Thursday, March 6, 2014
Hills And Mountains
The mountain worked its magic on me yesterday just like I knew it would.
I arrived at our meeting spot just before 5:30am only to have Coach Chris say that we were running Owl Trail. He immediately turned to me apologetically because he knows that I'm completely neurotic about running Owl Trail. When I'd agreed to finally coming back to hills (after a two year hiatus) I'd made it quite clear that I wouldn't run Owl Trail again. Ever! Or more specifically run DOWN Owl Trail.
At this point I need to say that I don't think I've ever RUN down Owl Trail. I've walked down it if you can call what I do walking. It's a bit more like scuttling, skidding, standing contemplating my options, looking for trees that will break my relentless downward motion, more standing feeling slightly desperate about getting down, stopping suddenly in front of someone because I can't work out the best way not to break my neck and causing a pile-up AND watching while the faster, more fearless members of the group (which is pretty much the entire group) complete their third ascent while I'm still on my first descent.
It's not my best-ever workout because I spend so much time stationary in indecisive terror AND I'm a danger to other runners on the hill. So I'm pretty sure Coach Chris didn't mind too much that I wouldn't be coming to the Owl Trail sessions. The only problem is that he didn't let me know ahead of time. But that's not really a problem when there are other options. My alternative was to run all the way up Owl Trail to the top then to follow the road around and down. There are plenty more hills to conquer on that route so I wasn't going to be missing out.
For all the members of the GaleForce Squad who think I get special treatment - that I'm teacher's pet - I'd like to set you straight. It's more like teacher's pest. There's a reason that Coach Chris has so little hair. Poor man - so incredibly long-suffering! He might not understand my neuroses but he has enough sense to pander to them. And I reward his patience and tolerance with cupcakes. It's a win-win for both of us. Plus I've endured my share of Owl Trail sessions and never improved so he's wise enough to stop flogging this dead horse.
So I started with the group. We ran from the car park, across a grassy area and re-grouped at the base of the trail. Coach Chris outlined the session and off we went.
The first part of the trail is up and around a bend. Then it flattens a little before going up, up and up. And as we were going up, up and up I could feel all the negativity from the day before just melt away. All the tension dripped off me like sweat.
It was a glorious morning. The temperatures have just started to cool fractionally and there was no rain for the first day in the last three. The bush smelled clean and fresh and it felt great to be alive. I honestly don't think it's possible to hang onto any negative emotions when you're out running in all that green. And as much as I love running with the group, running by myself in such a beautiful spot was a balm to my soul.
I left the session euphoric. Full of endorphins and ready to face the mountain of work that was waiting.
And those happy hormones are still with me today. Which is just as well because that mountain of work doesn't seem to have gotten any smaller.