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!