Yesterday,yesterday it was when I started writing this post, I ran 28 K on the trails. It was hard, very hard. It was the longest run in a while and the longest on the trails since last year. It was an out and back from my house to Pottery Rd and up on the trails to Sunnybrook Park. Out and Backs are much harder than loops especially on the trails. You know the hills that you will have to go back up and you will be so much more tired than on the way out. I counted about 15 major up the whole side of the valley type hills. 8 on the way back. I believe that when I do hill repeats each one is worth more than the one before and the 9th or 10th is worth so much more than the first few. So this sort of logic also applies to long runs with lots of hills, each one harder and worth more than the one before it. This is one of the things I think about when I run. I think how this run is helping me, how the hard work is worth it. I take a bit of joy at the top of each big hill and try my best, no matter how tired, to take some joy in the strides I take away from the tough hill. I didn’t give up, yay me. I use the word “Nice” when I crest hard sections. I talk to myself, I like that there is most often no one around and I am able to be there on the trails by myself and communicating honestly about my running almost out loud. Sometime I think about treats, imagined or real that I will have “earned by running today”, usually imagined. Sometimes I think about how hard the Pottery Rd hill will be and then I dash that thought from my mind by immediately substituting in the ” You get up it everyday and you will today” thought. Yesterday on this very run I took a pretty awesome fall. I caught a root on a decent downhill slope and went crashing into the trail. Nice scrap on the arm and right knee. I lay on my back for a moment looking up through the forest canopy thinking “How did that happen and how badly am I hurt ?”. A fall happens from time to time, probably about once every 2 months or so on average. I often think about each section of the trail like a familiar friend, I know every bit so well, well except for the root I caught. It is comforting to cover and push through each section that is part of me. I do think a lot about how my body is feeling, How fresh/tired I am feeling, am I starting to breakdown ?
Everyday in a certain special part of the trails I take a few moments to remember a best friend in one of her most favourite places. Sometimes I see a friend or mountain biker I recognize and that is always nice. You smile at each others effort and resolve.
Mostly I try to stay in the moment of running. Most days I come up with some part of trail running that might be useful in the trail clinics. Like yesterday, which is not the same yesterday as when I first started writing this post, someone(s) left a ton of garbage on the trail at the bottom of a tough hill. Fortunately there was a box which I packed all of it in and then I thought I would just carry it all up the hill to where there is recycling. As I began running and carrying, I actually wondered what I might learn from this. I learned that running without being able to move my arms was incredible hard and made me wonder more about the function of arm motion in trail running/running. The box was fairly heavy and I also wondered about core strength and how important it is in running.
So these are just some of the things I think about when I am out on the trails. It isn’t auto pilot like road running though sometimes I probably should pay more attention to the trail and avoid wipeouts like yesterday which isn’t yesterday anymore.