Weather and weather reports have messed with my running schedule. As such I haven’t run since last Thursday. I’ve been cross training at the gym, continuing with strengthening. But will it be enough to endure nearly 32 miles and 6,000 ft elevation gain this weekend? I don’t know. To tell you the truth, I don’t really care. What I mean is, I’ve been working at getting stronger. I don’t have all the time in the world to do it. With 3 boys, a husband and a job, I’ve almost done the best I can. Best of all, I’ve done it uninjured!
Thus, I decided to run my 9.5 mile timed-loop as my last run before the BIG run. The wind blew nice and cool, perfect running weather. And even though my shoe (left shoe!) I again tied too tightly, I didn’t stop to re-tie.
Applying the same rules running up Meadows Trail (don’t look forward, don’t look back, stay in the moment), I didn’t feel as anxious about the climb. But I didn’t make it to the top of Meadows any faster. I must say that the breeze running up that thing was heaven sent. I also recovered pretty quickly. But soon after, I began to peter-out and began to doubt my ability to pick up speed later. I shouldn’t doubt, because after bringing the pace down on the climb up to Top of the World, I was back again.
But then, while running through Top of the World, my head started pounding. I thought perhaps I was dehydrated, so I drank up, concentrating on my breathing as I tried to pick up my speed. At one point, gardeners had their appliances scattered about the sidewalk. Advancing, I calculated adding more seconds to my run by running out into the street, around the cars then back onto the sidewalk. I declined those few seconds and ran right through the strewn about equipment, leaping over weed whackers and such. One of the gardeners looked at me like I was crazy. I was. I mean, I am.
The headache did not cease even with an increase of liquids, so I took two ibuprofen on the run. Then some time on West Ridge Trail, I either forgot about the headache, or it went away. When I rounded Cholla Trail 6 minutes to spare before two hours, I knew in my heart chances were slim that I would break my record, much less make my record. I changed my strategy running down Cholla Trail. Rather than just powering down it with long strides, leaping from side to side at times, I took tiny steps, extremely fast tiny steps. I made it to the bottom of Cholla in a little over two minutes!!
I crossed the finish line at 2:04:18, not exactly happy, but certainly not disappointed. No matter what, it’s still quite a ride!
Running the Ridge after Meadows on my way to Top of the World
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