Last Saturday night I was just about used up. I had ridden the bike course and driven it twice. I had run all sections of the run course, biked it, and driven it several times. I was in the midst of CDA reconnaissance overload. There comes a time when studying anything that you need to step back, take a break, let things absorb. I had noticed a little hiking trail while I was running the course and so I headed over there in the evening hoping I could get a little walk in and chill out for a bit. What a treat! Tubbs hill in CDA is a delightful little edge of the world, and just what I was hoping to find when I set out.
I'm a big fan of almost every setting our glorious earth has to offer, but I have a special place in my heart for deep forests with lush undergrowth. The pacific northwest is a favorite of mine, the Hoh Rainforest made a strong impression on me as a young teenager. Although my parents swear I slept that entire 2 week car trip, some things did make an impression on me.
This little path was just darling, and the locals think so too as I ran into several others ambling their way through the woods that evening. There are trails all over this hill and it's flanked by the lake. Gorgeous! At one point I thought to myself, Humm, I'm out here alone, far from home...but that stuff never really bothers me for long.
As I walked it reminded me how necessary it is to get out on a daily basis for a walk, an amble. Growing up my family used to take walks almost every evening. I was lucky to have grown up in some beautiful locations (Tehachapi, CA, Los Osos, CA, San Jose, CA). Walks would last from 15 minutes to 90 minutes, it just depended on what everyone needed to come down a level. We had such great conversations out there, repeating our same loops, most the time with a dog in tow.
My walk on Tubbs hill was just like this. Nothing grandiose, nothing dramatic, but special and calm just the same. As I walked along I was reminded of why I do all this stuff in the first place. It's fun! It's adventurous. Even though my quads ached to traverse the paths undulations, it's a good hurt, a hurt of work, and a hurt that will pay off when I want it to the most.
Even if this training block doesn't get me to my goals, it's ok. Even if traveling to CDA and training on the course yields no benefit, it's ok. If I don't make it to Kona, it's ok. Why? Because I have enjoyed the process. I haven't given one ounce more than I was willing. I never once crossed the line of devoting so much to this that I would feel it wasn't worth it if I didn't reach my goals. These things are always about the journey, and this journey I have enjoyed.
And this was the frame of mind that I left Tubbs hill, and that I slept peacefully that night. I woke up the next day and I ran spot on my hopeful IM race pace for one lap of the run course. And if that's the only time I run that pace, it's ok, because it was special and rewarding all in it's own right.
Everyone needs to recenter every so often.