutoffs but got a little boost in my confidence to finish with at least half of a smile. Then Saturday happened.
It turns out that running is about more than just the miles you put on your favorite shoes. Who knew?! When you have numbers staring at you, especially when comparison is an option [ahem, thanks Strava], it’s really easy to think everything else will fall into place. If you’re a skilled wizard, it might. If you’re a boring human, it probably won’t.
On Saturday I realized just how miserable an “easy, attainable” 20 mile run can become. Looking back I did a LOT of things wrong…and 90% of those things went wrong during the week, not on Saturday. Apparently things like nutrition and hydration and sleep and stretching and fun stuff like that are important to pay attention to BEFORE you go running.
Yea, yea. Of course. Duh. We all know this. But sometimes we forget to actually practice what we preach. Sometimes the tap water in Cheyenne gets rusty and unappealing. Sometimes work gets really busy and lunches become all-day-snacking-kinda-sorta-meals. Sometimes sleep is skipped while bags gather under your eyes the important duffle bags never get packed properly and long run nutrition is left behind.
Sometimes all of that happens in the same week…and then your long run that was supposed to be the easy half of a double-long-run-weekend becomes 20 miles of painful whining and thoughts of why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself and how-the-heck-am-I-going-to-cover-twice-the-miles.
That pretty much sums up the latter half of my week + last Saturday. I made a lot of stupid mistakes leading up to the weekend. Mistakes I probably wouldn’t have made years, or even months ago. Mistakes that I let happen because I was feeling confident about my ability to knock out miles…and totally forgot about the prep work required to keep my body happy.
It kind of sucked to be out on unfamiliar trails miles away from the car [and real food + cold water] but I’ve decided I’m okay with that. I really did need a bad run. I needed the reminder that drinking water all the time is important and that eating actual nutritional food makes a big difference when it comes to energy and that not thinking through on-the-trail food is just plain stupid.
I’m glad I survived Saturday’s run, I’m glad I’m forcing myself to learn from it and most importantly I’m glad I was able to get out of my own head and enjoy the area I was in. I mean, look at the photo! It was gorgeous. The weather was perfect, the mountains were incredible models and the trails were all runnable.
However, I’m not glad I let that run suck the confidence out of my Sunday run…my Sunday run that never happened because of [insert lame excuse such as weather, brunch, unpacking, or I-am-scared-it-will-suck-again syndrome]. Actually, I haven’t run since Saturday’s bad run… I just realized that and that needs to change! I also need to go drink a bottle of water and find a pudding cup [still working on my definition of “nutritional food”] before I completely sabotage this coming weekend’s long run!