6AM Monday morning finds me ushering Rocco out the door for a quick round of fetch. He doesn't mind the rush, as he just assume play fetch all day. I understand. None the less we wrap up our game and I grab my running attire. Two Lara bars. And a left over pancake from yesterday's pancake breakfast with some friends. Out the door. I don't really feel like running. My intention was to run a marathon distance, but I feel like running around the block instead. Reluctantly I point my body towards the Eastern end of South Mountain.
Just before the Central entrance I pick up the Max Delta Loop. This portion runs along the main entrance road (slightly above it rather) and eventually hits the Alta Trail. This was my intended destination, but fate would lead other ways. A few miles down the trail I turned down the Mahatauk Trail. Not sure why I thought this was the trail I was headed for but none the less I headed up. After reaching the saddle I realized I was on the incorrect trail. I was preparing to turn around when I noticed another option. Straight up. 'Yeah this looks good' I thought. Changed the tunes and began the grind. When I reached the Ridgeline I struggled to enjoy it while fighting back nausea. I took a few moments, collected myself and enjoyed the nearly 360 degree fews. The faint trail continued along the ridge and eventually intercepted the Alta Trail. Success!
Once on the Alta it felt like a highway. On the way down to National Trail I ran past a trail crew and thanked them for their work. The remainder of the Alta Trail went by quickly and met the National Trail at it's head (or tail). A few minutes down I began to hit a low spot. I hadn't run that far, but the elevation gain had taken its toll. I reached back for the Lara Bar and choked it down (it is not that they taste bad, they were just warm and my mouth was dry). I new the energy for this would be needed for the climb up National Trail.
Although the grade was moderate I struggled to hold on to an acceptable pace. Once atop I was able to increase the pace, but really not by much. I had hit that point in my runs where I am contemplating a way out. I resisted the temptation as I ran past numerous trails that would shorten my route. I finally reach my junction with the Holbert Trail and knew I was in short distance of relief. At this point I am feeling the lack of long runs I have done. I was commuting to work regularly but that was split in half. Some in the morning and some at night. It is a different run when you are continually going for multiple hours. I hit the end of Holbert, past the parking lot and begin the 1.5 mile run home. This is the worst part of the run. Nothing to see, running on pavement, and I know a ice cold kale smoothie is just waiting for me. I grind the remainder of my run out and walk the 1/8 of mile home as a cool down. I didn't make it my marathon distance, but considering I was not mentally committed I felt accomplished.