There’s nothing like a Long Slow Distance run to make you feel like a hallucinating drug fiend.
Friday’s 11-miler was just barely long enough to fit the category, but given that it represents about a 50 percent boost over what we’d been doing up til last week, it felt plenty long (and slow) to us. And then there was that dramatic mood swing along a specific section of the trail from lap 1 to lap 2 in which we began to question our perception of reality.
The first time through the “reclaimed swamp,” my sister and I were exulting in how we were conquering our old nemesis, annexing it into sections such as the “Haunted Forest.” A pair of twisted fallen trees that had collapsed onto each other to form a natural arch would mark the entrance, we declared.
“It’s weird how this is becoming our favorite part of the trail,” we told each other. “It goes so much faster now that we’re chunking it up like this!”
By the time we came back through, however, we hardly recognized the terrain. This 11-miler was MUCH tougher than the previous week’s. Our muscles were getting stiff. Landmarks weren’t showing up where expected, and then would appear seemingly at random. That haunted forest we’d previously “conquered?” It was taking forever to get there, enough so we began to think maybe we’d missed it entirely. My brain was like a cell phone fruitlessly searching for a signal, exhausting its energy supply in the process.
“It’s weird how your mind can play tricks on you,” Traci noted, stating the obvious.
Slowing to a walk through the mud patch – this time we knew it really wasn’t much farther now – we decided to just keep walking until we got to the lake, then jog the short home stretch to the parking lot.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was in the books. Ultimately, that’s the most important thing, especially since it’ s now looking like my sister is actually serious about doing the Huff 50K with me in December.