29 May 2009

trail running on the greenbelt

last saturday, i headed out for an adventure on long island. i had the entire day ahead of me, a nathan-pack full of gels, pretzels, water and sports jelly beans, and i was ready to run!

after a subway ride and the LIRR, i arrived in cold spring harbor. it's a fairy easy trek to the greenbelt from there - you cross the parking lot, make a right on 108 (i believe that's the name of the road), and make your first left. shortly after, you'll hit the trail.

i ran for hours. i got lost countless times, pushed myself whenever i could. the scenery was lovely and i mostly had a great time.

i hit rock bottom; that's what i love abt endurance running: the intensity. i had some really intense highs were i was flying up hills, running hard, pushing myself, loving every last minute of it. but then i kept getting lost - the trail was poorly marked at parts, i was getting lost, running through poison ivy, getting attacked by thorn bushes. i started to cry a little. "i can't do this anymore." were my mother home, i would have called her and asked her to pick me up. she wasn't, and i was alone. i had to figure this out for myself.

i'm glad i did. when a trail ended on a road and i couldn't find my way out of it, i ran back the way i came. it was a long run back, but it wasn't boring. it was still pretty. i found a grocery store where i was able to wash my arms and legs free from potential poison ivy; i filled up my water.

i kept running. i got lost. i couldn't find my way out of the stupid park. i kept asking for directions from some mountain bikers; we kept running into each other, all of us lost. when i found my way out, you know what i did? i ran back in on an easy trail (where i wouldn't get lost) for another hour. i wanted at least 8 hours of running.

and i ran more than that. i ran. i felt great. at the end, i was thirsty and light-headed. i ended at the same train station i started at, and collapsed on the platform in the two minutes i had before my train arrived. i ate a powerbar protein recovery bar (yum!) and drank some water. everyone stared.

i felt strong. accomplished. i feel ready for the VT100 miler. it's the mental i have to get through, and i know it will get tough, but i know i will survive.

1 comment:

steve said...

awesome - I've only had runs like that once or twice in my life.. but those are the kinds of runs you never forget. (:

have fun at your 100k tomorrow.