If you couldn’t tell, I’ve not been loving running lately. I guess I’m still trying to figure out what kind of runner I am. Do I want to stick with shorter distances (5ks and 10ks) or focus on longer distances (halfs and marathons)? Do I want to focus on speed, high mileage, or hills? Do I even want to concentrate on one aspect of running or do I just want to wing it and do whatever feels right at the moment?
Well, what I do know about myself when it’s come to running is that I can be competitive but I also don’t like pushing myself to the point where I lose my breath. I want to run hard, but I want it to be comfortable. That will take time and a consistent effort. Not what I’m particularly good at.
I do like running hills and stairs. I get bored when I run the same routes on the road. But I also like running on my treadmill while watching Netflix.
Since I’m pretty sure that many runners don’t like hills, I keep thinking that maybe this is what I need to be focusing on. I find it easier to focus on conquering a hill of some elevation rather than conquering some distance on flat terrain.
A few days ago I signed up for the Pacifica Foothills 10k trail run. The website says it’s 5.8 miles with about 1,200 feet of elevation. I’ll go up 500 feet, down 300 feet, up 700 feet and down 900 feet. This is a challenge I can get excited about! I think that’s saying something.
This really fits in well with my love for the Stairway to Heaven. And today I planned a trail run in Pebble Beach with a little more hill than I’m used to. I pulled out my Green Trails Map of Monterey-Pebble Beach-Carmel and planned a course in the S.F.B. Morse Botanical Reserve.
The first 0.25 mile was on the road just getting to the trail. The next 1.35 miles was the 385 ft. climb up the hill. I kept it slow the entire time because my only goal was to not walk. I didn’t care how slow my pace was; I just wanted to keep moving. It was tough, but I was surprised how doable it felt.
As I headed back down the trail, I was looking for the next right turn. It seemed like it was taking a while and I wondered if I somehow missed it. I happened to see a narrow, unmarked trail and made a quick turn. It was the most fun I’ve had on a trail run! There were so many roots to hop over and even a few fallen (or cut down) trees I had to climb over. I wished I had a GoPro strapped to me! But I did take a rough video with my phone. Although I’ll turn it the other way for the next time. Right after I stopped the video, it got steeper and more rough! Ahh! So fun!! I actually thought “I can’t wait to run up that big hill again!”
And so I know for sure now, this is what I need to be doing. Trail running is what makes me happy.