Sometimes people ask me if (and by if, they mean why) I’m running the Gore-Tex Transalpine Run. Again.
I’ll answer this question – probably get around to it next week – but for this week, I asked myself the same.
It happened when I headed out for a run, a recovery run (read: easy run), alone. A solo run is rare in this trail-running town of mine, where I’m usually part of a rainbow string of friends, bouncing and halting along a trail like marbles in a marble-machine. It felt like a treat, so I suited up: mis-matched shorts and tank, “Run 2014” playlist (which is totally up to date, except the title), and a route that maximized views while minimizing chances of bears and rattlesnake surprises. I even stuffed a few Swedish berries and hot lips in my pack, knowing I wouldn’t have to share. ‘Twas a recipe for delight.
Which meant when reality hit, my frustration was so great, those hot lips kissed the ground with full force.
At first, I thought my legs just needed a little wake-up. Fifteen minutes, I thought, and I’ll eat this trail for first dinner (second lunch?). But my legs were decidedly non-running legs. Every twig too high, every rock too voluminous, to lift my feet over. A beetle may have cried mercy when I stubbed my toe on her. The little dips and jogs I normally skipped over needed (needed) to be walked.
It wasn’t long before I found myself asking along with everybody else: why am I training for this Big Race? Again? Look what it’s done to me: made me so tired that I suffer on every run, that I can’t even enjoy the very sport I signed up for this race to pursue. After all, the whole method of training for TAR involves teaching my legs to run when they’re tired. With a race this big, and a training plan that’s months long, this means a lot of tired running. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt good – light, free, fast – on a run.
But I could. It was only a week before. Our trail running group was running tempo loops around the infamous Two T’s (you can guess what it’s short for), and I felt fabulous. I mean, the sun was a classic Okanagan blaze and the hills felt like misery, but my energy told them to eat my dust. To be honest, I have no idea how my times lined up with other Two T’s tempos, but I felt happy and alive.
So the always-tired never-fun feeling was indeed just that: a feeling. A single run out of many. Sure enough, three days later, heads decked in custom trucker hats and hands filled with homemade cupcakes, I ran with friends to the top of a local hill to celebrate my husband’s birthday – feeling free and strong again.
And so it goes. I’ll come back to the why again another time.