18 miles of slugs and horseflies… in short, a good long run.

When I woke up this morning, quads and glutes stiff and sore from squats on Tuesday, I thought, “Oh boy. This is gonna be rough.” But I forced myself up and out of bed and was on the trail shortly after 8, early enough that mist was still rising off fields and ponds. Initially, I was a little sore, but squat-sore quickly blended with running-sore so it didn’t matter. Because my mileage has been pretty light, though, my legs were decently rested – just sore. It’s kind of a disorienting feeling, but hey, I’ll take it.

The dreaded, hated horseflies made their appearance early on and stuck with me for more or less the entire time. I’ve gotten pretty good at not letting them actually irritate me, since they tend not to actually bite me. But that doesn’t stop me from smacking them. I have the blood/goo of dozens on my hands. Now, I bought a sweet hat a few days ago for the express purpose of keeping flies from forming buzzing horror-movie nests in my hair. I brought it with me. And I forgot to actually put it on before heading into the woods. Smart.

But I digress. Flies aside, it was actually a really great run. Like my last longer run out there, I felt pretty strong the whole way, although my left hip adductor was giving me shit for the last several miles, forcing me to walk up some smaller hills that I normally wouldn’t. Other than that, along with general fatigue, everything went well – even my shins (fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc.). The first hour flew by. The second hour went pretty quickly too, since that section (the added 5 mile loop that brings the total to 18) has a nice flow and is “new” to me since I haven’t run it in months and months. A couple hills, but nothing terrible.

The last 40 minutes or so was a little rougher, mainly because of my hip, but also simply because I haven’t run 18 since… I don’t even know. I hiked/ran 18 last July in Colorado, so maybe then. But I finished in a pretty decent time for me (averaged about 9 min/mi pace), quickly changed into shorts (I ran in capri tights to avoid chafing, works like a charm!), and dove into the lake for cooling off and stretching and generally larking about. I drank my full Nathan pack (2L) and ate 3/4 of a Clif bar while running. I tend to not eat much; I think for my 50M I ate half a PB&J and a clif bar or two. Maybe I should work on that.

Oh, the slugs. There were weirdly a lot of slugs on the trail. I accidentally stepped on one and felt bad.  😦  Also, driving back, I saw a big ol’ coyote dart across the road a ways in front of me, then a bit later a deer bounded across and through a (soybean?) field. I watched it until I saw the last of its little fuzzy antlers disappear.

So yeah. It was definitely a good run and I’m feeling good about things. I opted not to attempt the North Country marathon since it’s pretty soon and I don’t want to build up that quickly, but maybe Run Woodstock… Hmm. Things to think about.

A few thoughts from my run:

There’s something so sincere about pushing yourself and working hard out in the middle of the woods with no one there to watch or to impress, just you. You just have to know how to work hard, which is something I’ve been getting better at. Being uncomfortable probably means you’ll be satisfied with the result. And it’s been said so much, but running really is such a mental thing. If you plan to do 13 and end up doing 11, you probably feel bad. If you plan on 13 and think about adding on a few miles, it seems terrible. It’s like you’re locked in the 13-mile mindset and pace. Plus, there’s that discomfort to address. Today, I was kind of debating just doing 13. “There are flies, maybe I’m ramping up too quickly,” etc. But really I just felt like doing 18 would be more work. The mental game of running is being able to say to yourself, “Okay. We’re running 18 today. You’re going to be tired and probably sore anyway, so may as well run it well.” I think there’s a Pre quote that goes something along the line of “giving it 100% every day, even on training runs, because anything less is shit and cowardly.” And that video of Tony I posted a week or so ago where he talks about the point of the day to push yourself and be satisfied with what you have accomplished, and how staying comfortable isn’t satisfying, really resonated with me today.

Also, I made and ate all of this immediately upon returning. One block of silky tofu, four scoops of soy protein powder, soy milk, cocoa powder, and maple syrup. And many raspberries. Mmmmmm.

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Happy running!
bec