This was a pretty good day. You know, Ice Cream and a hike with the boys, and then, tonight, I needed to get some exercise. I decided to go for a long hike, the Kirk Hill to Leverich Canyon trail that Liat and I used to do all the time last summer. Last year, we felt like intrepid explorers in the beginning of the season when we first topped out on the fire road. Then, there was one long day where Liat, Virginia and I decided to walk along the fire road and see where it would come out.
We were excited and nervous, but we had lots of water and food, and it took us five hours, but we found the Leverich Canyon trail head and connected them. Then, on wobbly, weary legs, we stumbled down the dirt road and called Tom for a pick up. We were so proud, happy, dusty, tired, we had worked so hard and gone so far...
Last summer, Liat and I did it as a shuttle, and it took 2 1/2 hours every time we did it, no matter how hard we pushed.
Tonight, I was tempted to run from my house to the Kirk Hill trail head (1.7 miles) then up Kirk Hill to the fire road (about 3 miles) then along the fire road to Leverich Canyon (about 2 miles, pretty flat) then down Leverich canyon (about 1.5 or 2 miles) then back over to my house (4 miles or so). But I am afraid of running on pavement, I am afraid of getting half way there and being pooped, I am afraid that on my own I wont' be enough motivation to keep moving. In other words, I have a lot of fear and doubt about myself.
So I decided to park at Kirk Hill and do the rest of it minus the run from my house, effectively shaving almost 4 miles off my adventure.
I had my Ipod, which I usually don't listen to while running, but lately, I've been trying it out. I was listening to a mix that I made for a friend, a lift me up mix of all the songs that fill my heart and make me feel good good good, and I was just powering up Kirk Hill! Every time I slowed down, I heard my new mantra, "If you want to be faster on the boot pack, you have to train to go faster. That means you need to practice going faster. That means if it hurts a little, because you are going faster, you are training. Keep going. Go Faster. If you want to go faster on the boot pack, you need to practice going faster..." Wash, rinse, repeat...
I wasn't sure if I was going faster, but I know that every time it flattened out, I ran, which is new for me, because I hate running, or I always have. I always used to feel like, "I could be walking..." but I ran a little yesterday and it felt really good to stretch out and feel the ground disappearing behind me, rolling under my feet like a wheel, and so I asked myself to go faster, and that meant that when it was flat, it was time to run.
I made it from the Kirk Hill trail head to the Leverich Canyon trail head in an hour flat. And I was talking on the phone all the way down Leverich Canyon, or it probably would have been faster! I was shocked. I shaved and HOUR AND A HALF off my time, and I felt really good. I ran and I ran and I ran, I ran on dirt, gravel, pavement, over streams and rocks, I ran and stretched and was singing along to my Ipod "Cause I'm willing... willing and able..." by Prince... and in this way, I watched the sun set, I felt my body alive and strong, I asked it to go faster and it did.
Now that I am home, I feel full, happy, rested, like I could run another ten miles. I feel like Rocky.