Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Running Realization

This past Sunday I joined a group of SacFit Ultra runners for a training run up in Sly Park. About a dozen of them decided to camp there for the weekend, but I just visited for the day. The majority of them are training for Run on the Sly 20 miler or 50K in two weeks, and I've been on the fence about signing up for the 50K for the past two months. I really want to run another ultra race and I truly enjoy trail running, but I haven't been putting in the necessary mileage. I figured I would see how I felt during this practice run and make my final decision based off that. The plan was to run 26 miles of the Run on the Sly course, and I was really hoping I would feel great doing it.

The first 10 miles of the run were great. There was one pretty big hill to climb, but even that wasn't too bad, I could handle it. We even stopped to eat blackberries alongside the trail.

These 10 miles completed the first leg of the run and brought us back to our starting point, the campsite. I stopped here with a few others to go to the bathroom, gather more fuel, and refill my Camelbak. No biggie.

The next 4 miles were the toughest for me. The terrain was about as flat as trails get, the view was beautiful; we were running alongside Jenkinson Lake. I was really struggling though. I figured out I was having a rough time because I was hungry. I ate 8 Clif shot blocks within 5 minutes...that's more than I consume during a normal long run.

We approached the Bumpy Meadows parking lot, where we just so happened to have our car parked, and I decided that I would end my run short with Lauren and Leti. I was pretty bummed that I didn't make myself run all 26 miles, but 14 miles isn't too shabby either. That's the farthest I've run since AR 50 so I was okay with it.

We drove back to the campsite and chatted with those were also finished running and those that didn't run due to injuries. I didn't change into clean clothes or take my trail shoes off though. In the back of my mind I knew that I wanted to get back out there and try to add some more miles in. After about a 30 minute break, I headed back out on the trails by myself. The plan was to start at the finish and run in the course in reverse, hoping to see other SacFit members running towards the finish. In which case I would turn around and join them back to the finish at the campsite. 3.3 miles in I hadn't seen anyone. I forgot to refill my Camelbak and grab more food before heading back out, I was bored from being alone, I was walking a lot instead of running, and I just wasn't feeling it. I turned around at that point and started heading back to the campsite. At that point though, I didn't care how many miles I going to put in that day, I just wanted to be done. I wanted to be back at the campsite and socializing. So I did something I never thought I would do. I texted Leti and asked her to pick me up and give me a ride back to the campsite. Best decision of the day right there.

I got back to the campsite, loaded up on tons of vegan chocolate chip cookies and grapes, and I had fun. Don't get me wrong, there were definitely times out on the trail I was enjoying myself too, but those last few miles I ran by myself just weren't cutting it.

I'm so glad I turned around when I did. I wanted to keep running to feel more accomplished, to finish what I had gone out there to do that day. But I'm okay with running only 17.75 miles. Again, that's farther than I've run in 4 months.

Even though I wanted so badly to do the Run on the Sly 50K I decided it's in my best interest not to. I'm still going to be so jealous of everyone who is running the race, but they've been training since the beginning of June for it, and I haven't. That's my own fault. I know there will be other races, and after this I'm going to make myself stick to a training schedule.

Despite my decision to not participate in Run on the Sly, I did enjoy the rest of my day trip in Sly Park. I ate so much good vegan food: sausage, more chocolate chip cookies, and s'mores!

There are so many fun and interesting races out there to choose from, but this year Run on the Sly isn't my race, and that's okay.