As marathon season, and the traditional running season in general, winds down many of the running magazines, e-zines, blogs and other media are putting together articles about the post race let down. I won’t re-hash what is said. But I will say it is real.
And for me, the only way to beat the blah is to get out and do something. The past few weeks, I did just that.
Now, to be perfectly clear, my running has dropped off after the marathon. I have kind of quit caring about the fast 5k. It’s nice to just run for the love of being out and running. And that’s where I decided to go and do some awesome things.
The first thing I did was run my mountain. Base to summit to base. I had no idea how long the trail was. I had only a rough idea how much elevation would be covered. I thought I knew where the steepest parts would be.
And armed with this lack of information, I went out for a run. It was an adventure.
I knew the trail crossed the road twice. At the upper crossing I stopped the car and stashed some water and food. I parked down by where the parasailers and hang gliders parked, and I slowly started the climb. I went off with the attitude of a guy who might be running a self-support 20 mile run. I took it easy. I looked at the scenery. I enjoyed the trail, the beautiful fall day, and the sound of my breathing and foot falls. Having ditched the ipod many weeks ago I have come to really appreciate the sound my feet on the ground. The crunch of the dirt on the trails is one of my favorite sounds while running. I am finally in shape enough that the sound of my own breathing doesn’t freak me out. (Now to just keep that…)
And the run was good. Shorter than expected. Easier than expected. And it was fun. Right up until I discovered someone had walked off with my cache of supplies. So, thankfully it was shorter and easier than expected. But who does that?
4.5 miles later (including the spur to Buffalo Bills Grave), I was standing at the top of the hill. There was nowhere to go but down. I took a moment to allow some mountain bikers to head down first (no need to force them to pass me). I stopped and looked around. I had been to this point numerous times. But this was the first time I started at the very, very bottom. And it felt good.
As I descended, the missing water and food melted from my mind. I had run the mountain. And I was still running. I’m not going to say that the sense of accomplishment was equal to the marathon finish line. But I had tackled something that had intimidated me in the past. And it felt good.
And that brings me to this morning. All summer I had watched people running one section of trail next to where my youngest girl goes to pre-school. Today, I ran it. From the road, this trail just looks like heaven. Gently rolling, fairly fast, knee high mountain grasses on both sides of the trail, and the light in the morning and evening hits everything just right and makes it look like one of those inspirational posters you see on facebook.
And today, I ran it. And it was every bit as good as I had expected. I can only imagine that the passing cars on that section saw me as I had seen the other runners all summer long – somewhat hazy images in the morning light enjoying a simple jaunt on the trail. Part of me hopes I was able to inspire someone to get out and do something. But mostly, I’m just glad I managed to make the time to run that spot.
Again, it was a bit of an adventure. I had a good idea where the trail went and what to expect, but I didn’t *KNOW* where I was going or what to expect. I knew I had time for about five miles. So before deciding, I settled on a 2.5 mile out and back. The middle quarter mile was a steep hill. My turn around point was in the middle of the hill. I can’t wait to get back there and and do a loop.
Hopefully as the summer race season winds down you are able to get out and just enjoy being there and doing your thing.
Until next time, don’t let the fat man catch you.