I love running, even though it sucks sometimes. Especially the first 2-3 miles. But once I'm going, it's such a great time to reflect on things...clear your head and extrovert. Or even set goals and daydream. It's kind of like long distance driving (also a favorite of mine). People who worry a lot should try running. It's very therapeutic. Oh, and if you ever need stress relief I found the perfect thing. It's called adventure racing. It's guaranteed to make your stress completely disappear.
I'm already thinking of Tone 40's next race because I know the stress will start building up over the next couple of months while I'm working as an Art Director for a national beauty magazine. Most of my job will involve browsing thousands and thousands of images looking for the most beautiful, sexy, half (or fully) naked women to feature. Believe me I get a little self-conscious after looking at gorgeous women all day!
Anyway, I just learned about the Equinox 24-Hour Race in San Diego coming up early next year. It will involve a 2 Km swim, a 20 Km kayak, some 140 Km of biking (mostly trails, but some bike paths and roads to connect) and about 40 Km of hiking. We can have a team of 2-5 people. There are 3 of us confirmed (Shannon, Dan and myself) and we would like to get 1-2 more, preferably someone with navigation skills. And if you have a good connection with Santa Claus, please let him know I need a really good mountain bike for Christmas!
OK, so back to running. (Boy, do I get distracted!) For the second time this week I've gone on a 14-mile run in preparation for the West Palm Beach marathon on December 7th. That puts me at 32 miles for the week so far. Today's run was still difficult, but much better than when I went on Wednesday. For one, there was a huge temperature difference--Wednesday was around noon, probably high 80s and today was starting just before 5pm with a slight chill in the air.
Next, my leg muscles seemed slightly more recovered than the last time. Wednesday they were pretty burnt from the previous day's CrossFit workout of squats and dumbbell presses. Today the sorest muscles I had were in my upper back/shoulder area and arms from the heavy lifting we did yesterday. So it didn't affect my running. Right around mile three I got into the groove, running strong with a decent pace and was generally enjoying myself. I planned on only going 10 miles, but I felt so strong at mile 5 I thought "what the hell?" and continued on to the farthest radio towers (mile 7) before turning around.
Of course I knew the danger in this. It was going to get dark on me again. On the way back the air started to quickly get cooler and all of sudden these clouds just appeared out of nowhere. It became so foggy I couldn't even see the city below. I was running in the clouds! What a cool feeling..literally. And this run felt so good I didn't even need to stop like I did the last time.
That was until I ran into my new mountain biker friend Carlos at the main radio tower. Up until then, I had only seen one other person on the trail this whole time. Carlos invited me to the Friday night radio tower party with his other mountain biker friends. What? A party? At the top of the mountain? After dark? Who are these crazy people? Who would have ever guessed I'd be running up in the hills seemingly in the middle of nowhere and find a party? I amuse myself by what I find sometimes.
Instead of beer and wine, we exchanged bananas and trail mix. Yeah, yeah, parties should have alcohol, I know. But we were still 3 miles away from our vehicles...with only fire trails to follow...at the top of a hill...in the mountains...completly in the dark...with who knows what kind of creatures running around. And it was getting cold. Really cold. After about 10 minutes of the party, I had to bail as I was only wearing my running shorts and tank top. Considering how foggy it was, my little dinky flashlight wasn't going to help me get back to my car so Carlos volunteered to bike down with me as I ran...such a gentleman.
It was a long way down, but it was pleasant with the company and the light from his bike! The only trouble I had was the 4th toe on my right foot was getting jammed in the shoe as I ran down the mountain. It felt like someone was beating--just that one toe--with a sledgehammer. Ouch! I need advice on how to manage that. But the good thing about these runs is that I learn what needs to get fixed for longer runs (like new shirts that don't chafe, something to keep my camelbak from irritating my neck, and a way to handle the downhill sledgehammer effect on my poor little toe). Since my new goal is to run endurance races, I need to learn how to ENDURE (with as little pain as possible)!