Sunday, February 10, 2008

Humble Pie (a.k.a. Patience)

This week's message is about Patience. At least, it seemed that was the message the Universe had for me this week...or maybe that was just what I was reading into it.

I didn't get a lot of running in this week, but it was interesting nonetheless. Things started great on Monday. I managed to hit the treadmill at lunchtime for about an hour and cranked some good negative splits ending at sub-7min pace. I was feeling pretty good despite some stressful situations in my personal life.

My plan would have been to run to work on Tuesday, but my daughter, Jamie, has no transportation since her car had been totaled a few days earlier (she's is fine thankfully), and I wanted to be available in case she needed a ride. Well, she didn't need a ride Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and I did not run on any of those days . I guess I was not making it a priority. Finally, on Friday I decided to run to work based on a little nudge from Dawn (thanks Dawnie!). She knew I would enjoy it.

I woke up late, but decided to go for it anyway. The run in was good. Of course, Jamie called for a ride after I got to work! That's life!

The run home was a bit rough. I lost my iPod shuffle in the woods for a couple minutes, got stabbed in the face by thorns, and was tired. After getting home, I quickly showered and headed to Dawn's for some Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas. They were great (thanks Honey!). Dawn needed to practice massage for 1 hour, and I was a most willing volunteer. She acts like I'm doing her a favor. The pleasure is all mine!

OK, all of this was a Preface for the story that follows:

Saturday morning is my time for a long run. Matt was in Arizona, Goat was unavailable, and I didn't make arrangements for anyone else. I was dragging in the morning, but decided to try for about a 3.5 hour run on the Metacomet Trail (mostly single track). I had completed this run to the West Hartford Reservoir from home once during the summer, but thought I could do better in the cooler temps and with more training under my belt. My plan was to try to run almost the entire way (only walk the technical, very steep sections).

I loaded the Camelbak and headed out around 10:30. After climbing up to the ridge, I decided to strip down as it was unusually warm. A few minutes later, I ran into Rich Fargo and his wife. Rich is an 8 time winner of Escarpment and is a trail running legend (see my first post). They were out walking their dog. I was pleased to meet his wife. She decided not to shake my hand after I wiped my nose with it. Go figure! :-) Anyway, I told her that her husband was a legend, and she said, "Yeah, and I'm the legends wife!" Yeah, that is tough duty in itself. Rich inquired about my route, and seemed reasonably impressed with my plan. Off I went with plans of great conquest!

I came upon the first technical section at Rattlesnake Mountain, and walked most of it. The cliff looked fairly dry...we'll have to get the ropes out soon. At the top, I said hello to a hiker and he told me the trail was slippery. I thanked him, but thought he was needlessly stating the obvious.

Things seemed to be going well. I was moving well. The temp was dropping and snow was falling, so I pulled out my gloves and hat after a few miles. I kept plugging away, but did start feeling a bit tired. I took inventory - one granola bar, and some E-caps. Hmm, not good.

I made it to the Reservoir in about 1.5 hours (can't remember). By now, I was getting cold, hungry, and tired. Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to take on the big hill rather than the normal Nelson loop (as Goat calls it). I walked the hill a little while I pulled out my granola bar. Once moving, I decided to hold the bar until I got to the top.

Eventually, I ate the bar after hitting all the highpoints on the ridge. I knew I was in trouble, but the rest of the reservoir loop was fairly flat. Unfortunately, the wet snow was making the footing rather difficult by now. Near the end of the loop, I hit the parking lot, and put my jacket back on. I was getting very cold and my fingers were going numb. My gloves were more or less glove-liners. They were not adequate today. I pulled my sleeves over the gloves, and things started feeling better quickly. My plan was to walk most of the hills going home.

Surprisingly, my tracks were already covered with snow, and the trail was very slick. I walked more than I would have preferred, but progress was OK. I felt beat up like I do at the end of an ultra.

When I hit a major intersection (Rt. 4) in Farmington, I wiped out in a big wet mess by trying to avoid the big wet mess. All the cars were backed up in traffic, so I'm sure I entertained some folks. One lady asked if I was OK. I was fine, but now my hands were completely soaked and I knew they would be hurting until I got home.

I felt like such a rookie. Didn't bring enough food, went out too fast, and did not have good gear (gloves).

Well, I stumbled home the last 4 miles with my tail between my legs (actually it was dragging on the ground because I was THAT tired). I don't even remember how long it took me. It was somewhere around 3.5-4 hours when I got home. I wish I could tell you it was more than 20 miles, but it is not. It is one tough course though.

After re-grouping (which took the rest of the day), I reflected on this run. A couple days earlier, a friend told me that he only remembers the tough workouts. He said, the good ones are great when you do them, but the hard ones are more memorable. I think he's right. I certainly will remember this one for awhile.

I have a rematch with the Metacomet Trail coming sometime soon. I'll be more prepared, and more patient. I won't go out too hard, I'll listen to my body, and I'll run smarter. I'll also keep my chin up when things get tough because they will eventually get better. I'll try to apply these lessons to my everyday life as well.

Patience....that's my plan ;-)

Happy trails!


Matt Estes said...

mSteve! good fight! but as you know, the Metacomet Trail always wins. Its just a matter of how badly the beating is. Maybe we can try to get back at trap-rock trail soon.

GoBike said...

Ultra Steve, give yourself credit for the patience you display every day in being a loving and giving father during a very trying time. Rest up and come to our house in Boulder soon for some altitude training then you'll really kick Matt's butt :)