I looked back over my training that’s happened since i moved to Boise a little over a month ago. It surprised me to see that I hadn’t run on my own, without a buddy or my spouse in an entire month!! Before I moved here, I ran with friends on my long, trail runs on Saturdays and midweek, I’d run with some friends in my neighborhood after dark. The rest of the time, I ran solo. This has been such a big change! Other things have changed too. Before I came here, I rarely ran in the dark or used my headlamp. It was common to do one group run a week, for an hour or so after dark and once in a while we’d meet up early on Saturdays to run on trails in the early morning before the sun rose — but that, was honestly a pretty rare treat. Now, I do it 2-4 days a week! Before, I was lucky to get on trails once a week. Now, I don’t run roads at all unless they are part of my trail runs, getting from one section to another, most of the time. My mileage has grown too. In the previous 3 months before moving to Boise my monthly miles were: August – 70 (the month I ran my 50 and got ITBS and had to recover.) September – 142. October – 132. In November, I ran 175. That’s a nice bump up! Having access to the trail systems that are practically out my front door and so many encouraging friends who invite me along on their runs has made my running life so much richer and so much better!!!
There’s really only one downfall!!!! I’m so tired! I started reading The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery last night in bed. I told my husband, “This is just the sort of common sense I need to be reading to keep me in check, so I don’t crash and burn in my enthusiastic embracing of my new found running Nirvana!”
My legs were so heavy today. The quads and calves are sore. My shoulders feel slumpy. My mind was heavy with thoughts I needed to sort through. Having a slow, plodding run to myself in the DAYLIGHT, overlooking Boise on trails was just what I really needed today. I may not be able to solve all my problems on a run, but it does help me process, think, reflect and come back with some peace in my head and heart that I may not have had when I walked out the door. That happened for me today.
I drove to the Military Reserve (which I clocked at exactly 8 miles on the nose on my odometer.) I was drained enough that I just sat there once I arrived. That’s never happened to me before. I’m usually fairly peppy. Not today, though. My body’s still processing a lot of the training that I’ve put it through the past few weeks. It was an effort just to get out of the car, turn on the Garmin and start moving.
I’m eager to find my heart rate monitor in the zillions of boxes that still need unpacking. Since I didn’t have it, I just tuned into my body and kept repeating, “Recovery, easy, gentle.” today. That helped when I would find myself glaring at the pace, since I’d remind myself – “It’s ok. That’s part of the process.. You need to go easy sometimes and let your body recover fully before pushing hard again.”
I ran through the dog park, then took the Eagle Crest Loop, which takes me up, up, up a little, steep, hill to the “Big, Ugly, Giant, Tooth Rock” as my son and his running friend, Zach called it the last time we went running together up there. The thing is bigger than I am and really does look like a cavity-infested ginormous tooth. The view from ugly, tooth rock is spectacular — overlooking the city of Boise below. I stopped and soaked in the sunshine and drank in the view. It felt good. Things always look better when you’re up high. It’s a matter of perspective. That’s why I like to climb up high and just let my spirit soar a few times a week. It makes me a happier person when I do.
I slogged along the trail, feeling the wind in my face and just enjoyed the wheat-colored, shoulder height grasses, lining the trail and spreading out as far as the eye can see. They wave in the breezes. They mesmerize me as they sway. All around, the rolling, brown foothills curve and call my name in the distance. These hills are my home away from home — my “happy place.” It’s always good to be back.
I ran until the path connected with Cottonwood Creek trail. I love this little section. It’s very flat. It dips into a little cove with trees and lots of crunchy leaves underfoot, a bubbling stream nearby. It’s private feeling – a little peace of heaven on earth. The first time I ran 31 miles alone this past summer, I ran through here about mile 28. I was worn down, hot, exhausted. I remember deciding it was ok to stop, to take my shoes and socks off and dip them in the water. I did that. I sat there on the bank, my feet ankle deep in the chilly, refreshing water and just smiled, enjoying the moment before I put my shoes and socks back on and got back on that trail to finish what I started. And, I did.
I saw a woman today – a gazelle. Her blond ponytail just bobbed from side to side as she stretched out her long stride and ran, lightly, quickly over the ground. She looked like she was floating. I wanted to be her. Not today, though. Today is a recovery run….. maybe tomorrow. hehe.
Stats: 4.5 miles 58:59 total time. 13:06 ave pace. 445 feet elevation gain. Felt: Worn down.