Physically, my running isn't in all that bad of shape right now. On Monday I accidentally locked myself out of my house with just a water bottle, a cell phone, and $7 in cash. Since there was little else I could do until Beat got home, I extended my planned six-mile run into a climby from-home loop I call the "Big PG&E," which has about 2,300 feet of climbing and comes in at exactly 13.1 miles. My half-marathon "PR" is 2:04, and I was able to wrap up this trail run in 2:21 without pushing any boundaries.
I could say it went well — no leg pain, no more breathing trouble, happy feet, nothing out of the ordinary. Still, I wasn't quite feeling it. What can I say? Bryce Canyon beat me down. Ever since that race, I have felt a growing sense of terror about Petite Trotte a Leon, to the point where I'm starting to have PTL-specific nightmares. All of these nightmares involve a brilliant lightning storm and heavy rain on a high mountain ridge, and my two teammates and I are separated on opposite ledges with a huge chasm between us. Then I wake up in a cold sweat. To be honest, I haven't had nightmares about an event I haven't yet participated in since before the 2008 Iditarod. I'd almost forgotten how having this degree of pre-race jitters feels, but it's kind of awful. I'm not sure how I'm going to stave off panic as the race gets closer — and I think it's affecting how I feel about running in general. But while I struggle to capture my badly wounded running mojo, I've found relief in what has become a darker corner of my outdoor hobbies — road biking.
I'm loving road biking right now. Ah, the effortless descents. The steady red-line heart rate of a hard climb. The smooth, flowing lines and leg-pumping flats. I go through phases with road biking; generally a few weeks of loving it until I get mentally worn down by run-ins with traffic, or distracted by deeper outdoor adventures. But right now, it's perfect, it's pressure-free, and it's just what I need.