I had no intention of running hard today. The plan was a flat 8 mile out and back along Wildcat Canyon. I downloaded new tunes into the ipod (third eye blind and sting) and well let's just say I got my groove back. Instead of following WC to Alvarado, I noticed another runner coming from the opposite direction turning left onto Belgium Trail. I learned about this trail when I hiked with the Sierra Club on Labor Day, I don't know if it was Sting or the other runner that spurred me on but I knew once I hit this trail I was in for some kick ass hills....lots of 'em.
As I worked my way up the hill my fellow runner was quite a ways ahead, it wasn't long though before he started to head back. He was an older Filipino man and as he passed by I could smell the Downey fabric softner on his sweat clothes. I gave him a big smile, he seemed to appreciate it and smiled back. I proceeded towards the first of several tough climbs.
There's nothing gradual about this particular trail either, you just gotta hunker down and keep going forward. I was able to keep this up for quite a while....all the time knowing that the Beast layed up ahead. To add a little perspective, the monster of which I speak puts Strawberry Canyon's Big Bertha to shame, twice as steep and long. I knew I would be walking soon, I was mentally prepared to walk. No ego issues today. I need to learn to be ok with walking if I want to continue races with the PCTR. There races are rugged and the idea is to conserve energy and not waste it on ridiculously steep terrain. My 20K with them taught me that much.
About 2/3 the way I was done and I tried to power walk the last bit of climb but could feel the burning start so I walked. If I had a heart rate monitor, I suspect I would of been out of the optimal training zone, my heart was pounding and my chest rattled with congestion...but I felt so ridiculously alive. In that moment as I hedged towards the crest of the Beast I felt invincible. Up and over I started to build momentum and the running came easier. I felt tired and exhilirated all at once. This was turning out to be a really good run.
Eventually I reached the Nimitz, from there it's another 4 miles to the next connecting trail. I flew down the hill and another 20 minutes I was back to my car. My nose was runny, my breathing labored but I felt great. I was overcome by endorphins...several times .....I'm sure I looked like a dork smiling as I bopped along . I was out there for a total of 2:40. I don't know how far I went maybe 8-10 miles....but considering this lingering cold I felt amazing. I know the music and my surroundings had alot to do with it, but I also know that I've achieved a certain level of fitness and that's what got me through this run despite having been sick the last week.
Lastnight M and I had some spooky fun Mia and her boys. Fright Fest at Marine World. Not even the late night theme park madness (hot dogs and nachos and zombies, oh my!), put a damper on this run. Mia Goddess has promised to take me on a kick ass 35 mile bike ride in her beautiful neck of the woods around Thanksgiving. So it's time to saddle up!