Thursday, March 7, 2013

My TBR (to-be-run) List

Mile 6ish into my birthday run
I don't have a bucket list because I can't really think that far in advance. Sure, there are things I'd like to do before I die (hike in Nepal, join the PeaceCorps, try durian, finally open that Slender Man game that's been hanging out on my computer for half a year because I'm too damn scared to play it). But all those things are in the distant future, not currently pressing on my conscience because I haven't even tried planning for them yet.

My partner's father once mentioned creating a five-year plan--I think he was talking about getting married or having children at the time--and that number has stuck with me. Even five years is too long though. How about a two-year plan?

Needless to say, a lot of what popped up on my two-year plan was running related. Among the things I'd like to accomplish within the next two years:
  • Run the Rim-to Rim-to Rim
  • Fastpack a few days on the Colorado Trail this summer, as soon as I get my paws on a GoLite Imogene 2 and a (purple) Jam 50.
  • Run a race in the Leadville series
  • Finish a sub-6 hour 50k
  • Get a buckle
  • Run a 100-mile race--definitely on the furthest end of the two-year plan
  • Run an ultramarathon distance every birthday

About 13 miles, looking back at the
mountains from Highland's Ranch
This past Sunday, I had my 28th birthday, and the idea of a long run had been germinating for a while. Why not shoot for 28 miles, I thought? I'm not in ultra shape right now, my longest run since last September topping out at probably 12 miles. I knew if I had the option of running loops on my favorite trails, I'd wuss out after a few hours and hike back to my car.

Another thing that had been sitting on my to-do list was to run to work. The drive is about 24 miles and follows the mountains along the highway. It's a lovely albeit long commute. Just for fun, I started playing with a walking route on Google maps, and extended the trip to about 27 miles. Streetviewing the trip made it seem totally doable. About ten miles in was a Whole Foods, there were quite a few gas stations along the way, and if I decided I couldn't make it, because I was on roads--and not in shape to run this distance--I could easily call for a ride home. It's my damn birthday, anyway.

There is something powerful knowing that your feet can fuel your commute, in knowing that after a few basic parameters are met (nice weather, a comfy pack, a backstock of convenient fueling items, someone willing to pick you up that night, and six-plus hours' notice), sans car I can still make it. No, I won't be in great shape by the time I get there, but I'd at least be a warm body to unlock the door.

At a low point, around mile 18. I felt a lot worse for the bison
stuck in that tiny enclosure than for myself.

Much like in my 50k, there was never a part along the run when I doubted my ability to keep going. Even at a slow, sluggish pace, I knew I would finish. Even when it seemed that the entire run was going to be uphill, I'd slow to a walk and eat, take a picture, and soldier on. Even though my elevation gain was only 1700 feet, and my fastest mile time was at a 10-minute pace (downhill, on torn up quads), when I finally made it to the end I was able to check two items off my ridiculous running to-do list. I loved running, as sore and tired and ridiculously smelly as I was, I was in the right place.