After a long lay-off, it takes weeks just to get used to exercising again. You know there's going to be setbacks and bad days, but they tend to bunch toward the start, as once you've overcome an obstacle, it doesn't seem like much of an obstacle the next tme around.
Yesterday, I was trying to get my third consecutive day of 10 miles or more for the first time in 13 months (In 2007, I had 67 consecutive... so, it's been a long hard fall). I knew the weather was going to get worse as the day went on, so I wanted to get an early start. Things just weren't working out and it took forever to get started and out the door. There were seven swans a-swimming on the lake (how Christmas-y! and, being Tundra Swans, how tundra-y!); I'd have taken a photo, but they were swan-shaped, swan-colored and acting swan-like, so you get the idea. There's nothing to stop the wind off the lake and the sudden 20 degree drop in temps from the day before told me I was underdressed, so I went back inside. I didn't get back out before I had other things to do.
It was one of those days. The doors of the car had iced shut and I had to enter the car from the trunk and shoulder the doors open from the inside. Then the trunk wouldn't latch any more. You've had bad days, you know how it goes. It was bad day-shaped, bad day-colored and acting bad day-like.
I tried to rearrange things so I'd have a long break to get in my run around lunch time, but everything was conspiring against me. The hours went by, the wind chill continued to drop to 7 (-11C). I decided I was going to need other people to push me along, so I decided to run indoors at the Dome again.
It took 95 minutes to drive the 12 miles. In summer, I could've run that.
From the very first step, it was apparent that this was going to be a rough one. I'd planned 11 miles or 105 minutes, whichever came first, when I planned to run outside. In the dome, it was going to have to be either 10 miles or 15... and I'd shoot for 15.
People I hadn't seen for a year were passing me, saying, "So you haven't retired yet, after all." I hate being passed. Hate it with a passion. They didn't know what I was going through, what the past few days or months have been like. I was going to do this g.-d. workout.
At 5 miles, I stopped for water and it was really hard to start up again. I talked briefly with a couple of guys who were already done for the day (mostly making fun of the triathletes, though being appreciative of what the extreme heat in there meant for clothing options). I started again, 13 laps to go to hit 10 miles (15 wasn't going to happen). I got lapped by a friend of mine and said, "You get one of those, lifetime." I only made it 4 laps when I had to stop.
It took 10 minutes to get started again. My legs hurt from pounding on cement. I started doing the quitter math: if I get to point x, it'll be y miles and that'd be good enough. "I'm going to finish this m.-f. workout." That stubbornness will come in handy in the next 100 miler. My form was falling apart, I was slowing from the already slow pace. I was down to three laps to go when I needed to stop for water again.
This time there was no hesitation getting back to business. The number of people there was already a third of what it had been. Everyone else was done, had changed clothes, was heading home. Two laps, one lap.
Today it's colder and there's no indoor option.
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
4 days ago