I love a good challenge. Sometimes those challenges are external in nature, others come from within. My last post was about my friend Emma and our friendly little rivalry surrounding which of us could run a faster 5K. I hadn’t run consistently in months, the victim of work, graduate school and the invariable Honey-do list. But that little challenge pushed me to my 5K PR.
Last weekend I hit the trails at Chicot State Park with my Geaux Run family to see what all the fuss was about. It was beautiful, breathtaking, and gorgeous. Most of all, it was a NEW challenge. I started out easy, 4 miles in, 4 miles out on the “easy” side. I had great company in my friend Danette, along with Aaron and his lovely, driven wife Molli.
I had such an amazing time I shot my mouth off afterward to Edie, Bobbi and some of the other Geaux Run crew that next weekend I was joining the ranks of the “loopers”. I was going to complete the entire 20 miles. I have a tendency to do that. I put myself out there and then have no choice but to follow through.
Some people call it letting my mouth write a check my ass has to cash.
Oh, and add this to the equation; my 8 miles the previous weekend was the farthest I have run since April. I’m an idiot (as most of my friends have already learned). But I get motivated by my own stupidity.
So this week I picked up a few essentials at Geaux Run: Camelbak, trail shoes, GU’s and Vespa. I put in a nice 5 mile run midweek just to loosen the legs.
This morning my alarm sounded exceedingly early (4am) and I took a few bites of breakfast and headed out to the store to meet everyone.
Today was my sightseeing trip, as I have never done the entire loop. I jogged along behind Edie and Bobbi, stopped and took pictures of the scenery, then hustled to catch up. It was so nice to have the change of pace from plodding the streets. Trail running is different, way different. You can’t just zone out. You have to be aware of every step or you find yourself on your back looking up at the tree canopy (as I did at around 14 miles).
Chicot is beautiful. If you ever get the chance to run its trails, I highly recommend it. It may not be an every weekend trip for you, but if your running has hit a rut, a few trail miles can really heighten your senses and feel for running again.
My senses began SCREAMING at me around 16 miles as my lack of base mileage began to catch up with me. The cramping in my legs was intense, and completely my fault. I trudged my way through those final few miles and gingerly crossed the finish of that course. I was officially a “looper” 4 hours on the course.
4 hours of beauty. 4 hours of hanging out with some of my favorite people. 4 hours of exploring the forest and countryside. 4 hours to reflect on the many changes and exciting happenings coming up in my life.
Most of all, it was 4 hours of running that is completely new and different from the running I’ve been doing the last year. I’m sure I’ll get laughed at and mocked for looking like I was walking on broken glass by the end of my run. New surroundings can’t change everything. Whether running a 5K, a triathlon of the Chicot trails, my hardheadedness and loud mouth will most likely be the constant.