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.

Collegiate Peaks Trail Run Race Course - Buena Vista - Trail Running

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!


Ann · April 16, 2021 at 6:49 am

Whine away! I feel your pain girlfriend! I was in the same situation yesterday when I headed out for a long (for me) run after work. Tried to keep my food light all day, was hungry mid afternoon, caved, ate totally the wrong thing and consequently suffered through the run. Smack on forehead ensued. We need these ‘learning’ experiences so we get it right for the runs that really matter!

    Heidi Nicole · April 17, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    It is crazy how hard it is to balance food — especially if you’re a “mood” eater like I am! I have such a hard time eating if I’m not in the mood for the food/time of day, but then screw myself completely later!

Kelly · April 16, 2021 at 9:13 am

My Sunday long run (10 miles… a half doesn’t seem like a big deal compared to a 50M, haha) was lousy, too. My other long runs have all been really strong, and here I was cranking out miles two minutes behind my average pace! It was our first hot day of the year and I was too stubborn to stop for enough water breaks, even though I knew better. Hoping for better this week!

    Heidi Nicole · April 17, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    My run Saturday was proof that every distance needs a little respect! It’s stuff like your water sitch where we *know* we’re making the wrong decision…but… [lots of whining and “ah, I knew!”]

sonia the mexigarian · April 16, 2021 at 1:14 pm

We all have bad runs, but I like the way you’re taking it. A good kick in the pants to properly fuel/rest/restore your body. If we get to lenient and lax in our preparedness then things blow up. Better on a training run than an actual race, right? In any case, at least you had those gorgeous views out there.

    Heidi Nicole · April 17, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    Definitely better on a training run than on race day. If it was race day there would have been tears. Lots of tears. Instead there was just lots of swearing!

lynne @ lgsmash · April 16, 2021 at 3:08 pm

all i can say is any 20 miles i will ever run will probably suck - so i’m glad (for you!) that only this one sucks! 🙂 seriously, though, the bad makes the good that much better. don’t let this shake your 50m confidence - you’re still gonna rock it, especially with this little ‘drink water/eat food’ reminder 🙂

    Heidi Nicole · April 17, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, you’ll have a great 20 miler or two in your future.
    You know, when you’re marathon training.

    See what I did there?!

    I’ve been really lax with eating/drinking with m y life in limbo between Denver/FoCo — it is so easy to just let it all slip. Luckily it hasn’t gotten super unhealthy, just sporadic!

Natalie @ Free Range Human · April 17, 2021 at 9:29 am

It has not taken me long to realized that there is always going to be a bad run once in awhile. You are still the queen of the beasts to me 🙂 However, I’m disappointed in the lack of pizza 😉

    Heidi Nicole · April 17, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    Ha - thanks, I’ll try not to disappoint!

    Also — there will be pizza next time! 🙂

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