I was tricked. I was tricked with simple words and a simple challenge. I knew I had been tricked, because I sat on the cold stone steps and my chest heaved and my eyes teared a little, and it was all much harder work than I had intended.
Run from your front door. Return in 30 minutes. Don’t go over. Try not to go under.
With my ankle in the state it’s in, road running is usually my last choice. We compromised on the challenge a bit by leaving from the front door of the water tower at the top of our hill. That way we could both leave from a front door and return to a front door.
Here’s where I fucked it up.
The water tower is the highest point in the neighborhood. Any run from there has to go downhill, which means that planning an out and back requires climbing back to the finish. It was cold, so we ran fast at first just to warm up. So, let’s see, running downhill, faster than usual, means what?
Well, it means that you have to be real careful when you turn around to make sure you can be back by the time limit. Afterall, if you miss the cut off, you’re supposed to do it again, until you get it right.
Because I love the woods, we ran to the woods, but then I was afraid we wouldn’t have time to get back up the hill. We had agreed not run to the watch, so I’d set a simple countdown timer on my phone, and then tucked it away. Rather than check the time too much, we resolved to run it by feel.
What we felt was that we’d need to high-tail it back to beat the alarm.
Somewhere, three-quarters of the way back up the hill, I began wondering why breathing was so hard. At the same time, I was sure the alarm would go off any second and we would, technically, be in breach of the challenge. I pressed the pace.
And that led to us finishing in 25:33, most of the way to blown up, and both of us walking slowly around the base of the water tower to keep from throwing up. We had intended this to be a slow, easy run.
But we were tricked, and tricked ourselves, and anyway it was fun, fast run I’m sure to regret tomorrow.