On a beautiful Saturday when the weather was in the high 60’s and the sunshine was beaming, we traveled by bus out of the stuffy streets of New York heading upstate to Bear Mountain. I was using this Saturday as a way to get acquainted with the trail, that on May 3rd, I was going to race a 50k on.
Our initial plan was to run ten miles through the rough uphill trails the park had to offer. As we started we grew aware of what we had gotten ourselves into, especially by mile three. The trail was not only uphill, but also completely rocky and hard to run due to the difficultly in seeing your footing. Both of us almost tripped approximately one thousand times until I finally ate it downhill by mile five. We crossed streams, climbed rocks, and ended up walking back most of the trail. Although it was difficult I forgot how great running outside in the woods can be. You undoubtedly will ALWAYS end up getting lost and discovering different trails or waterfalls.
As gratifying being outside was, the difficulty level did bring up a realization of how unprepared I was not only for that 10 miler but for the 50k. I was heart broken because I knew that there was no way I would be able to run that 50k enjoyably, to a certain extent, as I had planned. It’s difficult for me since I have a necessity to prove to others (or maybe myself) what a dare devil I can be to step away from a race like that. Rather than being associated as this 5’ 2” girl who lives in dresses and rides a pink bicycle around Brooklyn. This was a race where not only was I going to test my own physical abilities, but have the opportunity to just run through the woods and get muddy for a large amount of hours.
I may not be prepared for a race like that right now, but I’m also relieved in a way. Even though being outdoors for that long would have been awesome, it’s even better when you selfishly have it all to yourself. Having the 50k off my shoulders means I can go out and run just for the fun of it. I don’t have to follow a set plan everyday and get out of bed whining about it.
I can now just wake up, lace up my shoes, and run somewhere unknown without measuring my distance. My 4 mile run could turn into 13 or vice versa if that’s what I feel like doing. Running is enjoyable and I sometimes forget that I run because I love that it takes me places, not for the reason that I have to strain my body and dread it. So until my next race I’ll step outside and get a little sunburnt just for the hell of it. Fuck it.