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Sunday, February 24, 2013

I think I can’t

After working a 6 day week, I started off this morning at 4:30 AM in a low mood.  I felt fatigued. I felt discouraged.  As Old Goat 50 approaches, I realize more than ever, that I am in way over my head.  I don’t think I can do it.  And how can I even start a race if I don’t think that I can do it?

Even with this defeatist attitude, I dressed for a run and got out the door early.  I began the drive up the mountain at 5:00 AM.  About five miles into Ortega Highway, a car sped up behind me.  The skies were pitch black, the moon behind me, low on the horizon.  All I could decipher about the car were its blaring headlights riding up my rear. 

Now, I drive that windy, cliffy highway cautiously, but I keep at the speed limit.  Often drivers get behind me and tailgate beyond irritation.  I only slightly speed up when this occurs because I don’t want to become one of the countless fatalities of Ortega Highway.  I always pull over at the first turnout – even if the driver isn’t tailgating.  I don’t like driving up that mountain with any vehicles behind me. 

No turnout for a few miles I sped up, over the speed limit, I’m sure.  The car behind me slowed just a bit, but still rode me.  Then suddenly, the red and blue spinning lights took over the sky.  It was the sheriff.  His lights were magnificently bright against the black mountains.  And in my awe, I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT.  “Of all people,” I thought, “I’m going to get a speeding ticket???”  (Funny thing, the last speeding ticket I got was on Ortega Highway!  I was pregnant with my first son on my way home from substitute teaching at a boys’ detention camp located near Lower Blue Jay Campground.  The irony!)

The deputy was a young guy.  I probably had 20 years on him.  Foolishly, I immediately blurted out my reason for speeding.  He said, “That’s okay, don’t worry about it.”  Turns out, he pulled me over because my truck matched the description of someone who had just stolen some pallets.  (Or so he said Smile). 

“Have a good night,” he said.  And I was off driving up the mountain toward Lower Blue Jay Campground to run The Candy Store Lollipop Loop plus some.  I stashed some water on my way there.  I arrived to Blue Jay under dark skies.  After applying sunscreen and Glide while sitting in my warm truck, I opened the door and stepped out.  Tree canopies all about swirled in a fierce wind.  My face nearly cracked and shattered from the wind chill. 

I could not run in the freezing wind.  Or could I?  I felt like a wimp, like maybe I should.  But in the end, I decided to drive back down the mountain during sunrise.  I stopped to get the water I stashed on the way up.  Then I debated all the way down the mountain what I should do.

Seriously, I didn’t want to run.  My eyelids felt heavy.  I thought about driving home and going straight to bed.  However, I knew that I’d let the evil bashing voices in to condemn me all day.  Then I thought, “Heck, just pull over and sleep in the truck; that way no one will know.”  (Ha, ha, no one but me, not to mention, I’d have to lie to my family, which I wouldn’t do).  At the bottom of the mountain, I finally decided some food might help me get along.  So I stopped by McDonalds for a healthy greasy breakfast.  The Sausage Egg McMuffin totaled 450 calories.  So, I made the decision to run the coastal hills without calories, thinking the 450 would do me.  (I usually don’t eat breakfast before running.)

The weather was quite cold at Aliso/Wood Canyons, but not freezing.  I took off into Aliso Canyon with stiff calves and shins, which is weird because that tightness doesn’t occur in the mountains. 

I really had no idea how far I’d run this morning, though I had planned on 26.  I knew that I wouldn’t do that.  I wasn’t even sure if I could do 5 miles today.  Relieved to just get out there, I practiced loosening up.  I practiced on focusing.  I practiced keeping my core straight.  Whenever I thought about anything, I sobbed.  So, I didn’t think.  I concentrated on running elevation, not so much miles.  (I still want to run Mt. Everest’s elevation this month). 

I wound in and around the wilderness park for a little over 16 miles.  At first I felt very good on the down hills.  I even felt okay on the ascents.  Before I was even half way through (which I didn’t know at the time because I didn’t know how many miles I would run), fatigued settled in.  Allowing the McDonalds breakfast to carry me through on calories was not a good idea. 

Though my mood was in the dumps overall today, I enjoyed much of today’s run.  I got out there when I didn’t want to run.  The only thing I wanted to do was sleep.  So utterly wiped out I was in the end, I hiked the last .75 mile in.  And now that I think of it, I didn’t even stretch at the truck.  Instead, I drove home, but stopped first for some groceries.  Then I slept for 2 hours.

And that is the story of today’s run. 

A quick pose after climbing Mentally Sensitive:

Finishing up Rock It:

Dragging myself up Lynx:

Running Up Mentally Sen. down Rock It, Up Lynx, West Ridge, down Mathis 2-24-2013, Elevation - Distance

Running Up Mentally Sen. down Rock It, Up Lynx, West Ridge, down Mathis 2-24-2013


  1. Well done for getting out there and run in the end. I know I sometimes find it harder to run when I have to drive to where I run. Can be so difficult sometimes. Doing some running is the best for any mood. Take care and rest enough Lauren. Have a good week!

    1. Thanks Johann. Going through a tough time. But "they" say I am tough, so I shall endure! Have a great week.

  2. Good on you for getting out there even when you really didn't want to. I've been there as well but the payoff AFTER the run was well worth it and the funny thing (at least for me is) that usually the runs that I dread the most end up being some of the best. Go figure. Good luck and make sure you let your body rest. It's some of the best "training" that you can do and the "hay is almost all in the barn" :-) well done

    1. It is true Chris, the runs that I dread usually end up being the best runs. Re: rest. I have had too much rest unfortunately. My last ultra I went into over-trained. Now it is time to find out what it's like to go in under-trained. Thanks for reading!!

  3. Way to push through and get out there. Chris is right, rest is a huge part of preparation. Of course you're in over your head, that what makes it that much more rewarding, HELLO!!! :) Remember, you only get one "I can't" moment per race. Sending good karma your way!!!

    1. Your comment me laugh Hank. Thanks!

  4. Tremendous run for not being in the mood!

  5. I felt I had no choice Glenn. That dang Old Goat 50 is gnawing, gnawing, gnawing at me!