nothing like a new pair of running shoes to make ya feel all badass....which is exactly how I needed to feel as i tentatively considered taking on Strawberry this morning. as i've been mentioning the training has been sporadic for about the last month. which might explain why my period...which is usually barely noticeable........ paid a most unpleasant visit yesterday...i was crampy and nauseous all day....at first i thought i had the flu thats been going around at work...so I layed low all day.
sleep and hydration are wonderful things both of which i got plenty of and when i awoke at 9 am i felt great. i ate an english muffin and has some coffee. i then zipped over to REI to use the generous gift certificate T gave me for x-mas.
i tried on quite a few pairs of trail shoes...much to the dismay of the young man helping me ...it wasn't busy at all.... but he seemed a bit put out...normally i would be intimidated by this and just go with the first pair ...or get mad and leave...neither seemed like a good options and so i just asserted myself and reminded him that it wasn't too busy and asked him to bring a few more pairs. in the end i settled on montrail hurricane ridge trail shoes and i felt good that i didn't let poor customer service derail me.
i raced back home to change and then headed for strawberry canyon. it was well past 11 am at this point and the parking lot was full...luckily i spotted a gal coming off the trail...that familiar sweaty tired look told me she was done. i waited a few minutes for her to collect herself and pulled into her spot. it had been awhile since i'd been here and i was a bit nervous about big bertha and the other hills...as i haven't been doing much running ...even less so on hills. i silently reminded myself that it was okay to walk, it was okay to take it slow.
the new shoes felt new but good at the same time...and i managed to get the lacing right the first time...not too loose or too tight. as i approached big bertha, instead of being scared i looked her square in the eye and began to climb. normally i keep my head down and pump my way up...today instead i would look up to the top periodically and instead of dread i felt compelled to hold my head up and focus on the rising terrain.
when your standing at the bottom of this particular hill...it seems insurmountable...ridiculous to even try...most people walk it....my strategy has always been to keep my nose to the grindstone and don't look up until it levels off...to look up would just be too hard to take...but today despite my earlier doubts i felt suprisingly strong and looked big bertha in the eye and i was not afraid.
as i cleared the crest, my breathing labored but under control i kept going, in fact all the earlier negotiations fell to the wayside and i felt that familiar state of grace that i often feel here in this place...a sign if you will... that i was exactly where i needed to be. doubt and fear about my ability to run on this mountain were replaced by a warm welcome home.
pushing forward more climbing up ahead i ran past the bench and didn't stop until i reached grizzly peak. i noticed an ever so slight twinge in the rt. achilles and stretched a bit before turning around. i really noticed the difference on the descent. the new montrails are divine...form fitting not clunky like the supernovas AND a roomy toebox...i was able to run straight down the face of big bertha and not smash my toes.
todays run was yet another reminder of why i run. i have to. nothing else takes me to that place where i feel strong and humbled at the same time. nothing else makes me strive for impossible things.