Take a good, hard look at this scenery.
Looks pretty, doesn’t it? Awe-inspiring, I might daresay.
But this scenery has a malevolent side. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies and blue skies. Far from it.
This scenery handed me my sorry runner booty on a platter today, and it wasn’t a pretty thing.
Today, I ran 10 HILLY miles amongst the gorgeous terrain featured in this photo. This particular area is a mere city park here in Colorado Springs. Can you believe that? A city park! In any other state, it would at least be a state park, but we have an abundance of scenery riches here in Colorado. One can’t go around naming everything a state or national park. The whole damn state would be a national park if we were going on the basis of looks alone.
See what I mean?
Anyway, this run was probably the toughest and most arduous run of my life. No joke. Tougher than both of the half marathons I’ve run and any other training run that preceded it. It KILLED.
This lovely park, appropriately named “Garden of the Gods,” is one of the toughest places to run in Colorado Springs, and I know this. I know this, and yet I still thought it would be a grand idea to do my weekly long run amongst the killer trails and endless hills of this area.
I shake my head in shame at my own stupidity. Oh, silly and misguided Lindsay…..thinking I could tackle the killer hills for miles on end.
It didn’t help matters that it was incredibly dry and sunny out today. I had to loop back to my car for water bottle refills several times because I was going through my water much faster than I had anticipated.
This was where I started the run. Home base, if you will. I made several trips back to this area during the run to refill the water bottles and refuel.
I also started this run a little later than I meant to- 9:30 instead of 7:00. Those extra two and a half hours between my original start time and my actual start time led to a significantly higher temperature that I had to combat throughout the run.
A mile and a half into my run (which starts straight up a steep incline and never relents….the park literally has no flat parts. It’s all steep hills!), my legs were beginning to burn.
In all ways possible. My muscles burned, and I also acquired a sunburn on the backs of my calves! Double whammy. The fierce Colorado sun sure can do a number on someone with fair skin like mine.
Due to these circumstances, I decided to throw all expectations for this run out the window. I just wanted to survive it. That was all….
I slowed down my pace a fair amount, so I could contend with the hills (and I am quite proud of myself for conquering the vast majority of them, some of which extended for a mile and a half at a whack). I also took a few walking breaks when the muscle burn became too much. Mentally, this run seemed endless; and physically, it was just painful.
But I survived. I survived, and I feel that the experience has served as worthy preparation for those last few miles of the marathon, when I imagine I’ll be feeling quite similarly to the way I felt today.
When you just want it all to be over with, but you have to force yourself to keep going, to dig in deep to whatever reserves of energy you have stored deep within you and use it to get you through the run.
That’s what I did today, and I’m proud of myself for it.
It doesn’t hurt that I had these views as the reward for my efforts. Beautiful mountain views ALWAYS motivate and inspire me.
For dinner tonight, I had a soup n’ sandwich combo platter. I might have even made the sandwich all by myself- my first attempt at “cooking” in more days than I’d like to admit (that is, if you can call assembling a sandwich “cooking”). For my sake, let’s just roll with it.
The soup of the day was a lovely gazpacho (…made by mom…).
The featured sandwich (made by me!) was a turkey havarti melt with spinach and cilantro-mint pesto on a whole wheat sandwich thin.
Yum, yum. I love any and all melted cheese action. The havarti paired nicely with the pesto too.
Question: What’s the toughest run (or workout) you’ve ever had? Did you find it demoralizing or motivational?