Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Triple Lake Race Report...Finally

Oh yikes...on Saturday, it marks one month since my 40 miler. And I sit here today to write my blog. I wish I still had the post race euphoria. That would make writing this blog much easier. But, let's see how much I remember.

Oh, my aching feet. Oh ouch. Never before have they hurt so badly. They still hurt sometimes. That is really what I remember about the race. My feet. Since the race, I have come up with a few things I could have done to help my feet from hurting so badly, but that didn't help in the week following the race. My feet just hurt (by the way, I think running barefoot in the sand would have helped as would have doing balance work on the bosu).

The race was the first trail race I have done since my very first half marathon--18 years ago. I did that race just before my 22nd birthday and I was doing this race to celebrate my 40th year. So, 18 years had passed since I had raced on a trail. And, about 15 years since I had even run on a trail. What was I thinking? The first part of the race I was worried about my quads and calves. The rest of the race, I just prayed about my feet. There were more roots, changes in terrain, logs, traversing of small streams over rocks, etc. than I could have planned for or even imagined.

The first 10 or so miles I kept thinking, "Trail races are great" and "This course is so pretty" and "What a refreshing change of pace." And, in the first 10 miles, I ran a good race, with an average pace per mile of 7:41. I was cruising. And, I had a pretty good half-marathon time of 1:42. This trail stuff isn't so bad.

My biggest problem at that point on the trail was vision. I kept hoping for the sun to rise more. Everytime the course got challenging or there was a weird fork in the road, the run blazed into my eyes. That really slowed me down--and frustrated me. And, up to this point, I only had water, no nutrition, except for the bagel I had at 6:00am (race time was 8am). Water stations were fewer than I remembered reading about, too. And, it had warmed nicely, too. Around thism point, I decided I should fuel with something, but nothing sounded good. I downed about 5 swedish fish and within a half mile, I had my first of 3 in the woods potty stops. I actually had four stops, but one was at a water station--and I picked the water station with public bathrooms (not a porta-john) but about 1/8 of a mile away and up a hill (at mile 18.5 or so). At this point, I had a special needs bag, but nothing sounded good. I took some water and was off. I realized at this point I was the first woman (it was a loop in the course) but didn't realize I was in the top 10 overall.

After this pit stop, I ran about 2-3 more miles and I fell. I fell hard. I had stumbled and almost fallen about 100 times to this point (and saw lots of blood on other people, too) but this time, I bit it. You know when you fall and you lay there for what feels like an eternity and assess the damage. Can I move? Yes. Am I profusely bleeding? No. Does it hurt? Yes. Enough to quit? No. Where? Knee, hip and hands. No puncture wounds. Okay. Get up and go. But how? My mo-jo was definitely hurt at this point.

Up until this point, My slowest mile was my "pit stop in the woods" mile. Except for that one, all of my miles had still be in the low nines. But, at that point, they fell. And now, I was more dehydrated, glucose/glycogen depleted, still un-hungry and then taking 2 more "in the woods" potty stops dejected.

I somehow managed a 3:42 marathon which I was pretty thrilled with. But, I still had 14 miles--oops...13.8 miles. I called Don (I carried my cell phone with me...and it was a good thing) to tell him I might be awhile I was walking. for 1/4 mile to try to get some mo-jo back. I was doing tons of positive self talk.

The big thing I was talking myself into was what I was going to eat at the second special needs bag drop which was supposed to be at mile 31. There was water at 29 and I took that and a few mike-n-ikes. But, I didn't think to look for my SN bag because it was supposed to be at mile 31. There was no water stop at 31, or 32 but finally one at 33. I asked the apathetic volunteer about the bags and she looked at me like I was from Mars. Just before I got there, a lady came sprinting past me. Wow...she was a stud. Nothing was breaking her stride! She had water with her (smart move) and probably drank gatorade and ate something --or at least gu--doing these 40 miles!

So, speaking of apathetic volunteers, that is how I would sum up most of them. I told Don at the end that most of them appeared as if they were high school students who had the choice between Saturday school and working at this race. I wish most would have made the other choice! They were not your typical race volunteers, that is for sure. But, at least they were there--and they saved me from making a wrong turn a few times so for those things, I am grateful. But, the water was warm. Blech...

I passed mile maker 38 and Don called me. I told him it would be awhile. I was spent. But, in the flash of a minute, I heard Britt's voice saying, "There's mommy." Oh, those were beautiful words! I ran around the lake and to the finish line. Whew...6:25:23. Not quite the goal I had internally set, but better than the goal I was vocalizing, under 7 hours.

I came in 2nd place female, 1st place masters, 6th place overall. Nothing to complain about, espcecially since the woman who won was from Greensboro and probably ran in those trails all the time!

We had a great weekend as a family, too. Again, most of me wasn't sore, but my feet hurt! It didn't help that we went to the Asheboro zoo on Sunday which is advertised as having over 5 miles of trails to walk on to explore the zoo. We spent over 4 hours there and had a great time with all four of my kids (you should see Don at a zoo--he's definitely a kid).

Just post race, I said it would be a long time before I did another trail run. But, I have already changed that perspective. It will be a long time before I do another ultra--and I said that before the race. Training, working, kids activities, early, early, early morning runs so as not to bother the family. That was too much. Once the kids are old enough to watch themselves, I consider another. Maybe a 50 miler for my 50th birthday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Color Blind

Last night, I read a blog of a friend of mine telling us about how we can learn a lot from kids. She explained how her niece was so excited about the great day she had when, to the rest of us, it was an ordinary day. She didn't go to Disneyland, or to a county fair, or even to Chuck E Cheese. She just went to school, visited with her aunt and played with her friend. Wouldn't it be great if we could all see our ordinary days as extraordinary?

After reading that, and without thinking much about the lessons I learn from my kids, I was talking with Mallory (age 2 3/4, as Britt would say) about the friends she might want to invite to our Halloween party. She told me about the friends she talks about often (Tofie, aka Sophie, Mary Gacet, aka Mary Grace, and Robby). But, today, she threw out a new one. She said, "and Wally." I was trying to remember the kids in her class and I said, "Is Wally black?" Her response, simple as can be, "No mom, he was yellow. And Mary Gacet was pink and Robby was geen (green), and Tofie was pink, too."

Still trying to figure out who Wally was, I said, "No, Mallory. What color is his skin?" And she said, "I no no (translated: "I don't know") he just wears yellow."

Why can't we all see the world like my 2-year-old? She has never even noticed the color of his skin. To her, he is just a boy who was wearing a yellow shirt yesterday. And, Sophie and Mary Grace were both wearing pink. And that was all that mattered.

What an amazing day for me. I learned more from a 4-(or-5) year-old (I think, Arleigh?)and a 2-year-old than all my years of education could ever do for me. Out of the mouths of babes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Selfish Fall

I guess subconsciously, I have decided to make this the fall of selfishness. This is something I haven't done in over seven years. I am being selfish. And, I don't feel very good about it.

It started last weekend. Last weekend was the Biggest Loser 5k. What an awesome experience that was. I got to see people who have never been motivated before get motivated to MOVE. It was like a dream come true. But, it was the first of many times this month that I left my family to do what I wanted to do. Don't get me wrong. I have done many things in the past seven years that I have wanted to do and I have left my family to do them. But, for some reason, this fall, I have an overwhelming number of things, back to back almost, and I feel badly about it.

Next weekend is the biggie and the one I feel most selfish about. Next weekend is the 40 mile race. I have hardly, if at all, interrupted my family's schedule while training for this race--and that is a feat most people can't say. I woke up very early for my runs, I often made pit stops at home to pick up a stroller full of kid or kids and we used this opportunity to try different churches that started a little later than our 8:45 service (so that meant, we went to one that started at 9:00 and one that started at 9:30). Training was basically status quo around here.

But, next weekend is the race. If I do well, I will finish in 6 1/2 hours, if not, I guess it will be closer to 9. That means, Don entertains the kids in a hotel room all day. There are things to do in Greensboro: I researched a great looking Children's Museum, I got a hotel that serves breakfast and has a pool, and the race itself is on 40 miles of parks, trails, and lakes. It should be fine--but it is still selfish. I am using family money to make a point, to prove that I can. Hmmm...

Then, two weeks later, I have a triple whammy. I have a Friday-Saturday conference--all day. At least the kids will be home and have possible playmates and all their toys, and computers, and wii, and nintendo dsi. Then, on Sunday morning, I am pacing some friends in a 1/2 marathon. I want the big surfboard medal. And, I want to see my friends do as well as I know they can. And, I want to have fun racing again. But, I still feel selfish.

And, two weeks after that, another race. This time, a 10k. That should be short and sweet. And, the family might even come cheer. But, it is still just for me and for these crazy habits I have. And, I just feel selfish.

Even when I take a minute to think about what Don will be doing in the same time period--like grading papers as I took the kids mini golfing last week or Halloween party shopping this week, or helping at a disability tournament all weekend on the 15th and 16th, or going out of town for a conference from Oct. 25-28 and then, going straight to a festival that his students are hosting, then spending all day on the 30th at another Halloween festival for his classes, and possibly going to USC for a football game with his dad in early November, I still can't help but feel I am not doing my mommy duties.

I plan on using the time from Nov 14-February 2 to dedicate myself to my family. Then, it will start all over--work conference, MB marathon, Wrightsville Beach marathon...hmmm. Maybe I am always selfish. Or, maybe my kids are getting old enough to not need me as much as they used to. And, maybe I am not selfish, maybe I am just sad. And, maybe I am running away from them growing up.

I have tried to make myself feel a little better about the 40 miler by dedicating each mile to a person--to pray for, to be thankful for, or to just think about. I am taking prayer requests if you have them. I've got a pretty good list and I would be willing to share miles if I have to. I am trying to make the most of the miles. And of the guilt.

I have to end with two more Brittisms: He started playing tennis and I missed his first lesson. I asked how his new teacher was and he said, "He's nice. But, he's old. Not so old that he needs a walking stick, but he's old."

Then, he came down and said he was having a nightmare. I asked what happened and he said, "Mallory had a string cheese and she wouldn't share with me." I said, "I will have to talk to her about that." He said, "Well, no mom, it was just a dream."

Have a great fall---and don't feel selfish about what you do!