My BFG has taken an interest in trail running and has set his sights on tackling the White River 50 mile ultramarathon summer 2013. He’s been running with a teammate of ours who unfortunately was unavailable this past weekend for a trail running dude date with Jason, so I cautiously accepted my boyfriend’s invitation to run “with” him at Squak Mountain.
Of course, by run “with” Jason, I mean “trudge far, far behind him” because he ran a 2:57 marathon in October and I have gained back a demoralizing chunk of the weight I lost earlier this year and have been intermittent with hitting my workouts lately. Nonetheless, I knew this excursion would make Jason very happy so I tagged along to tackle a 2 1/2 hour run in the wilderness. As far as trail running goes, I’ve only ever run at Cougar Mountain and Discovery Park (which isn’t really difficult trail running, but it does involve a lot of stairs), so I’m still a bit of a trail running noob. I do enjoy running on trails, though–I feel like a kid again, splashing through muddy puddles and trying to hurdle logs–so I’m making a half-ass New Year’s Resolution to do some more trail running in 2013.
Unfortunately, I hate trail running just as much as I’m starting to enjoy it. It’s fun to feel like a child again, but I often forget how stupid and hard trail running can be. In Squak Mountain’s case, since I’ve been feeling down about feeling chunkier and less active lately, what better way to feel supremely dejected about how much fitness I’ve lost since Ironman Canada than to wheeze my way up a goddamn mountain at an average pace of 15 minutes/mile? Seriously, this mountain’s elevation profile is dumb. There were some hills so steep that I resorted to walking them since my walking pace was no slower than my sad attempt to jog. Jason, naturally, gazelled across the trail with his 8 ft long legs while I stub-legged a sad trot behind him, my heart rate in zone 4.
I briefly thought of murdering my athletic, chipper boyfriend on numerous occasions as he’d make empty promises to me like “Take this left up here and it flattens out, I promise.” We’d take the left and climb a bunch more while he scratched his head and tried to figure out which flat part he was trying to remember as I glared hate daggers into his back. Or when he said it was really pretty at the top but failed to inform me that the last 0.5 miles were a steep-ass grade covered in frost and snow that I could not remotely run up. When I reached the summit I expected to see something grand like a majestic elk who would congratulate me on my impressive feat and crown me Queen of the Mountain, but instead there were some electrical towers and a lady eating a chunk of cheddar cheese out of a plastic bag. (I was really, really jealous about the cheese.)
We turned around to head to the car, except my navigationally challenged boyfriend couldn’t exactly remember where we had parked, and I had been aimlessly following him the whole time so I didn’t know where the hell we were, so we ended up running out of the park and looping back to our car by cutting through a couple neighborhoods. He asked if I wanted to tack on an extra 10 minutes to make it 2:45 and I refrained from punching him in his tall stupid face, saying only “No, I would not like to run an extra 10 minutes, a miserable 10 miles in 2:35 is enough for me, thank you.”
When we got home, I discovered a huge welt shaped like a grotesque smiley face on my left knee, a souvenir of the giant slippery log I tried (and failed) to hop over. After showering and inhaling corn dogs, pizza, and cookies, I peeked at my new Garmin’s elevation profile for my run and chuckled:
I covered almost 3,400 feet of elevation gain in a little over 10 miles. Although I was alternating between feelings of elation and misery yesterday and despite my sore abs and aching quads today, when Jason asked if I’d ever like to do an ultramarathon, I managed to only vomit in my mouth a little bit and optimistically said sure, maybe in 2014. After I do the following, of course:
*Note*: I had to republish this post after my hosting company accidentally ate it. I was able to recover the content but not the comments, so apologies for the comment graveyard.