Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh! My Aching......Everything!!!

The sky was blue, air crisp, and the trails finally clear enough for a (gasp) run outside! I needed to do 16 miles so I mapped out this huge loop around Chatfield reservoir that promised beautiful scenery and adventure. Judging from the satellite images, I could do most of the 16 miles on a paved trail that traversed the perimeter of the lake, but would have to cut across a random field, some clusters of trees, and a railroad track to meet up with the Highline Canal trail to loop back to the start.

When I finally set out, it was much colder than I'd anticipated. I zipped my jacket up tight around my chin, put my head down, and leaned into the freezing headwind. I wound down the Mary Carter Greenway trail, met up with the C470 west trail, and started climbing the hill by Chatfield dam to enter the state park.

At the top of the hill, I stopped. The trail was a dead end, covered with 4-5 inches of snow. Apparently Chatfield does not plow their paved trails (as I'd hoped they would) and I would need to be re-routed.

I hopped onto the road and set out toward the backside of the lake, I'd have to do plan B- out 8, back 8. I hate out and back runs when I have to cover a huge distance- every landmark, every hill, every shrub dusted with snow, every curb of the road you have to cover TWICE. And when you've finally hit the turn around, ready to run toward home, there's nothing new awaiting you for the next 8 miles.

An old injury in my calf starting aching around mile 6 and by mile 10 it was screaming. But I had to keep going because it was six miles back to my car. I suppose I could have walked, but that would have taken longer and the LAST thing I wanted was to be out here in this wind, on this road, any longer than necessary. So I kept on running....kept up my pace....just trying to finish the 16 miles.....

The last 2 miles were the hardest, perhaps because it was two miles further than I'd ever run before. However, I think there's something about getting close to the end of a hard workout that makes time slow down and the miles drag on. I picked up my pace (as much as I could with the aching calf muscle) in hopes of finishing sooner.

Finally, after 2 & 1/2 hours of straight running the parking lot came into view. I'd done it. It was freaking hard, but I'd done it.

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