Although truthfully, I was *really* wishing I was 21, or 30 or even 10. ;)
I'm training for a 50K trail race in two weeks and a 24 hour paved race in 3 weeks. I had the bright idea that I wanted to run 39K to celebrate my 39th birthday. Then I told a few people about it so I couldn't NOT do it. I was committed. Or maybe I *should* be committed. ;) hee hee
I went out to Bluff Creek trails. I honestly couldn't imagine running 24 miles out there. Mostly because it's a 3.8 mile loop, but also because I knew I'd be running in circles literally most of the day. And circles are boring...and get old very quickly. But Bluff is the best place to run multiple loops because I can park my car right near the trailhead and have constant access to my trunk o' goodies (snacks, water, extra shoes/socks, etc). It's the ideal location for doing something long and unsupported. It also means I can run with just a small hand-held bottle and don't have to wear my running pack.
I rolled out of bed around 7 and then took my time getting ready and made it to the trailhead about 8ish. I wasn't in any big hurry because the temps were forecasted to be chilly all day and I didn't need to run early to avoid the heat. It's what I love the most about fall/winter running!
I started running about 8:10 and went in about a jillion weird little loops. I never ran the whole trail from start to finish, but would run one section, then run around and hit another section and then run around some more and do yet another. I cut the trail, ran backwards on the trail, and jumped from section to section just to keep it interesting. Running them out of order made it seem more interesting and helped kill the boredom a little.
I felt pretty good the whole time. I never did take off my long-sleeve layer, tho, and alternated running with/without gloves for most of the day. The wind was blowing pretty hard, but luckily the trees always help to mitigate that. The trail was pretty soft and easy on the body. Because the weather was overcast and cold, there weren't a lot of people out and about. A few mtn bikers, a few runners and some people with dogs. It was pretty dead out there, which isn't so bad. I don't run with music out there (not a good idea with bikes on the trail IMO), so I had PLENTY of time to listen to all the thoughts in my little head. I don't even know what I think about when I run. Sometimes I re-hash old conversations that are long gone and come up with witty comebacks that I'll never remember for future reference. Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head (yesterday it was "whoop there it is" for some stupid reason), sometimes I just have no thoughts whatsoever.
I find it's easier to turn off my brain that it should be.
Even tho it wasn't a super long run, I still had those moments when you hit a low spot mentally and you have to try to climb your way back out of it. You know, talk to yourself and say "this is only a low spot, it will get better." My first low spot was about mile 18 (the typical "wall" for me in a marathon). I had to just tell myself that I felt bad right now but that I will feel better soon. Tried to notice the birds and listen to my feet on the dirt. Also tried to sing the Foo Fighters Baker Street and remember all the words. I could not.
My next wall came around 22 when I was just cold and ready to be done. My butt cheeks were freezing!! I only had on my CW-X tights and they are pretty thin, so my poor bum was going numb from the cold. And trust me- it's NOT all muscle back there. I thought fat was a good insulator??? I had to keep rubbing on it (that must have been a sight). Low spots pass, you just have to ride them out.
At almost 5 hours in and with 11K to go, my Garmin started hollering at me "low battery." ugh... if it died I would either have to go home and get my hubs Garmin and drive back out or finish my run on the treadmill. Neither option was very appealing. So I started doing loops on the one mile paved loop so I would know exactly how far I had gone if the Garmin died on me out there.
That was the beginning of the blisters and the pain. I don't think it was the miles, because I'd been doing fine up to that point. I think running on the pavement in my trail shoes is what did it. I *should have* put my road shoes on. I *should have* changed socks, but I didn't. Every kilometer that passed got progressively more blistery and painful. I should have known better... but apparently I did not. Rookie mistake!
So the last 11K was incredibly slow and painful. I walked it, and not very fast. I tried speed-walking like some of those wacky people who can throw down 9 min/miles walking so funny, but all it did was make my hips hurt even more. I tried coaxing myself into running, but my feet protested in anger. So I walked.
I finally finished in 6:46. I literally hit the stop button, turned the GPS off, and it died. Thanks for hanging in there, Garmin!
I didn't take pictures out there. I should have. I saw LOTS of deer, little critters, beautiful birds, and some interesting trail walkers. Next time.