I've felt really "off" ever since I ran 50 miles back in March.
You know that thing where you train for a big race and then do it and then think that you should be able to zip right back to where you were before the race? And every race you tell yourself that you'll be smarter next time and realize that your body has been through a lot and needs a little time. And if you're anything like me.... you forget that part. EVERY. TIME.
So I've floundered around for the past month and a half. Had some decent mileage weeks. Had some runs that felt like torture. I had some runs where I went in thinking THIS IS IT only to find that the run was actually going to be total crap. It's been tiring.
I've got a 12 hour race in a few weeks and I wanted to get in a few "near twenty" runs before it happened. I did 17.5 on roads and they were tough. So, the next week I decided to try trails. And of course I ended up on a six mile loop with lots of hills wondering if this was going to happen. A loop course is easy to talk yourself out of. You can start thinking 18 YEAH! And your mileage can quickly start to lower if the run isn't going well.
I went in to this long run thinking ok, I'll do 18 even if I walk the last six miles. Time on feet is really what counts, right? I mean REALLY if I'm training for a twelve hour race it would be even BETTER if I took longer. These were all the conversations I had in my head as I went to sleep Friday night hoping that things would turn out well.
I was on the trail so early that it was just me and a hiker who I passed very early on. I kept reminding myself to stay relaxed because it was going to be a long day. And a funny thing happened.... Somewhere around mile 4-5 I caught myself having that stupid grin on my face. That grin that doesn't seem to reflect how hard you're trying, how overwhelmed you feel by the amount of miles you still have to run, and how tired you are. It was just that smile I get when my brain lets go and I remember without prompting that I'm so lucky that I can do this. And no matter how slow or klunky I may be at it... I do love it.
So I'm feeling better now. And at the end of the run I saw a luna moth... just hanging out on the trail. Just think, if I hadn't run all those miles and done them all so slowly, I might have missed that.