The morning didn't start out too well; waking up to a world of white, Stephen forgetting to put the lid on the Vita Mixer...twice and me suddenly remembering that I had left my Altras Zero-drop shoes outside a few days ago to air out. They were completely filled in with snow and frozen stiff! Breaking the cardinal rule of switching shoes every other run to decompress them, I only have one pair of running shoes. Unless you count my Vibrams which are out of the question in this crummy weather! So, I dug out my former Sauconys and shoved my feet into them. It didn't take me long to remember why I had long ditched them! My daughter's feet are more narrow than mine so she doesn't mind wearing them but my toes have enjoyed the extra roomy comfort and were not willing to go back. It didn't take long for the blisters to pop up.
We chose to run loops around Gold Bar Park where we had completed the 50km Fast Trax ultra last June. It's very pretty country around there; lots of up and down terrain dotted with trees and a tiny ravine, all snuggled under a blanket of snow. We were delighted to see the cross-country trails so nicely groomed. It made it so much easier to run on. Our goal for this run was 38 km. The first hour went by fairly smoothly, each lost in our own thoughts. I was letting my thoughts run free, following the advice of the influential martial arts instructor Bruce Lee: "Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless like water."
It worked for a while but it was so cold that the ice sticking to our eyebrows and eyelashes stung our eyes. It was too cold to take anything out to eat and refuel and our water had turned to ice in the bottles. Even through my baklava, I got an ice cream headache! My pace slowed as I struggled to keep up with Stephen. He was also struggling in his own way and we tried to make conversation to take our minds off. It's one thing to let your thoughts take flight with every breeze of fancy when you are running by yourself but when you run with a partner, the dynamics change. You become aware of each other, you become conscious of their body language and their struggles. Unless we talk out loud, we can only infer what the other person is thinking and that usually doesn't bode well. For some reason, we always assume negatively. Training is some physical but mostly mental. Training ourselves to make conversation even through the times where we would really rather just be silent and get through it is just as tough as the physical efforts! I have a hard enough time sucking air into my lungs when I run but if I start talking too, it always ends up being a compromise between speed and conversation.
We both tried our best, struggling to reign in emotions and simply focusing on the task at hand. Run Happy! Run Happy! Run Happy! We concentrated on the reasons why we were doing this again; to spend time together, to raise money for families affected by muscular dystrophy, to touch something that is bigger than ourselves. I think the early mornings are finally getting to me and I was feeling exhausted emotionally and physically but I have made a commitment to some very special people and I can not let myself be overcome! So far our fundraiser has gone up to $325, every little bit counts! As Stephen mentioned in his earlier posts every effort, no matter how small ensures forward progression.
And at the end of the day, it is not the distance or the training that matters so much as the people who touch our hearts...