Nothing will teach you adaptability faster than training to run a race. Have an easy run today? Scratch that, it’s 100+ degree weather. Ready to crush a long run? Well, you better believe your stomach isn’t, and unfortunately, it’s coming with you. After a couple years off from racing ultramarathons or any kind of regimented training plan, my first week of training smacked me in the face. But what else should I have expected?

It's been two years since I toed the line for an ultra, so I decided to pick the hottest summer in the history of ever to train for Cactus Rose 50 miler in October.

My first week has been a saga of sweat and sun, alternating between furious joy at touching consistency again and exhausted tears. When I’m training clients, I tell them I’ll start them off easier than they think they need to because I don’t want them to get injured or burn out. Unfortunately, this is something I have a hard time applying to myself, and I’ve spent most of these first runs going out too fast and regretting it about a mile in. As the weeks hammer some serious miles into my legs, this is something I’ll have to work on or I won’t make it out of this training block without some kind of injury (or I’ll just completely have lost my mind).

This week’s long run took me down a sun-exposed trail much later in the morning than I meant to start. Forgetting to bring my usual bottle of electrolyte drink, my stomach was unhappy with me pretty quickly. My stomach is the quickest thing to count me out of a race or a run, so I wasn’t too happy that I had 90% of the run left to go, despite the fact that it was a gorgeous day out on the trails with my boyfriend. By the time we were 3 miles in, our heart rates were telling us we needed to cool down or die, so we made a stop under some trees near a pond and revived ourselves by watching turtles float by. There’s truly nothing better than being stinky, soaked with sweat and perfectly contented to be exactly where you are in nature. On the way back, we threw our packs off and jumped in a creek, soaking ourselves in miraculously cool water till we shivered.

On my run data, you’ll see almost 50 minutes of stoppage time from sitting at the pond and floating in the creek. Is that the most effective training strategy? Probably not. Was that my body’s way of telling me to adapt to the circumstances, slow down and enjoy the morning? Absolutely. I’m off to run my last run of my first week, slowly and with eyes wide open in gratitude for everywhere my feet take me.