Progress and a Podium Stand

This is how I started out the year.

It was a challenge, seeing that number on the scale.

It’s possible I’ve mentioned this once or thrice here.

My first race of the season, Frozen Toe 10k, was a struggle. And not just because I’m a baby about cold. I was carrying at least 20 extra pounds on that trail. And struggling just to enjoy my time with Rogue.

Here’s where I am one month into the year.

And already feeling significantly better.

My second race of the season, Forever 5 Miler, was still a struggle. But for different reasons.

It takes place on Glenwood. Which, if you’ll recall, is the actual gate to hell. But up until yesterday morning, I’d always experienced it at the beginning or end of a 15-20 mile run. I had never experienced it just on its own…merits? Sure. Merits. Whatever.

Because I would never step foot on that trail except as a pathway to get to another destination.

I just know I hate it. I hate Glenwood. With every ounce of disdain in my soul.

So, I don’t know how. But I don’t remember, from any of the countless times Beautiful Beastie has made me run that trail, it being quite so…climby.

I mean, I always remember it being constant up. But in my brain, it was more of a gradual, insistent climb that never goes away. Regardless of which direction you’re running it.

Turns out, there are actual real climbs on this trail. Which, when you turn around and run them the other way, turn into real actual downhills.

I don’t…I’m not sure those downhills were there before.

The rocks, though. The rocks have always been there. Stealing any joy you might find in the downhills.

Happily, I know me. So I only signed up for the five mile option. I had no desire to spend 10 miles on the gate to actual hell.

Which meant I only had to make it 2.5 miles, to Lady MJ, so she could give me a rubber band that would allow me to turn around and go back to the finish. No rubber band? You get to keep going another 2.5 miles before you get to turn back.

And we weren’t anywhere near Lady MJ. And people who’d already gotten their rubber bands kept passing us telling us we were almost there.

People who say shit like that to you in a race are liars. Plain and simple. They are lying to you.

You’re almost never almost there.

Until you can see Lady MJ, you’re definitely not almost there.

And then DP said, “Sunshine. Look up.”

And there she was. In all her glorious beauty. Handing rubber bands to people. And I wanted to hug her. But I didn’t have time. I needed to get the hell off that trail.

Oddly enough, the 2.5 miles back was…almost…enjoyable? Almost.

I had DP behind me and SMP in front of me. And we were commiserating about the impact of this trail on ankle function and DP’s running disappearance and the book club SMP and I are going start to avoid ever running this trail ever again.

I didn’t…actually hate it. Entirely.

At one point I heard DP behind me mention something about being a little out of control on the downhills. Or something ominous like that. When you’re the one in front of him.

And trying to maintain enough momentum to keep DP from running completely over me, until I managed to convince him that he really wanted to pass me. While also trying to keep up with SMP enough to flesh out this book club idea. Was enough to get me across the finish line for a second place AG award.

That was my first podium stand in…a long time. Maybe since 2019? Pre-pandemic? Pre-multiple extra five pound weights?

So here’s what I know. I felt significantly better on the trail that traditionally sucks my soul right out of my body now that I’m carrying 7.2 fewer pounds with me.

I actually enjoyed conversations with the people around me, rather than just wishing they’d be quiet so I didn’t have to fight so much for oxygen just to participate.

Apparently giving up Doritos and committing to 4-5 days of PlayFITStayFIT a week is working.

I mean, that’s not gonna stop me from whining about it.

But if it keeps making the running process easier, I’ll keep doing it.

Because I’ve got Explore Your Limits 10k at the end of February. And I’d like to enjoy myself on that one.

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