#FunFact: weekends are way too short.
In case you didn’t already know…
And how do you make the most of “way too short” weekends? You pack in as much as you into the hours that you have. Last weekend [like, a week ago, not yesterday…being on top of oversharing is a lot of work!] I headed to Boulder to do just that. I’ve done a good chunk of the Boulder Skyline trails but after four years in Colorado I still had not made my way up to the South Boulder peak…I needed to remedy that!
I hit the trail at the base of Fern Canyon at about 8am with a pack full of water and snacks…ready to test out my legs on one of my first legit trail runs in a while. I was feeling optimistic, until about a mile into my adventure. It was still below 70 degrees but I was pouring sweat, already! My mom would have been proud…
I started up Fern Canyon, humbled with a very pessimist inner monologue. A part of me kept saying “you’re not trained…you can’t do this…this hurts too much…all three summits will be too much…” but another [slightly smarter] part of me was saying “just keep moving, things change fast on the trail”. They always do, you just have to believe in your mind’s + body’s ability to acclimate to the crazy.
About half way up Bear Canyon – maybe 30 minutes into my morning – things changed, just like I knew they would. I was no longer dreading the miles + climbs ahead of me; instead I was looking forward to see what I was capable of. I didn’t care about the actual time it took, this was just a set of “baseline vitals” after a nearly run-less summer. What happened on the trail didn’t define me, it would simply define where I was at the exact moment. Next time might be better…or worse…but at that moment “last time” and “next time” did not matter.
Looking back at this over a week later I can’t tell you what changed my mindset. There was no real mental argument or battle, it just changed. I think it’s kind of like being tickled. As long as you’re thinking about being tickled, it tickles. But as soon as you redirect your mind and force the thought of giggles + squirming out of your mind the effect of the tickling fingers fade away.
This is what happens with crappy excuses while out on the trails [or roads, or whatever]. As long as you’re entertaining the idea of giving up the excuses will pile up until they seem uncontrollable and overwhelming; however, as soon as you convince yourself that giving up is not an option…the excuses start to fade away. The aches you were using as a crutch to quit suddenly don’t hurt anymore. The baking sunshine makes the flowers pop. The hunger you swore was going to cripple you is easily managed with a quick snack. Everything becomes bearable, again.
At the end of the day…I got all three summits. I tagged Bear Peak + South Boulder Peak, unsure of whether I’d have enough time to truly summit Green Mountain before heading to Lynne’s going away picnic. I seriously considered taking the easy way out and just heading down Fern Canyon to my car and icy cold water but talked myself into taking the long way down “because it was more runnable”. Ultimately, I ended up meeting two other runners at the Green Mountain turn off and they convinced me there was enough time…and they were right.
It is kind of awesome when you head out for a run and more than a week later you’re still thinking about that run. I’ve had a burning itch to race lately but have been abstaining, thanks to a self imposed “no race fees allowed” rule in my barely-employed life…and I think this run gave me what I really wanted from a race. The part of trail racing that I really enjoy is fighting through the misery. I’ve never had a “come to Jesus” or life changing moment on the trail but there is something about knowing your brain is capable of out smarting itself + your body that gives you a boost of confidence; on and off the trail. Plus, mountains = beautiful.