Last Friday we went on a run up on Mt. Lemmon. It was mostly inspired by it being too hot in town, and I think we were both over sitting in front of computers, and when the drive to the top of Lemmon, plus the hour we planned on spending lounging after our run was factored in, it made for an extended Friday Afternoon Adventure Club expedition.
We’ve slowly been ramping up our runs, and we’d done several near 1-hour runs out on Starr Pass, so we figured that an hour on Lemmon would be a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Except we, as novice runners, haven’t really figured out the finer points of running. Like not starting with a steep downhill. Or how to actually run downhill. Or, if the most elevation you’ve gained/lost in a run is 500 feet, it’s probably not a good idea to do a run that drops 1,000 feet with very little reprieve.
So we ran. Any by the time we got back to the car, we both agreed, That’s going to leave a mark. But maybe not that bad of a mark.
Long story short, I was hobbled for four days. My quads felt like I’d just descended into the Grand Canyon with a bike on my back. So I’ve had some time to kill because instead of getting up and moving around and futzing with stuff like I normally do when I’m bored, I’ve tried to stay sitting as much as possible. While googling “How to run downhill” I came across Geoff Roes‘ blog entry over at iRunFar.com where he talks about the shelf life of ultra runners, speculating on whether most really only have 4-5 good years of elite level competition in them before bodies break down, or if it’s just that fast most ultra runners don’t start running until their 30’s, and thus, reach an age ceiling.
But it got me thinking about the shelf life idea.
Geoff experienced a total body shut-down after 5 years of hard running that makes my body shutdown after 4 years of bikepacking seem like a common cold. I think we’re both left wondering that if we’d listened a little better to our bodies, if we could have avoided it. It seems like we both ignored our bodies whispering that something was wrong, we ignored the shouts, and finally had to face the ‘Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.’
Maybe I reached my shelf-life for ultra racing.
My dreams of being an ultra runner came crashing down. (insert sarcasm)
But seriously, it got me thinking, What if my body will never be up for doing something retarded like a 100 mile foot race?
And then I started laughing.
Today is the following Wednesday (five days after last Friday), and for the first time since Lemmon, I was able to walk without hobbling. We even went for a little A-Mountain run this morning without dying.
I think I need to worry about not being a cripple after a 6 mile run before I can even think about physical limitations of my body in terms of running. But it sure is fun to dream.
Focus on the present, young grasshopper.