I have a love-hate relationship with mile markers. It's great to know where I am, but when I'm running up a mountain it's also disheartening to see just how long I've been at it and how far I've yet to go.
Here's a story about my first run to Barr Camp, mile marker by mile marker:
½. My calves are screaming for mercy. I'm the only person going up Barr Trail, my legs would like to add "with good reason."
1: Who knew the human calf muscles could do this? Let's not find the point at which they spontaneously combust.
1 ½: Only 1 ½. Don't think about the nearly 6 miles left before you'll see a downhill.
2: Finally, another running heading up.
2 ½: Ignorance is bliss. Is it that my legs realized that my brain wasn't listening to their protests so they've stopped searing?
3: A sign pointing to Barr Camp - 4 miles.
3 ½: Marks the top of the Incline. My watch hits 1 hour.
4: I've never come this far up Barr before. This feels amazing! It's just me and a trail on the edge of the world. I start smiling and don't stop until I get to Barr Camp.
4 ½: I'm an endurance girl at heart. I can feel it now, the run may not be pleasant, but I can put one foot in front of the other for a very long time before it gets old.
5: Still a happy runner. It's getting cold - there are patches of ice which adds an element of interest.
5 ½: Is it just me or has the last 1 ½ been sort of flat? Don't question it, embrace it! My mile splits range from 12 minutes right here to 19 minutes where it's rockier and steeper.
6: Another sign to Barr Camp. ½ mile. I have to do a double take to make sure I read that right. Only ½ a mile? I'm seriously doing this thing?
6 ½ (give or take): Barr Camp. My watch reads 2 hours and a few odd minutes. It's cold up here, I chat with the other runner who was taking break there and then turn around before my body has time to realize it's tired or sore or lacking oxygen:-).
Down, down, down: Running back down literally takes half the time. One good wipeout, a few nice ankle twists, and a stumble or two later I'm back in Manitou with another 13.5 miles and 3:21 on the trails under my belt. That's a morning well spent (followed by lots of time spent icing my legs and foam rolling).
Here's what 3 solid hours on Barr Trail taught me this morning: