Sunday, September 20, 2015

Woodstock 100K

So I finished the race, sat down, and had a cookie.

It was soft, maybe a little warm from the sun and oh-my-god yummy. Every bite was another slice of perfection. I remember  closing my eyes and thinking of how this moment encapsulated one of the key joys of running- the stopping, and pure simple indulgence of a well earned treat at the end of a long, difficult slog.

One of my friends asked "are you okay?' while I was eating the cookie, and I replied with something like "I'm just enjoying the cookie." When I think I should have said: "I'm just enjoying the hell out of this cookie." because I was. And I think in that moment each of the 18 hours I spent out on the trail was rewarded but the simple bliss of a single cookie, of sitting down and resting, of the contentment of finishing another race and not taking it for granted.

And that is one of the many reasons I run.

It was a good race, with only a fraction of the pain I experienced doing the 100 mile in 2013. The weather was even better, and I ran with good company for the entire time. My feet hurt, but that was the only real discomfort. I stopped being able to drink the water out on the course (similar to the Hungerford issue last year) about 30 miles in for whatever reason, so I drank sprite instead. No biggie.

I got to share stories and encourage people on and I found the the night is not half so difficult when there's good conversation. And the stars were lovely.

But there's a bit of sadness, too; a very real sense that I may never enjoy a cookie quite so much as I have already, that my 2015 Woodstock cookie experience is as good as it gets. Which is kind of a scary thing.

But I digress. It was a great run, and an excellent way to end the run, and I am content. Though I do hold out hope for an even better cookie experience, some day.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Labor Day 30K

Running easy sounds like a contradiction in terms, sometimes. Racing easy sounds impossible.

But it's exactly what I did during the labor day 30K this year; it's one of my favorite races, and I met up with some friends and ran with them through the race. Walked the hills, relaxed and kept an easy feel to it. Chatted, came up with a few plans for Woodstock next week, and tried to put my mind in neutral and just let the miles roll by.

Strangely enough, that's exactly what happened. I saw the mile markers, but didn't let myself think about them. I focused on my breathing, my stride, and on not on any pain I was feeling or how hot or humid it was or really anything much. And it felt pretty good.

My ribs ached quite a bit when going from walking to running, though. And I"m getting some plantar fasciitis. Both of these worry me for Woodstock. Hopefully between Aleve and stubbornness I'll be able to get across the finish line.