Yesterday on the agenda was 24 fabulous miles, OK so maybe they weren't that fabulous but it was still 24 miles and time on my feet. I switched things up and decided to do my long run on Friday as I had taken it off from work, but maybe that wasn't such a good idea or maybe it wasn't a good idea to go out and have some beer the night before. I was probably a bit dehydrated and didn't set myself up for a successful run. But lesson learned and all I can do is move on from it.
Traildog came with me and he was super excited to get started, so excited that he was having a hard time waiting while I tied my shoes. Not only did I have to pack enough fuel for me but I also had to make sure I had enough fuel for Traildog. We started out and headed down the DAM hill and hit the single track in no time at all. As soon as we hit the single track I took Traildog off his leash and let him go. He was so happy to be out and about. He even made a huge leap over that little dip, it was pretty exciting to see.
My legs were feeling pretty good it was my mental mind frame that was a different story. For some reason I had a lot of different thoughts running through my head and I couldn't get it under control, I couldn't turn it off so all I could do was try and embrace it but that ended up being pretty hard.
The trail was nice and the ground tacky and the sun was shining it was a beautiful day, but I wasn't having too much fun on the trail. Traildog on the other hand was having a blast, he was running ahead of me and than would stop and wait and if I took too long he would come running back to me with such enthusiasm. Once he saw me and we made eye contact he would turn around and take off. I really wonder how many miles he actually put in with all that coming and going.
The miles were ticking by but not as quickly as I needed. I needed to change my thinking so that I could hopefully turn this run around. I hit Avery's Pond and that put a little smile on my face and I found that little bit of happiness that I needed. We continued on and I slowly found a good rhythm as I neared Rattlesnake bar. I was cruising and was feeling pretty good, physically and mentally. Amazing how things can turn around during a run, that is great thing about ultras the highs and lows. During those low points I know I need to find something to hold on to to keep me going and yesterday it was Traildog. I saw how much fun he was having and that brought joy to me.
Soon we hit our turnaround in 2:05 and there I spent time refueling and feeding Traildog some puppy chow. We headed back and man did the Overlook feel so far away. It felt like I was out in the middle of nowhere with a huge task in front of me. I really didn't want to head back, I was not looking forward to it and I knew it was going to be a tough run back.
I started back and Traildog took the lead, he was off and to the races and even missed a few key turns. I had to yell for him and he came flying down the trail. Slowly the miles went by and next thing I knew I was back at Avery's Pond. Only 8 miles to go. Piece of cake. Right?
I kept pushing forward knowing this was more of a mental battle than anything else. Just keep moving, just keep moving is what I kept telling myself. Just keep moving is what we did. The really runnable sections I ran, I focused on running, I was trying to push myself during the areas that I knew were runnable as there are going to be times during races that I will feel like this. But by pushing on and running even though my mind is saying stop will only make me a stronger runner.
Soon we arrived at the base of the DAM hill, only this was going to be a totally different experience from the last time I ran it. This was going to be mental challenge as I was completely defeated. I hiked and hiked and hiked, than I ran and ran and ran than I hiked. It was slow progress but slowly but surely we were making our way up. Just keep moving forward. With 1.5 to go a gear hit and I was running, I was pushing myself and I could see Traildog pushing himself. Together we were pushing each other. We pushed that little bit and finished as strong as we could. 24 miles in the book and one tough run for that is for sure.
I know this run will make me a stronger runner as I didn't give up. I kept pushing on. I am glad that Traildog was with me as he helped me get focused again and he helped me during those tough times.