My run had barely started, and I was already feeling defeated.
On my last trail run after just a mile or so climbing, my mind was out of the game. It wasn’t that my body couldn’t continue. That would have made more sense. My head was the one telling me to stop running, and just hike for a while. I started making excuses. Not enough sleep. I must not have properly fueled even though I’d enjoyed 2 big pieces of toast, an egg, orange juice, and coffee before heading out. Maybe that beer after the soccer game the day before was too much.
I just wasn’t that into it.
Yup, I thought to myself, I’ll just walk for some time, and then turn around and we can be on our way. Reasoning that it would be okay if I skipped out on my long training run this week. I can make it up. After dropping me off at the trailhead, Slaed and Bergen (husband and 2.5 year old) went off to run errands while I had my rare chunk of alone time void of responsibility. They’d arrive later to do some hiking and we would meet up.
With the first mile being dry and without much mud and muck, I was spoiled. As I climbed higher the name of the trail, Surprise Creek was making more sense. I was literally running through a stream, and the elevation was getting to me.
It sounds cliche, but I really don’t know when my perspective changed. Thankfully though, something shifted and all I can think to say is…
When the going gets tough, and your just not that into the endeavor, try ignoring yourself for a bit, and maybe that unenthusiastic, negative voice will just go away.
I stopped thinking, finished climbing uphill, and must have moved on to occupying my mind with neon green moss lighting my journey through the trails of Cougar Mountain. It wasn’t until the end of my run when I finally crossed paths with Slaed and Bergen and was recounting my route, that I remembered I wasn’t that into my run at mile 2.
Looking back, I’m glad I had other tasks like navigating the scattering of trails that make up the park, to occupy my mind. Many of the paths are not that long, so my route was constantly changing. Additionally, I didn’t plan out the run ahead of time. Instead I chose each path and direction along the way and relied on my GPS to count the miles. And finally, once I figured out my destination and was half-way to the mileage I wanted, I had to work to find my way back to the trailhead. No straightforward out and back run here.
I’m also thankful that I knew I would have an immediate accountability partner (in Slaed) asking me for a full report. How many miles did you end up running? What trails did you take? What did you see along the way? With more careful reflecting, in the back of my mind I must have also known someone would be checking up. I certainly didn’t want to report that I’d traded my precious trail running time for hiking (even though I know that’s not a bad alternative), and I wasn’t about to tell any tall tales about what I’d been up to!
It’s on the trail that I welcome and appreciate the distractions. There are trail markers to read, puddles to figure out how to get through, and surroundings to be aware of. When you know your limits and stick to a plan, your body will take care of the rest.
Have you felt stuck in a recent fitness endeavor? What did you do to get yourself back on track?
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