I had my first “long” run yesterday…I did 11 miles. I was a bit nervous about it. I am not sure why, though.
Anyway, we went to the Bear Valley trailhead in Olema, CA. Laura (one of the marvelous women training for a half-marathon) was saying that she just didn’t have the “running mojo” and was trying to get it back. I completely empathized to her, and was thinking about it as I started on my run. There have definitely been numerous moments throughout my running “career” when I just didn’t know why I was out there; sometimes not even getting out there. My loss of mojo is usually accompanied by feelings of inadequacy. I know I am not the fastest or best runner on the road, so why do I do it?
My husband asked me that same question when I told him I was going to do a half-marathon, followed by a marathon. He wasn’t being mean, he was just asking, “Why don’t you focus on riding since you are obviously stronger on the bike?” That is a very valid question. I am stronger on two wheels than I am on two feet. At the time he asked me the question I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know.”
Over the last couple of weeks of training, I have started to figure out why it is that I continue to focus most of my attention on running. I like the challenge. I like trying to get better at something I am not that great at. In the past, my modus operandi was to stop doing something once I realized I couldn’t excel at it. Running has consistently offered me a challenge that I refuse to back down from. And, I am improving. The other day in boot camp I ran my fasted 800 meters ever. It felt great. And, I know I am getting stronger with my endurance as well.
Speaking of endurance, let’s get back to my long run. It went so well. I couldn’t have asked for a better first double-digit run. To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting a stellar performance on the trail yesterday – I had a few glasses of wine Friday night, and didn’t get to bed until 11:30. So, I was a wee bit hung over and quite tired, as I had to get up at 6 a.m. Anyway, we headed out on the trail. (Aside: I have decided to incorporate run/walk training since I am being realistic that I won’t be able to run the entire 26 miles.) The first 15 minutes were brutal, as I just wasn’t feeling great. So, I started my run/walk cycle early. I walked a bit and then started running for five minutes (I am doing the run 5, walk 1 cycle). I felt fantastic. My five minute cycles were at about an 8:30 pace, and it felt good. I continued to feel great for the entire 11 miles – and managed to get a very decent time.
So, I am improving. I am feeling good while running. Want to know why else I run? And this is really the main reason…the views I can only get from being on foot.
Bear Valley in Olema, CA is an amazing place. You start at the Bear Valley Visitors’ Center and head into the woods, where you can hike or run without the hot sun beating down upon your skull (OK, we are near the coast so the sun takes awhile to show up).
The best part is where the Bear Valley Trail ends and the Coastal Trail begins. As I came out of the woods and veered to the right, there was nothing but vast views of amazing grandeur. Grandeur that I can’t ride a bike to (bikes aren’t allowed, but I won’t mountain bike anyway).
And, because the run is an out-and-back, I am given the gift of seeing everything from a new direction.
I run to challenge myself. I run to better myself. But, mostly I run to see the amazing things I sometimes forget are out there. I run for the beauty of it.