Friday, December 16, 2011
Be Like the Dog, Girl
We're getting a lot of snow these days. A lot. So much, that I'm beginning to fear for my spring race training. As soon as the sun peeks out for a day or two to de-ice the roads, it snows. And my trails in the mountains and hills are only passable with snowshoes. Which I guess is okay, because I read somewhere that for every mile you run in snowshoes, it's like doing three on dry land. Except I don't really run. I slog. I participated in a 5K snowshoe trail run at the top of the Sandia's last year. It took me an hour. The top runners finished in something like 32 minutes and 3 seconds. The only thing that made me feel better is that half the participants were also slower than I was.
But I need to bust through some kind of wall if I'm going to finish the Cedro Peak Ultra in April. I reach a certain high point—"hey! where did that muscle come from?"—and then I get smacked back down—"No way—huff, puff—am I going to be able—huff, puff—to make it back home—gag, spit, hurl." Somehow, though, I do. Mainly because I live in fear of having the mountain rescue team called out on me. Hyperventilating while sweating buckets at 10,000 feet is not my best look.
So I'm trying to take inspiration from Maddie, who has become my primary motivator to get out regardless of the weather or my slacker ass. She stands 18 inches and some change off the ground. Weighs 35 pounds, and is about my age in dog years. And she never stops. If she's not on the move, she is sitting at my feet and staring at me, waiting until we move. Rarely does she ever relax and just fall asleep. You drop a pin, that dog is UP.
I took her on two long treks last weekend, a straight up the mountain snowshoe slog at 10 percent grade to 10,500 feet on Saturday and another in cleats along the trails in the hills behind our house, and she never flagged. The only thing that happened was the higher we got up the mountain the first day, the deeper the snow and I was afraid I'd lose her altogether (and I was approaching the hurl stage). So I turned us around. Otherwise, she was fine. And the next day, she could easily have done double what we did. As soon as we got home, all I wanted to do was stand under a hot stream of water for the rest of the day while S.B. fed me slices of pizza. Maddie wanted to play ball.