3:34 A.M. the alarm goes off. I've had maybe six hours of sleep. My goal is to be out of the house by four to do a 20 mile run. All I want to do is go back to sleep.
I get up, get dressed, mix my bottles, fill my vest with fresh water, and grab a handful of gels. Put on shoes, get my headlamp and let Melissa know that I am leaving. (Gels fall out of vest on bed in the dark. Discover this about 20 minutes later, anyway...)
There isn't any light yet. 4:00 a.m. to me is still pretty much night time. It is warm out. There isn't any coolness in the air. It just didn't cool off last night.
I trudge on. One mile, two miles, three... all uphill. I can't get my brain around the scope of the run this morning nor can I reconcile with myself why in the hell am I out running while most people are sleeping. I realize that I could have slept another 3.5 hours more, easily.
As the sun comes up the sky is blood red to the northeast. I wonder if we will get rain or a storm today. That would be nice. Starting up my second big hill of the run, Flying W road... Still not going too fast but still moving forward.
I crest the hill and start the long run down on the other side. Still can't get much going on the downhill. I figure it will come in time. I'm about 8 miles into the run and the rest of it is mostly downhill/flat.
I hit the trail at Woodman and start going south. I'm feeling tired and I have about nine miles to go. I negotiate with myself to just keep going and make it to the next major road/milestone. Miles 11, 12, and 13 all float past. Between miles 14 and 17 I start to feel a soreness in my left quad, deep. Not sure if is a cramp or what but it is starting to hurt.
Two miles to go. Having to walk a little here and there to keep the leg from hurting too bad. Run a little, walk a little... less than a mile to go and I know that I am going to make it home.
I finish before it gets too hot out. My evening is going to be free to just hang out at home. I am happy. I realize that these long runs are impacting me a little bit emotionally/psychologically... I'm away from home a lot on these runs and am alone so I think that in a strange way I am developing a weird case of homesickness. Crazy, huh?
Just 5.5 weeks to go now. 1.5 more weeks of hard running then after that take it easy until the race. I only have to keep it together for a few more weeks... stay healthy, don't get hurt and take care of myself. I need a nap. :)
To all of my friends who are running the Leadville Silver Rush 50 this weekend I wish you the best. Hope the weather and conditions are great for you. Can't wait to see the results.