I run. If you don’t believe me, I don’t blame you – it’s still something I can’t believe myself, even though I’ve already done three races (Chabot 10K, Folsom Lake 10K, and Glacier Half marathon). But for some reason, it is true – I’ve fallen for “moving through space in this uncomfortable way,” as I described running in one of my articles before I somehow decided (without first consulting myself) that I was going to join this band of crazy people; trail runners (not to be mistaken for trail-running shoes which we call the same way).
I think the seed has been there for a long time. Probably since I was able to walk again after a quite scary period of time in my life, which I talk a little about in “Listen to Your Body” which I wrote last August, if I recall well.
It doesn’t really matter why I’m doing this. Or maybe it does. I don’t know. But during the past year, especially the past eight months, I’ve had many opportunities to sweat, swear and sweal my sanity, and it was and is in those moments (usually during a long climb up a hill or when it’s clearly dinnertime and I’m still somewhere else than at the dinner table) when I started to have those… moments. Thoughts. And as it happens with writers doing… well, anything, I started to write those things down. And why shouldn’t I share them, right? Well… there are probably some good reasons why I shouldn’t, but since when do I listen to reason, right…
And so here goes. I don’t have a diary entry for each run. Only from some. This is just a trial. I might continue posting those on Fridays as a secondary post, or I might never post anything like this again. Let’s just give it a try. (And, when reading, please remember this chart as properly researched and drawn by Brendan from Semi-Rad, which I’ll provide below. It doesn’t necessarily apply only to ultramarathons, guess for the weaker of us – read “me” – it applies on any run where we – I – lack food etc.)
~warning: since those are my honest thoughts as thought in the moment, the following content might not be suitable for younger audiences dues to the usage of some foul language, specifically the f-word~
That hill was a mistake. No explanation. A MISTAKE.
Food. You’re going to eat soon. The faster you move, the sooner you’ll eat, I thought. My stomach rumbled once more in protest as I finally crested the hill and started running on the ridge. From here, it’s mostly downhill and flat. And then, food. I didn’t have to will my legs to move like I did yesterday. They flew like if nothing could stop them. Where did the insufferable pain go? I know, I promised Gav that I would take it easy today – that I would take a day off and just hike a little. But, well… Two hours of free time in the late afternoon when it wasn’t so hot anymore just couldn’t be wasted!
I made it back to the valley on the technical trails full of rocks and roots and was happy for a little bit of smooth dirt. Somewhere midway down the hills, I started to talk to myself out loud. And I didn’t stop even as I was passing people setting up their camp and cooking dinner.
“Food… fooood… You’ll be there soon. Just keep pushing. And then, FOOD… You can make yourself some salmon. With rice with teriyaki sauce. With broccoli. And avocado. And kimchi. And cabbage with horseradish. And then you can fry the salmon skin and eat that! And then you can have ice cream! Yes. Food. You’re close, just keep moving!” This monologue went on as I earned some curious/weirded-out looks from the few people heading towards their vehicles in the waning light. I met them on the paved road; my last stretch, last mile. Food. My stomach rumbled once more and it was so loud that the two older ladies stuffing their backpacks into their cars must have thought a thunderstorm was coming. Then I made it to my car and drank a pack of Skittles.
California. Why the hell do I live in California. Why the hell do I run in California. That was the stupidest idea I’ve ever had – to start running, or to move to California with its summers? Probably both.
This fucking hill. I guess now I’ve found the hill I love to hate, as Brendan wrote about it. Guess this must be it. This is the worst fucking hill I’ve ever tried to run. I must have gone fucking nuts. Why am I doing this again? And why on Earth am I doing this voluntarily?!
I want cold. I want winter. I want to be back above Logan Pass, struggling through the six feet of snow and a hailstorm. I want an ice age to come. Or at least an ice cream. I’d give my soul for ice cream in on-coming ice age and a swim in Hidden Lake full of icebergs. I’m pretty sure – no, I know I’m going to die right this moment. (And yet, you still move your feet. Why. Why are you doing this ti yourself.)
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