Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pop Goes the Ankle

In the beginning of my ascent, I couldn’t have been happier. Quickly, churning up Mount Spokane, smiling and waving at the occasional hiker or biker, the miles seemingly flew by. After reaching Kit Carson Road, a symbolic halfway point for this climb, the effects of the previous four miles began to sink in, deep.

Thank God for fruit snacks! Soft, lightly warmed, delicious, glorious fruit snacks. Two bags didn’t satisfy the great demon that had awakened in my belly so I went for the big guns... Thank God for Clif Bars! Fresh out of the oven that had become my waist pocket, I ferociously gobbled down an entire bar. The beast at last, was silenced.

Yo da lay he hoooo! Tired, thirsty and sweaty the summit was in sight. Finally, I could stick my flag pole in the top of this sucker. A very hot and exposed shortcut up the snowmobile corridor, exasperated most of my water. No time to dilly dally. This elevator is going down. And down I went.

Snap. Crackle. Pop. That’s usually not the sound you want to hear from your ankle. Ok quick risk assessment. Swelling? A little. Pain? A little. Delusional? A little. Three weeks out from my first race of the season and I decided to wear sunglasses through a heavily shaded, heavily rooted section of trail. I believe Mr. T has a catchphrase for people who get themselves into situations like this.

I really don’t want to start a pity party for myself though. It’s my own fault. Nothing can change the initial damage I have done to my ankle. All I can do is rest and treat the injury until it is fully healed. God only knows if I will be able to toe the line in three weeks. But I can tell you one thing for sure, I will never wear sunglasses through that section of trail again.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Run Like the Wind

I can still hear my Dad cheering me on as I race around the backyard. “Run like the wind Steve”, he would tell me as I try to catch my breath in between huge gulps of water. “Thanks Dad, watch this!” Zoom! Flying from tree to tree, glancing back for some sign of approval that I was indeed running like the wind. I would run and run until I simply had nothing left to give.

To this day, when I reach a low spot in a race or training session, this is one of my favorite mantras. It always brings a smile to my face and brings myself back to a time when running truly felt free. To a time when life was simple and the most stressful part of my day was gagging through the broccoli on my dinner plate. Blisters be damned, cramps be gone! Be light, be airy, BE THE WIND!

Sometimes it is these little things in life that have the most impact. As a kid, I never imagined anyone being able to run fifty miles. But when my Dad would tell me to run like the wind,  I fully believed that as long as the wind was blowing, I could run. Breathe, stride, stride, stride, breathe, be the wind, be the wind. Without these small words of encouragement, it is hard to picture what my life would be like now.

Thank you Dad. You're motivating voice will always be with me through thick and thin. Happy Father's Day.