Everyone always says “listen to your body”. You know, if you’re tired take a day off, if you’re injured take a day off, if you’re hungry eat a burrito.
I’ve been getting a lot better at that since my last run-preventing injury in February. Even to the point where I listened to my body when it said “Hey dude, just doing another 24km before work is kinda boring. Let’s get some speed in there!”
Seeing as I received that last message for more intensity, I figured I wouldn’t need to taper down much for TransRockies. I mean, how do you taper for a six day ultra anyway? But then mid last week I felt just a little sluggish and heavy and it dawned upon me how awful it would be to feel like that and then go and acclimatize to altitude. Feeling crappy for two totally different reasons sounds terrible.
So I decided to take a day or two off mid-week then just play it by ear from there. But then my ears heard someone else say “Hey, let’s go run Howe Sound Crest Trail on Sunday!” Hell yes.
I’ve wanted to “run” Howe Sound Crest Trail since I realized that it both existed and that I could cover 30km on foot without dying. It’s a ~29km trail going from the Cypress bowl ski area to Porteau Cove, about 20km south of Squamish. As the name suggests, it runs along the crest of the mountains up Howe Sound. Over St. Marks, over Unnecessary Mountain (best name), between the Lions, through Magnesia Meadows and around a bunch of awesome lakes.
If you start at Cypress you also end up doing about 1900m of elevation gain. Of course, we did it the hard way — ending at Cypress — which resulted in about 2600m of elevation gain.
And man was it gorgeous up there.
Anyway, back to listening to yourself. So yeah, you gotta listen to your body. But when you’re running with people they listen to you too (unless you run with selfish jerks). And what they hear is sometimes as useful as these other little messages your body sends you:
Alicia “Do you have any gels with caffeine in them?”
Elliot “Yeah, why?”
Alicia “You’ve been talking about coffee non-stop for the past hour. I think your body needs some”
Elliot “Oh… Have I? Yeah.. that would be good”
So sometimes there’s little subtle messages that sneak in like that.
Later on though, things got bit darker. You see, there were a lot of bees. Big, heavy, fat bees. And they just flew around our heads like tiny buzzing moons. With the occasional gust of wind they’d smack right into your head. It was annoying. When I’m tired though things that annoy me can push me to the edge.
“God damn piece of shit fucking fat-ass bees. I fucking hate you. I hate your whole species! When I get home I’m going to pour honey down the drain just to show you what I think of all of you. You fat bustards! It won’t even be organic honey. I’m going to waste grocery store honey so that your stupid cousins who made it in sweatshop conditions toiled away for nothing! Gahhhh!!! Leave me alone you buzzing little shits!!!!!!!”
So, listening to me say that we learn: bees are jerks, I was probably about ready for that run to be over, and that when I’m tired I say things I don’t really mean.
Or do I…