Breutiful. Yes, spell check, exactly that. The Calero Reservoir Trail Run put on by West Coast Trail Runs was breutiful. The reservoir is nestled in the land of barns and bales in a South San Jose valley. Next to the valley are some impressive mountains. Not the Swiss Alps but still, enough to be breutiful and certainly challenging for my second trail half marathon.
And brutal with over 4,000 feet of climbing in 13.1 miles.
Fortunately, we got to run down this little hill but that was after a few miles of climbing up and up and up on very steep grades. My Newton Boca ATs gripped the ground well and provided great stability.
West Coast Trails run support was great. Route markings were very clear. The baked potato pieces at the mile 6ish station were delicious. The 9ish-mile station had not one but three helpful people and goldfish, gummy bears, M&Ms, etc sorted into a bowl for each participant as well as electrolyte pills and drink. Loved it!
On a breutiful long run like this one, you get to be with your tiredness and chose to be with the beauty right in front of you and all around you. You get to battle the urge to quit. In some ways, you get to shrink down the larger questions to a few hours. Am I going to quit or am I going to keep going? What am I in this for? to win, to finish, to enjoy, to explore, to meet people? etc.
After long periods spent battling the race clock and my own personal clock (PB – personal best), this year, I decided to make a U-turn in my approach, to run trails where all bets are off, instead of the road, and to enjoy the run, rather than goal a time. As a result, I’ve had a much richer experience.
I’ve chatted with a lot more people like Kathy from Bend who was running the full marathon (kudos!) and a pair of friends who were running their first trail run (half-marathon) and another pair who were trail speedsters (I met them at the finish). I’ve attempted much longer distances in much tougher terrain on much less structured training than before. And I have seen a lot more territory in my world.
This U-turn was a long time unfolding. Many are. But it’s worth thinking about where am I and where are you frustrated with what we’re experiencing? Those areas are ripe for trying out a different approach. After all, the current one isn’t working for us.
Where do you think a U-Turn might lead you to higher ground?