Sometimes I forget. I forget that 31miles (or in the case of Saturday, 31.8) is a long ass way. I forget that my feet will be sore. And I fail to recall that sensation of replacing my muddy Salomon's with a pair of flips-flops, wiggling my muddy toes and feet, until that moment is there again. It’s been a year since my last 50k. I’ve seen a bit more pavement in the last year then I’ve seen the Headlands or even Redwood Park for that matter.
Transitioning back to the trails after the Olympic trials proved to me that what I do on the trails isn’t easy. That running up and down hills can be just as challenging, if not more so, than keeping an even steady pace. I hiked a lot more hills in those first few weeks, my legs were still causing me discomfort, and there was also the reality that, well, my legs were now accustomed to flat terrain. So, like any normal person I got frustrated and doubtful. But, I let go of the watch, stopped questioning my stop and go on hills, and I just kept trying to remember why I love the trails. I really questioned why I used to say I loved the hills, but I remember now. And, I do love them.
I signed-up for Coastal Trail’s Golden Gate 50k to remember what a 50k felt like, to remember what I am capable of, and to just run in the Headlands again. So that’s just what I did this past Saturday. I just went out and cruised without urgency, anxiety, or doubt. And thank goodness, my body remembered how to manage 6,000 feet of climbing and four hours on my feet. And, I uncovered a few things:
-Peanut Butter & Plain GU are my new favorites.
-Mud on Pirates Cove is dangerous --- thank goodness for the long weeds, which kept me standing (I probably tore at least twenty out of the ground as I braced near to close falls.)
-I like chasing guys. I need to work on chasing girls or at least not being afraid of it).
-Flip-flops are amazing!
-I love Epsom salt baths & crosswords. They’re the essential after-party.
-Marincello is fun the first time through. The second time it’s just well, it’s just different.
-I still find the Headlands absolutely magical.
Oh poor hamstrings, I love you, and welcome back!
So anyhow, it is good to be back spending time on the trails. I think I’ll still find a little space for the pavement. But, yup it feels pretty good being back.