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
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Fun and misery, hand in hand
Saturday morning I woke up to the sight of snow...lots and lots of snow on the ground and in the air. It was peaceful and quiet, and the day called for a 26M run in a Forest Park. I decided to have a cut-back week due to aches and dead leg feeling, I ran Mon, Wed and Thurs 10M each, but took off Tues and Fri. Despite trying to rest, my body did not cooperate on Saturday the minute I stepped out of the car, and, lucky for me, neither did Mike's. Funny how we both have same "cycles" of good week/bad week, although why surprise, we do approximately same training...and we figured we ramped up miles too quick too soon too far. The decision was made to take it as a "recovery" run, slow and joyful, and the morning promised us lots of that. It was beautiful! The ground covered with 2 inches of soft snow, snow on the trees, snow falling off from the sky, white stuff everywhere, yet nice and windless...I kept yelling "I can't believe I didn't bring the camera!". So we were moving, slow and steady, chatting up more than usual (if it's ever possible, but it is, we were not in any rush, didn't have to get home to any particular time finally, and could just walk when we wanted and run when it fit in). We always have things to discuss, any time we can go back to races, runs, life experiences, friends, kids (or grand kids) and just yell out loud at the top of our lungs. By mile 8 I resolved it is the best "fun run" in a season and for a long long time. It was nice to give ourselves permit not to put any effort into this long outing and reminded us last exploration in the Gorge back in October (or November?) when we identified berries and trees...Interesting is how I go from feeling of such an ultrarunning newby when go run with somebody whos' got some 20 years on me in the field (in 2 weeks I will celebrate my 5th year anniversary of that first 50k I did) to the feeling of Grizzly Bear Ultra Pal (or mama-Bear:)) due to the amount of races I had done, places I visited and people I've met and be-friended all around the country...and what else is similar is that we both tend to lean towards some insane courses rather than thinking about shaving some minutes/hours from the faster races and doing more exploring style races, what also puts me more in a category of "old farts" (no offense to anybody) who is fed up with racing (not that I don't want to improve my times, but I rather pick the route that is more difficult and has been spoken of as some weirdo type of thing, that requires more attitude than pure training and the one I'll be proud of even if I come DFL just to finish).
So there we were, slogging through the snow. It was quite cold, and neither one was eating or drinking much, but that was OK for the pace and mood we had. We bumped into a group of runners and stopped to talk - one guy, Glenn, I knew from PCT and Timberline marathon, and he reminded how I "impolitely" passed him with 2 miles to go and smiled devilishly...we had a good laugh at that. Moving to the turn-around point, we were still full of energy and good vibe.
On the way back, shortly, we ran into Cian, another friend, and he did a "flip-n-fall" once saw us, for what got "Yeah, all guys do that when meet me" comment:) We stopped and talked another 5-10 minutes and moved on. Seemed that we have saved quite some energy, and there were more downhill/decline on the way back, so we kind of ran some parts, until we caught up by Dave Terry (Montrail former teammate) and Steve "stent" Smucker. Instead of passing after exchanging a few sentences they stuck with us, what meant (since somehow I always end up int he front) I needed to put myself to work and keep the pace up (those dudes are super-fast). I tried really hard, yet keeping the conversation going, and it was lots of fun catching up and planning the season. Dave is in the Hardrock lottery as well. After 2 miles of all this running (where Steve kept saying " nice pace", and I kept thinking how long I can do it for today) they took a different trail to their cars, and I could exhale:) We ran on a momentum for another mile or so, still super-pleased with the day, when almost suddenly and in a matter of minutes the weather turned its ugly face - it got cold and soft snow changed into sleet and freezing poring rain! No more of this nice stuff around, wet from above, wet feet, wet clothes, wet heavu branches weighing under all that stuff so low to the ground we had to crawl more than walk, not to mention run, and bodies that are tired even more than they were at the beginning...what a drag, and still some 7 miles to go!
It's great that we've been friends forever. Not many people I can take whining, but Mike is allowed:) Oh, it's cold, oh, it's wet, oh, I am hurt but don't want to go faster, can we cut 2 miles off the route? He cracked me up! I turned my pacer-face on and made sure to be nice and cheerful. I am not sure how much of either one of us smack-talking was true, but the more misery there was around, the whinier Mike was getting and the more uplifted (mentally) I was. Actually, I think I was just getting mentally ill and glucose depleted:) I was yelling insanities, telling crazy stories from my life and generally spooking people on the trail. There were few times Mike warned me he'd call 911 and make sure I am taken in one of those nice units where you get a robe with tight sleeves around body...I don't blame him. I always new this ultarrunning stuff borders with craziness, and today it was quite obvious. My excuse was - my pride is more important than circumstances, so I must finish this sucker! Really, I had no excuses, but lots of loud obnoxious talking kept me afloat when I wanted to crawl into a nice warm bed by a fireplace:)
We made it back, and time was not important. The important part was, we had it done, the mental training in the elements, and now we can tell war stories and share these memories...as usual, the worst runs are the ones that stick down the life line to remember:)
I slept for an hour after I had showered, and then downloaded pictures of the snowman Stephen built while I was out. He had a great time playing with the snow!
p.s. No Hardrock for me...but Mike did get in, so pacing it is! I am still bummed:(
p.p.s. Found a new website for local ultra crazies - PNW ultras, and what do you know, WA now has a Trail Series too! Hey, welcome from OTS