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Not quite recovered yet, but just ran a 10 mile trail at Heil Valley Ranch.  Second time this week since Dave turned me on to it.  He mountain bikes it regularly.  I don’t think I’m giving myself adequate time for my body to heal between runs.  This was brutal today.  Everything hurt from start to finish.  Starting at the Picture Rock Trail head, this trail steadily inclines for 5.5 miles.  I turn around at the 5 mile marker though.  And the grade isn’t overly steep, but the trail is fairly rocky in spots requiring high knee lifts.  This picture shows my legs covered in dirt starting at my ankle line.

I ran back down today like a banshee; not to say I was running fast, but because instead of breathing my body involuntarily grunted the entire retreat down the mountain.  And I howled forth several screams upon stumbling.  I pulled something in my left thigh after one of my stumbles to stop myself from falling over a small cliff.  And at one point a thorn pierced my right shoe into the ball of my foot.  I’ve been pushing myself hard this last week to prep for the Imogene Pass Run in September, but I may have to rethink my regimen because the intensity is taking its toll.  And to paraphrase Captain Mal, you can’t run if you’re dead.

The first time I ran this trail on Tuesday, I sprung back down in confidence.  But my legs were so weak today I had to let them move at the pace granted by my downward momentum because I was afraid any resistance would lead to collapsing.  My knees went from sore to numb and I wasn’t assured they would support my frame.  Descending downhill was more a matter of faith than actual control.

My playlist helped.  I borrowed Karen’s iPod and played a shuffle of her dance tunes she uses as an aerobics instructor.  I was near tears as my exhausted flesh exited the canyon with 1 mile remaining, and by then the music wasn’t enough to keep me from walking.  But a strong breeze came from nowhere and cooled me down.  And again, with only a half mile to go, I considered walking.  But the oddest thing; a Christmas song played – Winter Wonderland.  It created enough of a fantasy world for me to think it wasn’t so hot and I made it to the trail head in stride.  I’m going to keep my distance up next week, but I might back off from squeezing in so many mountain trail runs.  I need to live to run another day.