DEMONFEET

Just go

Patience

Today was my first really good run back running after about two weeks.  This is not good thing seeing as on May 29th I’m running 20 or so miles total of down into the Grand Canyon and back out the other side.  I’m damn scared at this point of all sorts of things, mainly A) I won’t be in good enough shape to do the run and B) I’ll do it anyway and seriously injure myself.  These were the problems that got me off my feet in the first place so I really need to be aware of these fears and do what I can do let go.

What happened was I ran a good 7 or so miles a few weeks ago.  That was the first 7 miles I had done on cement in a long time.  My body doesn’t like cement and my mind doesn’t like it when I track my miles.  I had my phone with me and I was watching the miles and speed.  It was a great pace for me.  I think it was somewhere around a 8.6 minute miles, or so said the stupid distance tracker.  I got all cocky and didn’t listen to my body which was saying, “Hey, that was fantastic.  We should relax and then do that again!”  I listened to my mind that was focusing on the possibility of not being good enough and fast enough which said, “FARTHER!  FASTER!”  So a few days later I pushed it and did 11 miles at about 9 minute miles and started cramping up at about mile 9ish.  I ran through it.  My brain that was clinging on the fear of not enough pushed me to run 10 with the cramp in my leg and boom!  The cramp became a nasty pull and I had to stop altogether for a few weeks to heal.  This is what happens when I listen when my mind obsesses and clings to things that are not actually in present time.

I was worried so I called George and talked about my fears about our run and he, who just finished the LA Marathon, and I decided we’d train as best we can and go to the Grand Canyon, and just do our best.  Do what we can with what we have.  The #1 thing to focus on…having a beautiful experience doing something that few people have.  We have lived these amazing lives that have gotten us to a point where we can do this and I like the idea or experiencing it all at a comfy slow pace to take in the majesty of that amazing place as opposed to running as hard and fast as we can.  We’re going to bring cameras, food, and fun.

The most important thing about this experience thus far is me realizing that I need to ditch the timer and pedometer at this point and just go play in the dirt or play in the street.  Focus on form and breathing, and quit those damn evil ciggs, instead of count, and worry.  Play in the dirt, say hi to everyone I pass, and just have fun.  This is really all I can do.  As I was writing in the first post I wrote about this awesome adventure, I’m just a normal dude who works, goes to school, stays healthy, and plays on bicycles.  I’m not trained super runner.  I don’t go to the gym.  I can’t afford to make this a masochistic bludgeoning of my body, I don’t have the time or money to heal from that.  I need to handle this with grace and dignity, letting go of the clinging to the ideas that I am not ready.  That’s because I am ready.  I was born ready for this.

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Just an Ordinary Guy Trying to do Extraordinary Things

Long before my cycling obsession I had a fierce running obsession.  Getting  bored with running in the streets lead me to running in the mountains.  Between those two places there was a night when I was running at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, where I live, and I looked up at the red lights of the antenna up on top of Mnt. Wilson and I set the goal to train myself to run up the mountain to those very same antenna.  It took months of training but I did it.  The two main things I learned from that experience is combined into one message.  I try to keep reminding myself that with slow hard work there ends up being a massive difference between what I think I can do and what I can actually do.  This opened up an almost infinite world of possibilities for me to explore if I so choose.  I’m no super hero here, I’m just a normal dude.  I still have doubt and fear that keeps me back from doing amazing stuff like that, and I also work and go to school so theres only so much time and energy that I have to dedicate toward my passion for exploring in my trail running but I do my best to get out there as much as possible.  Nonetheless, the doors had been opened and I had walked through.

Rewind about 13 or so years, maybe 14.  I meet George at the community college in Pasadena, PCC.  We become fast friends and bond deeply over the next 13 or 14 years over helping each other through similar catastrophic experiences.  This experience created a very special indestructible friendship between us.  George followed the snow for I think 8 years up n Tahoe, Kirkwood, and over in  Telluride, CO.  I tagged along each winter climbing mountains with him this time with snowboards attached to our backs so we could blast down them together.  Our love for the mountains has taken us on some amazing adventures together but none in comparison to the one coming up…

Years back when I went up to Telluride to visit him I was running a lot at the time so I thought I’d give running a shot up in the Colorado mountains at 10,000 feet.  I’ve never been so winded in my life, but I did it a few days when I was up there and I talked about it a lot.  I’ve always been like that, when I really like something I almost let it consume me and get hyper passionate about it, talking about it all the time and reading about it just as much trying to learn everything about whatever it is.

I’d like to think I influenced George’s entry into running but who knows.  Just over a year ago he started running the trails in Telluride competing in a half marathon up there.  He has since moved back to Pasadena and he’s training hard for the  LA marathon coming up in a few months.  I still stick to the trails still and if I have to I’ll hit the sidewalk at night after a long day.

Coming up in May is kind of a special anniversary for us so I decided we need to do an epic run together to share in the celebration of the sport we both love and our amazing friendship.  We’re both in our early mid 30’s, I’m working and in school marching toward a career, George has a career and a wife and a baby on the way so no matter how fast and far we run life is catching up quickly so now is the time for us to get to it.  A while back when George moved back to Pasadena, he asked me to run the Grand Canyon with him and I said sure only half seriously but recently rehashed the idea with him as a serious thing for us to train for.

So we’re running the Grand Canyon.  The weekend of May 29th.  Down into the canyon and out the other side.  We’re hashing out the details and I’ll post them when they get finalized but it’s about 20 miles total.  It’s a massive run and a really cool meeting of the disciplines as George has the distance on lock from training for his marathon and I have the climbing power from running in the mountains for so long.  I’ll be sharing my training here, not only miles but how the hell can I get ready for this as I have a full normal life, not one of a professional athlete who can afford to train and run all day.  It’s going to be an amazing process from here to there and I can’t wait to share this experience with both George and all of you who might be reading this.  Keep checking in periodically for more and this gets underway.

I almost forgot!  If anyone reads this and wants to come along on a good trail run, let me know!  Comment me or email me at Patswalker@gmail.com.  The Grand Canyon is for me and George but anything between here and there anyone can join.

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Beautiful Video of a Boy and His Bike

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Painted in Waterlogue
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