Just two short months ago, I was fired up and ready to train the hell out of this summer. I was going to run and hike ad nauseum. I was going to be my fittest ever. I was going to eat, sleep and breathe trail running. I was (secretly) going to aim for a sub-5:15 ultra, which would have been a massive jump from my 5:39 several years ago over a distance of only 46 km.
And then my SI decided that it was going to give my determination a run for its money. In truth, it may have won.
By being forced to take it easy, I’ve been checking out shorter trails, ones that I would have deemed neither long nor difficult enough to constitute as a training hike. I have been slowing down and focusing on enjoying the scenery rather than trying to power through hikes as fast as humanly possible. I’ve rediscovered the love of hiking with other people because I’m less concerned with my speed and distance. I’ve enjoyed sleeping past 6 because I’m not driving two hours to a trail head to hike for eight hours and then drive back. I’ve enjoyed finding time to watch golf (don’t judge–it surprises me more than it can possibly surprise any of you). I’ve enjoyed the extra glass or two of wine because shorter hikes require less…sharpness. It’s all been rather nice.
Sometimes I think “I could get used to this.” Sometimes I wonder if my priorities are changing, whether I really want to put all my energy into training for anything. I wonder whether it would be worth it if it means giving up all those perks of non-training life. I’ve walked down that ‘everything-is-all-about-the-race’ road before and inevitably it kills my love for running and/or hiking–at least temporarily.
But then I remember my mildly obsessive personality and know that the second I have confidence that my injuries are at bay, I will want to hike farther and faster. Because even when I’m not training, I am always competing against myself, fighting for faster times and longer distances. But I’m committed to at least enjoying this hiatus, however long it may last, in all it’s pressure-free, scenery-filled, and leisurely-paced glory.