What happens when one attempts an LSD run of 24 miles? Several things, actually. On the outside, the landscape offers a visual feast that increases in direct proportion to how adventurous one is feeling. You can run 24 miles around a track and see the same thing again and again, or you can choose to venture somewhere unknown and see this:
Also on the outside, the weather is liable to changing over the course of several hours, and in February, it’s very fickle. One moment there were gusts of 45kph, cloud cover gave way to bursts of sunrays, and from nowhere, hail (seriously?! what the hell, Weather God?)
On the inside, it was a rollercoaster ride. The Ninja Turtle is getting less scared of her LSD runs now (OK that is a blatant lie, she finds them stressful, but is learning to enjoy them, especially when she explores trails of such magnificent beauty). She still psychologically fears the 30km mark, known to some runners as the point where one hits The Wall. However, in slowing her pace dramatically, the Turtle has learnt that she does not need mid-run fuel. Zilch. Nada.
And today, miraculously, no Wall. Or rather, she ran right through it. By the 28th kilometre, her mind was beginning to ramble, and by the 31st kilometre, she had to use some tough love on herself. “Wanna cry? Go ahead, cry. Cry. What, no tears? You can’t be in that much pain after all.” Each step was a mechanical one-foot-in-front-of-the-other. She could only focus on her breath and the ground beneath her feet. All that sole-sucking mud not only clung to her shoes as additional weights to lug around, it was also slippery as hell. Her brain blocked out all sensations, and she stopped feeling the mud in her socks, the niggle in her hips, and the music on her playlist was as good as a static buzz.
Come the 35th kilometre, something clicked and shifted. The Ninja Turtle suddenly found her second wind, and picked up her pace just a slight bit. She ran the last 3.5km as if the last 35 did not happen. She stopped dragging her feet, straightened her pack, and was suddenly smiling and saying “bonjour” to everyone she passed once more. She made it home with the happy thought that she not only survived the long run, she thrived towards the end.
Why do long distance runners run long distances? Sometimes, it’s to find a side of ourselves we never knew existed.