Today's trail run in Forest Park provided a few ego-boosting moments that went a long way towards erasing some of my doubts this week.
Ego-boost #1: We conquered some hills I never expected to conquer this early in the year. Sharon and I started at lower Macleay Park. Unfortunately, she had a horrible sinus headache. Really, it sounded close to a migraine. But she's tough and was ready to go. Our plan was to run an out and back up towards mile 0. This was going to be a hilly route. Our first landmark would be where Wildwood crosses Cornell road, about a mile and a quarter into the run. The trail gradually rises and then the last half mile is more steep, gaining about 350 ft. For the first time I ran the whole way without stopping. Not really surprising since we were fresh, but still a nice accomplishment, I thought.
The next stretch of the trail rises another 450 ft in about a mile up to Pittock Mansion. Some of the switchback turns are really steep. I've also never run this whole portion. And I wasn't really expecting to run it today either. But I told myself I'd run as long as I could. I followed Sharon's lead and we just kept running up and up and up. By the time we hit the last switchback I knew we would make it. What a high when we both stepped onto the Pittock Mansion parking lot. Now the gauntlet has been thrown. So next time I need to run the whole distance from lower Macleay to Pittock Mansion.
On the way down the other side of the hill, I thought to myself, I certainly won't be able to run back up this on the way back. I need to stop that negative talk, because yes, we ran back up the other side too. After feeling enervated most of the week these hill triumphs have gone a long way towards boosting my confidence again.
Ego-boost #2: We chicked a few guys (to borrow Tom's expression) who deserved to be chicked. When we were in Washington Park and near our turnaround spot we passed two guys (about our ages, in their 30's or 40's) running in the other direction. Not long after we made our turnaround we were surprised that we had caught up with them, since they seemed to be in decent shape. As we approached on a short hill, they heard us coming, said hi, and then started running....just as we were within 5 feet of them. WTF? I thought that was quite rude, really. I would never do that, not even in a race, unless I thought I was a lot quicker. Well I guess they thought wrong, because we passed them right up. I think they tried to keep pace, but as we got to the top of the hill we looked down the switchback and saw them walking. Touche