When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.
The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire
The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Where is the air?
It's been 10 full days since Stephen and I moved to Austin, TX. As one local friend put it, "what possessed you to move from OR to TX, in the summer, and worst summer in almost a century that is?". Yeah...I wonder:) It's been some 45 days with mercury rising way above 100F. You get to choose - run in early pre-dawn hours with temps may be in upper 70's - low 80's, but humidity hitting almost 90%, or go out in the evening, when it is kind of dry (by local standards), but thermometer is stuck at 104F and it feels like oven, even if a breeze passes by - oven it is. I think Badwater thoughts started popping in my mind, and it is scary like hell that I even think about it...
So, I stopped running some time in the beginning of June. Well, may be I went on some Gorge outings, and even visited Forest Park, but it was little of the reminder of running. In fact, within a year since my hip stress fracture, somehow, somewhy, training as word in my vocabulary almost disappeared, being replaced by "getting out for fun". Attempts to revive some left-over of speed finished before I could even fail at that.
I made 100 miles of High Country in Silverton area with 2 days before Hardrock. It was the highest mileage since May 2008. Ouch. Was it a smart idea to put, granted, not running, but hiking, yet still that many miles and hours at effort of breathing little oxygen, and actually pushing myself (I manage to be pretty much in the front on our course marking days) - I don't know, and frankly, I don't care. It was the best time I spent in years, many, many years...I kind of not doubted I can finish Hardrock - it's a Hard Walk after all, and that's where I am very good at - I can walk days, miles and ages non-stop and not get tired. Well, ok, not get tired very much. I promise I will get back to my story, soon, but for now, just for status facts, let me just point out - after I was back from 2 days worth of drive, I haven't run a step in OR. Little and not so little things occupied me, not to mention PCT 50 prep - which, by the way, despite what seemed from RD's point of view had had a bunch of glitches, from runner's reviews sounded like it was a total blast - and with that I never made it out. Then it was another 3 days of driving 12 hrs a day, and finally here we are, in the heart of Hill Country, Texas...
My first veerings to roads were really sad. I couldn't make my legs move, even on downhills. Well, actually, going down I could at least pretend to "run", flats and inclines were simply out of questions. I decided not to give up. Gym is right inside the complex we live in, so at least I was back "playing" with tiny dumbbells I could muster to lift nowadays. On Saturday, August 1st, Larry was to run a "night" trail 60k. Boys played around (did I mention Stephen and Harrison hit it off in 10 minutes like they've been friends forever? not only it is delightful, it actually was almost frightening and totally unbelievable), and I volunteered at an aid station on this 6-loop course. Standing still in-between work, and especially even so slightly moving produced pouring sweat. I saw people suffering. Jeez, it's a measly 60k! I sure didn't want to run it...
So, yesterday, we "signed up" ourselves for hill repeats. I died in about 20 minutes. We started almost 10am, and the sun was high in the sky, burning skin and lings mercilessly. Not sure how Larry managed to run it, I crawled up the hill each time in twice the time and was bending over just the way he was after a hard effort. Icy water was my hallucination of choice and a long time away. I stuck with proposed time, no matter what, even though I walked over 70% of those 2-plus hours. Who cares? If I learn how to run in Texas heat and humidity, I will be golden...at least that's my motto for now.
So, today was 4 hrs, and Larry kept me company, since I know nothing about trails here. They are not nearly as easy as Portland's, when you just get out, go for miles, turn around and come back. Bikers, hikers and runners criss-crossed so many little paths, in such close proximity, I am lost within 15 minutes. So, we stayed together. I guess Larry needed an easy day...but in some 30 minutes, after a complete break-down of being self-conscious and disgusted with myself and wallowing in self-petty, I suddenly felt good. I started to run. Don't take me wrong, my jaunt were probably 5 minutes the most if counting continuously, but they kept coming one after another, interspersed with only short breaks, and I even managed inclines for a while. It was delightful! Oh, how my mood was changing for good, especially seeing that Larry has no desire to go any faster, and even struggling a bit - yes, of course he did some mo-fo workout yesterday, while I walked in a fuzzy dehydrated glycogen depleted mode, but hey, I'll take this improvement for now! There we were, still dreaming of icy water, but I felt good. I really did! There is a hope for me, I figured. I can't just suddenly stop being a runner, even if I claim I never were. I love this crazy stuff, man, how I love it...so I'll keep trying, slowly, little by little. It's ok to be happy about 12 min/mile, it's ok to walk when I feel like it. I just need to keep moving forward, and everything will be just fine:)