With a whole host of friends out doing the Montana de Oro race, of course I wanted to run it too. Unfortunately, my income is pretty slim right now and after paying for the costly miwok and tahoe rim races, my racing budget for the year was looking a little too low. I decided it would be best for me to go out there and volunteer and support the runners instead.
Still needing to get in a long run for the weekend, I headed out to Montana de Oro on Friday, after a brutal midterm in an ecology class. A perfect way to clear my head and release all the anger from the endless true-false questions that taunted me throughout the morning. It was a beautiful day. By 10am it was already 75 degrees with no fog in sight. Not too bad for February :)
I’m fortunate to not have to run alone very often. Luckily, I have a boyfriend that is almost always up for an adventure, or it ends up being the other way around, with him convincing me to get out there. I’ve also been able to find quite a few people here in SLO who love to run long distances. But running alone can be pretty nice sometimes. It can be a little daunting at first, especially when you’re looking at over 4 hours with just your own thoughts, but it’s also quite refreshing and a perfect time to work out any issues that may have been bugging you. When I have to do it too often, I do start to get bored, but today felt like the right day.
I started out along the bluff trail, trying to get this 2mi section out of the way as soon as possible. It’s usually crowded with people and this day was no exception. There was a large group out for a docent led nature walk that took up a large chunk of the trail and seemed to be oblivious to the fact that I was trying to get by. On my way back through that section, about 2hrs later, they had moved no more than a quarter mile. Exactly my problem with this trail.
I now have a new reason to resent the bluff trail, though. After passing a few of the groups, I decided I should probably partake in all the photography action. It was afterall, a very nice day. After getting a couple shots of the ocean, I went to put my camera back in my pocket. That’s where everything went wrong. You see, I have kind of a bad history with electronics. I don’t particularly like them(although I do love what I can do with them) and they seem to have something against me. It’s as if I can never own something mechanical or electronic for too long before something goes wrong. I think that’s why I enjoy running so much. No mechanics, no extra “stuff”. You can just…run.
On a day like this one was, the trail was very much dry. It hadn’t rained for a couple weeks and besides the ocean, there wasn’t much water to be found elsewhere. But guess what? My camera happened to find the one and only puddle in the entire park. Yep, there it was, once carefully clasped in my hands, with beautiful ocean pictures housed inside, now falling
from my hands to its death in the puddle.
I snatched it back up as quickly as I could but I knew practically right away that it was a gonner. Inside every possible nook and cranny was now not only salt water, but also gritty sand and mud. I tried my best to wipe it out, but my shedding of clothing in the beginning left me with only a sports bra and synthetic pair of shorts to work with. The nature hikers passed me with a look that said “hah. That’s what you get for trying to be young and spunky and run around US.”
I sat there for another few minutes trying to revive my poor camera with no luck. The lens was stuck and all the screen said when I turned it on was Error: Try turning off and then on again. It didn’t work. It never turned back on :( And that racing fund that’s looking pretty empty? Ya…that houses my camera-fixing budget as well.
But back to the run. It only took a few miles out on the trail before I was able to shake off the hikers, my camera, and the mornings test. I was in a groove and totally happy. I made a few loops in and around the park, in attempt to get in a lot of miles. The heat was starting to get at me a little bit and I was feeling my back burning (sorry mom, I didn’t know I’d need sunscreen!). Other than that, I was having a great time. I was over 20miles in and still not feeling too tired- a great feeling when I’ll have to be ready to do that 5 times in July! I crested the last hill and started the descent into the last few miles of the run. Bam. Right at that instant, I felt my right IT band. I’ve been diligently stretching and strengthening it for the last 5 weeks and haven’t felt it at all for a long time. It can be so disappointing to deal with sports injuries. It’s hard enough to just get the training in for an event, but when you have to constantly worry about injuries and how to avoid them or nurse them back to health, it can get a little overwhelming. I decided to walk back to the car to prevent any further damage from the day and figure out a plan of action for my knee. For the past week or so I’ve been super serious about stretching and icing, and I’ve also gotten on my bike some more. So far it seems to be helping, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve decided that being “pretty” diligent isn’t enough. To really get past this injury I’m going to have to put in a lot of time nursing it back to health. But I’m ready to do it. I want this summer to work out really badly and even though it can be hard planning for something so far in the future, it’s the only way it can work.
Even though certain parts of the run weren’t ideal, I had a good time. It’s so amazing to be in a place where there’s people to run with, beautiful areas, and plenty of sunshine.