“It is amazing how much harder 10 treadmill miles is compared to 13 trail miles.”
At least that is what I was thinking today while I pounded out 10 miles on my hamster wheel staring at the wall in front of me.
Yesterday I got 13 miles in at the trails. And you know what? They were not “I feel fast, I feel awesome!” miles. They were sweaty miles, with an occasional curse word. But as I stared at the wall ahead of me today, I knew what yesterday DID have that I was missing so very badly today: variability.
My Trail Variablity
I was Gandalf
On the first leg of my run, I was feeling for my rhythm. It was humid, yet surprisingly very crowded at the trail. There was bobbing and weaving. There were bike, dog, walker, runner jam ups. And of course, runners passing runners.
There is something about this event that I think we all take notice of. At times I just tell myself “She is running faster, but I am sure I am running farther.” Sometimes I see the runner that is passing me, and I think “wow – they look awesome!” And sometimes, my inner Gandalf comes out.
Yesterday, I passed a gentleman who had stopped to walk for a bit. About 50 yards later, I heard him right on my tail. I gave it another hundred yards, listening to his footsteps. I waited to see if he was going to pass me, but he stayed RIGHT behind me. I tried to shake off the sound of being chased – I even put my music on, which I don’t usually listen to until after mile 10, just to drown out the sound of his steps. And as much as I tried to keep my thoughts clear, I mentally collapsed and heard myself yelling (in my head thank goodness) “YOU. SHALL NOT. PAAAAASSSSSSSSS!” I drove my mental “Gandalf staff” into the ground and sped up.
This did not phase him. And he never passed me. As we got to the other end of the trail the man finally spoke to me, “Thanks for the pace! That was great!”
And I looked at him with a “DUDE!!” I laughed, and got out “Thank you! You were pacing me!” And as he went to the bench to lay down we wished each other a good day, and separated.
I kept on my way and came upon someone else who had started to walk. She heard me coming and took off. This happened about 4 more times. I kept a steady pace. She sped, walked until she heard me and then sped again. All I could think was, “Gandalf lives in me too, friend. It’s okay. I get it!”
Pokemon Go People – Please LOOK UP!
Everyone loves a good trip to the trail. It is great for runners, walkers, dog walks, kids on bikes, families on bikes. And now, for Pokemon Go exploring.
The trail was way more crowded yesterday. 5 miles in I realized what the fascination with the trail was – apparently there were Pokemon everywhere!
On any normal day you’ve got at least 2 big things to be aware of as a runner.
- That a biker is going to be coming up behind you and you don’t know they are there
- Kids riding bikes – Honestly, I get it, I have 3 of my own. It’s great to get the kids outside, in nature, riding their bikes. I just know as a runner the kids may not see me and I have to be ready to get out of their way quickly or get hit.
I now have a 3rd thing I need to be aware of:
3. Pokemon Go people. I can pick them out pretty quickly now as they just stare at their phones. They are oblivious to those around them. And yesterday I met a Pokemon Go player pretty close up – A teenager, riding a bike, looking at his phone. I was able to yell “Look up!” before he hit me, but I know we both were scared there for a minute!
The tree that got me
Mother Nature got me yesterday. A passing storm the day or 2 before caused a tree to go down in the middle of the trail. There was only one way around it, and that was to go off the trail for a few shaky strides.
Something about this shift to the left, change of ground, change of speed, change of footing – anyway – it made my bad knee bark. Not right away, but about a mile later for the length of a half a mile I was letting the expletives fly! Really, they just squeaked out a little.
But it slowed me down and had me worried. A mile later and on, all is good. But the tree! First you had to wait your turn to get around it (and of course all I can think about is my timer on my fitness tracker as I wait my turn) and then I got hurt. Bummer!
It was a humid day yesterday. When I got home my clothes must’ve weighed 20 pounds and hit the ground like wet swim clothes. My knee wasn’t aching, but had me concerned. I enjoyed watching the people around me, riding bikes, running, walking, searching for their Pokemon. And I laughed at the man who brought out my inner Gandalf.
And as I stared at the wall in front of me today, in my basement, for 10 miles, I thought of my experience yesterday and how much easier those 13 miles had been!