I wanted to go to Antelope Island last week but it didn't work out. At the time the weather was less than stellar so I wasn't too upset that I wasn't able to make it. It would have been rainy, cold and miserable. Instead I spent less time running more miles closer to home that were still wet and kind of miserable, but it was tolerable because I was just around my neighborhood and not on some mountain trying to enjoy the views.
I decided that I was going to go a few days later. The weather forecast was unfortunately worse than it was before. I considered this but then decided to go for it anyway. The forecasts can be wrong and it just might end up being a beautiful day, right?
I left my house while it was still dark and got out to the island. The weather went from being dry at my house to a light rain by the time I got to the trail head. I put on my gortex jacket and left the trailhead determined to do the run anyway. It was still dark at this point and I headed up the hill with my headlamp on.
Whenever I'm running in less than prefered conditions I try to think about what I once read in a Lance Armstrong book several years ago. I remember him boasting and saying the reason why he was so good is that he would train harder than the other guys. He would train in the cold and the hot the wind and rain, His point was that he was good because he put himself in these poor conditions to make him more prepared and able to perform in races.
So, like him, I try to not wake up on a cold rainy day and decide that I'm not running that day simply because it's cold and rainy. If I become more familiar with how I feel and how it feels to run in poor conditions then I can be more prepared for when those conditions occur on race day (and they have and they will).
So, I ran up this mountain in the middle of a pretty bad storm. It was very windy, it rained and it snowed. I still pushed up and kept running every bit that I could. I made it back in one piece and felt good about having done it.
At one point the light was enough that I could turn of my headlamp and I was in the clouds. Visibility was probably about a hundred yards at this point. I looked up as I was reaching a small crest in the trail when I saw two dark silhouettes of what looked like large rocks. I made loud "hey" noise to see if there was any reaction in the objects, and there was. In the middle of this storm, in the clouds on the ridge of this mountain there were two bison grazing together. I wasn't too afraid initially because I thought the trail was going away from where they were. I then realized that they were closer to the trail than I wanted them to be. The thought of leaving the trail was not pleasant because cutting through the bushes would have soaked my legs and feet. I yelled again and it was clear that the closer beast had no plans on moving much. He pointed his head toward me as I got within about 10 yards. I knew I was pushing it at this point. I stayed on the trail, passed him while looking back to see if his attitude changed. Eventually the beasts were behind me and I continued running.
I feel I should point out that theres a fine line between pushing yourself in bad conditions and doing something completely void of all sense. I think it is something that must be decided by each individual. Know your limits by testing them in small increments and not large bounds.
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