Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Wall

"The Wall" exists in many forms and can show up at anytime. Not just in running or long distance races but in life itself. The past few days have been all about the wall.

I am the only person that I know of who has ever ran into a wall, literally. When I say run, I mean running at full tilt, all out, head first into a brick wall. It happened when I was in the second grade in gym class. The summation of that event was that I bounced off the brick wall somewhat, looked at the coach (so I was told) and down I went. My next memory is of smelling salts being waved under my nose as I was regaining consciousness. This was probably my first time ever experience with the wall so to speak.

Sometimes you don't even have to run to the wall. Sometimes it comes to you as was the case this Sunday morning for me. I think the wall was somewhere between my bed and my shower as I was getting ready for my Sunday run. Somehow it managed to stay just feet in front of me, continually the entire morning.

Compared to the run the week before this one was supposed to be nothing. 6-7 miles up to Barr Camp, a 4000 foot elevation gain... no biggie right? Heck even the weather was cooperating for change. But no, it was just one of those mornings where nothing feels right and you just can't pull it together. For those of you familiar with my training issues from last summer, this past Sunday was VERY reminiscent of that. Things felt off, out of balance, not right... no rhythm.

I did okay really the first mile or so but after that, I fought for every inch of trail and elevation gain. Ten times I bet I tried to talk myself into just turning around and calling it a day. But that's not me... quitting like that. I knew if I did that in the end I would only be more miserable.

It took a lot longer to get to Barr Camp than normal for me. I was off by 30 minutes or so. Of course not only was I not feeling well and needing to take that into consideration but the trail was still icy and snow covered in spots and that sucks up time too. As I got closer my main motivation was to get inside the main cabin, sit down, warm up and have a coke and hopefully some M&M's if they have them. Sometimes it is just the little things that can keep ya going, ya know?

Made Barr Camp. Got a Coke, got peanut M&M's and I got to sit down by the stove and relax for a few as I contemplated the 7+ miles back down the mountain I needed to run. The Wall.... was I already there. Was I possibly done for the day only I didn't really know it yet?

Thankfully the run down went great. I took off sort of slow but then got bored I guess. Cranked up the I Pod and started tearing down the trail. My time down was pretty good all things considered. Extra bonus... the lower I went down the warmer it got as well. Ahhhhhhh.... nice....

Finished out the day doing everything else I needed to do, I ate then I lifted then I lounged on the couch for couple of hours before getting ready to go out with friends for a steak dinner and cigars at 15C that evening.

As I sat on the couch at 15C enjoying my Cohiba Siglo IV, I was so thankful that I pushed through that morning and somehow managed to do what I wanted to do. Little did I know another wall was right around the corner, but this time in the form of an elephant. The proverbial "elephant in the room," you know the one that folks try to not talk about?

This time, he came to me.

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