You can run as far as you want on this trail but I almost always turn back at Slickrock, a cascading waterfall spilling over white rock into a gorge. I thought about going that far today but I knew it wasn't happening. My pace was sluggish and I kept tripping over rocks. Obviously I needed a rest day but at the same time, I hadn't run in a week. I had to run, I thought as I twisted my ankle, fortunately not severely.
Something just felt off, though I was quick to condemn it as laziness. My inner coach cracked the whip. So what if you backpacked 30 miles this week? That's not running! Pick up the pace!
Then as I was crossing Deadman Meadow, two miles from the trailhead, I caught my foot on a rock and did a full on face plant. It was the best place it could have happened, in the soft dirt instead of on a rocky section. I got up gingerly, uninjured, and slowly jogged to the trailhead.
What I had ignored was my body telling me that it was tired, a cumulative effect of the last four weeks of backpacking and interrupted sleep, both in the tent (Is that a bear?) at at home (The dog comes up the stairs. Pants. Runs back down the stairs. Runs back up the stairs. Pants. Runs...You get the picture). Tiredness/Overexercising=Face plants for me, because I am normally sure-footed.
It's a fine line and one I'm never sure about. Cut a run short because I'm wheezing up the Hill of Despair, or power through? Give up on a bike ride because my husband drives by (cringe. I did this) or stubbornly keep going? Take a nap in the hammock or go to the Gym of Awfulness? Oh and what about your vow to do yoga every day, Missy?
I envy people who have no such dilemmas. They seem to fall in two camps. The ones who pound it out, regardless. Oh, I ran fifty miles yesterday. Today, I'm going to ride my bike for 100 miles. Then, I might swim a few miles. I have typhoid fever, but that's no excuse! Or the others, the ones who say, I'm kind of tired today. I think I'll go for a walk.
There's no right or wrong here. To the freaks of nature, I say, run on! I'm trying to fit into the other camp.