This year has been a pretty lonely year in comparison with others. In the last year: I got dumped, I went to run my first half marathon race my second time alone, I did my second marathon alone, I camped alone two of the three times I've been camping this year, and I've generally felt very alone. It's not all bad, and honestly a skill I think I need to work on. I'm extroverted (for the most part with some introversion phases here and there) and extended periods alone put me in a weird place. I get really quite and blah feeling. I figured this out for the first time in my life when living with Alex, he went to go study in Geneva for the summer and I thought "YEAH! Apartment all to myself! This is going to ROCK!" and about 3 days in, I thought "Okay this fucking sucks, I'm lonely." So every time I'm forced into a situation where I will be pretty alone, I try to make it the best it can be. But it still always sucks.
I planned a trip I thought would be manageable and fun for people: let's go taste some new whiskey from my favorite distillery in Lyons! Get out of town, alcohol. And for the few that like to be a bit active like me, we can go up early and hike a bit in one of the best parks in the country! Everyone was on board, "sounds great!", "It's in the calendar!", "Yum, whiskey!" And for those "planners" in my life, I asked if they would go 5 weeks in advance. For the spontaneous ones, I sent out e-vites to everyone a week in advance. And the final verdict? Either no text or response, two maybes that legitimately turned into "no" (one was sick and the other is an avid golfer and had a tournament that day), one couldn't make it because of no car, one couldn't get a baby-sitter, and the boyfriend took 2 weeks off work only to work the pre-season football game on his pedicab so he could make rent.
Alone I went.
Day 1 - Sat, Aug 29
I didn't realize my camping spot was an additional HOUR past Lyons and decided I probably wouldn't make it back down to drink whiskey, but decided I still wanted a little heart-rate accelerated activity before bed. Off I went, wasting time trying to find trailheads, going back to the car thinking I had to drive there, looking at the map and figuring out I only had to cross the main street to get to Bierstadt Lake Trailhead. Almost 2 miles one way, thought it would be perfect since I wasn't even ready to go after setting up camp until 4:30pm.
The trail was a little boring but still some nice views, and it was pretty once I hit the lake.
The real loneliness hit when I decided to play some music and get my stove up and cook some dehydrated Chicken Gumbo and one of the girls out of a group of 3 or 4 next to me and asked if I wanted to come eat with them. I politely declined but thought I might hit them up for S'mores later to be friendly. Before she even walked away, the water-works started and it reminded me of this scene in I.T. Crowd:
So I ate my food, it was actually pretty awesome and the only thing I ate that day besides a small amount of eggs and bacon early in the morning, so I was happy. I knew I only had maybe an hour or so of firewood, so I was deciding when to start it when I realized that when it goes out is when I could make my excuse for S'mores and to share someone else's fire for a bit. However, my fire lasted an hour and a half or so and then it was 8:45, dark as shit, and I decided just to go into my tent. I thought about blogging or studying for SalesForce, or reading my kindle. But I was tired and thought I'd just lay there instead. I think I fell asleep pretty quickly, however, and next thing I know it's 10:30. The rest of the night I didn't sleep so soundly, but I didn't get up until 6:30, so I still got 10 hours of restless sleep, which is way more than I usually get.
Day 2 - Sunday, my birthday day!
Incredibly fun trail, easy climbs, a lot of flat, tiny rolling hills kept me running most of the trail. Only a few sections were steep enough that I had to power hike, but I tried my best to keep the HR below 150.
I don't feel as confident running as I used to. I make way more stupid mistakes in my footing (I twisted each of my ankles more than once today). Going slow blows, it feels HARDER. And I still cramp up, so my diaphragm is not being helped by going slower. Most of the way down I stopped listening to my HR rate and just zipped on down at a pace I'm normally comfortable with. Still slower than usual because I took so much time off, but it felt easier and I let gravity do more of the work. My HR was between 160 and 168 most of the time (when I checked my watch), but for 3 beautiful miles, I did not care.
I bought her breakfast without her knowing and wished her a good day. She told me good luck and that she believes London will happen for me (I'm trying to move there within the next few months to a year).