I really enjoyed this run and I’m not sure why. I’ve begun to think of them less as tedious slogs to get through to improve distance and time on feet and increase mitochondria and test gear and nutrition. I’ve come to think of them as adventures. I don’t really pay attention to my time and if I feel like I need to walk, then I walk. I’m looking at doing races that go far beyond a marathon and as long as I finish, that’s all that really matters at this point. Trust me: it took a long time to get to this point mentally.
This time I parked at a different trailhead and set off. Usually I try to follow the Transcanada Trail for a bit but this time, I knew that I needed to cover more ground so I wove back and forth across the forest. Walk the ups and run everything else.
I brought two water bottles for my vest: one had Skratch labs lemon and matcha and the other had coconut water. The bladder for my vest carried just over one litre of plain water. I had several pouches of baby food (still feels weird saying that), some dates and almonds, an emergency pouch of Honey Stingers, and salt tabs. I was set.
After spraying myself down with sunblock and bug spray I headed into the shade. And almost immediately up a hill. A sandy one at that. I walked up that then back into my run. Until the next hill. It seems that I forget how close these hills are to each other.
I finally loosened up and was rolling along when I heard something. I slowed. There it was again. At 2:41 pm I was listening to a coyote calling not too far behind me. I tried to get my phone out to record it but after wrestling with my pack and the straps and all I missed it. That was a little odd. Not quite as odd as the Bell plate in the forest. I guess it’s like a sewer cover but this spot in nowhere near houses. Very strange.
I made it all the way to the township line, then turned around and started making my way back. This was all new forest so I was enjoying the scenery. Until I reached 20 km. For some reason I seem to hit…I don’t know what to call it. It’s not a wall. It’s just off. I hit that point during my last run around the same spot so I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a section of open field and it gets really hot or if it’s my brain trying to say “Hey let’s take a break because this running thing is hard” in the interest of self-preservation. I guzzled back some water, took my gel, and had a salt tab. I walked for a bit, even the flat spots, and soon I was feeling better.
Then at 22 km into the run, I went to drink some water and nothing came out of the mouth piece. Uh oh. Crap. I looked at my water bottles and both were pretty low. I did the math and figured if I took a sip every other kilometre I’ll be fine until I got back to the car.
Then of course, all I wanted to do was drink the last of my fluids. My lips had never felt as dry as they did at that point. The last three kilometres were the absolute worst. The “I’m almost done but why aren’t I there yet?” feeling as I tried to calculate where to go to be close to the lot but not so close that I had to backtrack.
And finally, my watch beeped. I had ran 35 km in almost five hours on the dot through rolling hills and winding forest trails. I eased back into my car and drank an entire bottle of hot car water before I drove home. The legs stiffened up quite nicely on the drive but not nearly as bad as I had expected.
I guess I’m finally getting the hang of this running thing after all.