The summer after my junior year in high school, my work schedule conflicted with my cross-country practices so I didn’t run at all. The week before school started I arrived to practice completely out of shape. Our coaches, probably realizing they didn’t have a lot of time to get us meet ready, sent us out on an eight-mile run. Near the end, my running buddy Jennifer chanted “We’re almost there, we’re almost there, we’re almost there” to the rhythm of our struggling steps. We weren’t literally almost there, but it helped. I was able to focus on her words instead of how I felt. And it created the illusion that the run was almost over, which gave me the energy to finish.
In the years since, that chant has helped me tackle other challenging runs. I think of it again as I near the end of my “40 by 40” challenge. Yesterday I ran four miles to bring my total to 30. The final 10 miles will be challenging because my legs aren’t as fresh as when I started, but being this close gives me the energy to finish. Just 10 to go!
Not gonna lie, I didn’t want to run today. My legs were tired and my knees were still sore. But I knew I had to, so I tried a new spot to get myself excited for my run. That plan didn’t exactly work. I ran part of a bike path next to the 405 freeway. As I passed the slow-moving cars on the 405, I first thought that at least I wasn’t stuck in traffic. But then I thought, but at least they’re sitting! I begrudgingly ran four miles, very happy to be done.
After a busy Friday, all I wanted to do was take it easy and not have to tackle the “run” item on my to-do list. But I had taken Thursday off, so I had no choice: I had to run today. It turns out that I picked the perfect run to end the week. I ran Bommer Canyon, one of the other Irvine Open Space Preserves. I really liked it because Bommer Canyon is more quiet and tranquil than the Quail Hill Loop Trail.
I ran Bommer Meadows Trail (1/2 miles) and the aptly-named Nature Loop Trail (1 mile), then took the Meadows trail back to the parking lot. I ran past groves of trees, crossed over quaint wooden bridges and admired the views in every direction. I stopped often to take photos, welcoming the brief respite. When I got back to the trailhead, my Runkeeper app said I’d run 1.8 miles so I started down the Shady Canyon Bikeway that connected with the parking lot. My plan was to turn around when I got to two miles and run the canyon again, but I continued on the path because there was a dirt hiking and riding trail next to the bike path that was flat and soft. And it was slightly warmer here than in the canyon (it was 62 degrees in the late afternoon, brrr). The path parallels Shady Canyon Drive and then enters a gated community. That seemed odd. But there’s something invigorating about running without knowing where you’re going. It was a beautiful run surrounded by nature with no houses in sight (they were hidden up side streets). I turned around when I reached three miles. But if I had continued, it would have taken me through the community all the way to Quail Hill.
I finished my four-mile run feeling really good. Once again, my knees were loving the soft ground. I have from Saturday to Tuesday to run the final 10 miles. It feels good to be “almost there!”
40 by 40 Progress:
Day: 12 of 16
Miles: 30 of 40 completed
Status: Just 10 miles to go, woo-hoo!