Rain visited us once again in Southern California. As “they” said when I was a child, “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” I’ll tell you what else April Showers bring. They bring TRAIL CLOSURES. The weather was clear all day, so I didn’t think when I raced off in my truck to get in one last trail run before this weekend’s race, that the trails would still be closed. I met two hikers coming up into the city park who warned me about the closure. My question was, “Did you see any rangers?”
All that mattered to me was, No Rangers In Sight! At this point, especially since I’ve been extremely stressed over my race, AND I haven’t been able to run due to weather, AND the last time I ran I had knee problems, I was willing to dive into bushes to avoid rangers.
My goal today was to test out my knee and also to remind myself of one thing, and that is, it’s always hard. What’s hard? Trail running (well, running in general). Why would I need to remind myself this? The answer is I needed to remember. I believe I have been feeling sooooooo much anxiety over Saturday’s race because I keep upping the ante, and as such, my runs GOT HARDER. I knew this before, even without upping the ante, running doesn’t get easy. My runs may get easier, but NEVER easy. Sure. I have good runs that are easy once in a while. I feel stronger, I may run a bit faster. And sure, some runners make it look easy. But I bet if you ask elite runners, they will say that running up a mountain is not easy. Thus, I have to ask myself, why would I want it to be easy? I certainly didn’t start trail running (or running in general) because it’s easy. I started simply because of the opposite, BECAUSE IT’S NOT EASY.
So to make use of a cliché: “Why do I run?” Not because it is easy, but because IT IS HARD. Thankfully I felt strong this afternoon, and I felt happy on my my short “illegal” run to the Top of the World this afternoon. I wasn’t sure how another mental fatigue would affect me. I also saw a few hikers which made me happy as well – I wasn’t the only scofflaw! The way in was mainly uphill, so I didn’t feel much relief over the fact that I felt no knee pain. One thing I did notice was that I was SO BORED OF MY IPOD MUSIC. Note to self: Must change out some of the music Friday (tomorrow). Another thing I noticed was immense beauty surrounding me.
I never stopped running (except to snap a quick photo on this run) and I kept up the pace without knowing my pace. I was so eager to get out the door this afternoon that I forgot my garmin! As I ran up the steepest portion of West Ridge, I noticed a mother and son walking up backward (exactly what I used to do on tough hills before I was a runner.) When I reached the top, they were sitting in the shade of a kiosk and the mother jokingly rolled her eyes at me, which I interpreted as “What the hell are you doing.?” I laughed out loud and said, “I call this hill, ‘Good Girls Don’t’ – do you remember that song by The Knack?” She laughed too and said that she did remember the song. I didn’t skip a beat and continued on uphill toward Top of The World.
I picked up my pace on the way back, which has its uphills, but is mainly downhill. Happily I report that I felt no knee pain. I did feel the pain of nerve rubbing against bone in my right foot, which I must have mentioned before. I declined surgery years ago, because I’d rather put up with the minor pain than months of recovery (I had surgery on the left foot to remove the nerve, and the recovery was very long, and it took years for my foot to feel “normal” again.) On the plus side, the foot pain is very bearable and I happily report that this afternoon’s run was delightful. No sign of mental fatigue. In fact, I felt a bit saddened that my run was coming to an end.