I was very excited when I read about the BIZZ Johnson Trail Marathon. It was a very different sort of marathon. A trail race that was due to have 20 of the 26.2 miles “downhill”. It was certified as a Boston Qualifier. I was so excited about this race that I abandoned my fully paid registration for the Silicon Valley Marathon and adjusted my training for this marathon
There really wasn’t a race expo. Generally, I love the distraction that an expo offers me the day prior to the expo, so I was a bit disappointed to be out in Susanville, CA with nothing to do. There isn’t much to this town.
The pasta feed, however, had two dynamic speakers. I barely found a spot to sit at this crowded event and began to eat as the race director welcomed us and first speaker was introduced. He was a well-known ultra distance racer. He had slides and short video clips of various races that he’d done. He talked about the advantages to trail running. Afterwards, many of the listeners were intrigued to take on the BIZZ Johnson trail.
The next speaker at the pasta feed was Chris “Z”. He talked about his experience running street marathons. He also had videos and slides of, mostly himself, taken by his wife at various marathons. He talked about the stages of a marathon, the crowd support, and the finish line. He also had sound clips to go with the video clips of the finish at CIM and Boston – which he used to demonstrate the difference between a small and large marathon. Many of us were hyped up and eager to do the race in the morning, hoping to meet our Boston qualification goals. The BIZZ is a certified Boston qualifier after all.
But life can throw some curve balls your way at any time and this was one of them. After the pasta feed my brother called me to give an update on my grandma. Grandma was in the hospital after emergency cardiac bypass surgery; she wasn’t doing well. It seems that the family was to have a meeting the next day to discuss removing life support.
I started the race, but my head wasn’t in it & my heart was elsewhere too. I kept thinking of Grandma and imagined myself talking to her and telling her that it was okay to let go if she wanted to. I told her that if she wanted to live longer that she would need to show some signs of that quickly.
I was half-way through the race when I decided that the BIZZ could be a long training run for Silicon Valley; it was pretty certain that I wouldn’t be qualifying for Boston today. I began to walk every mile for 1 minute. As the race progressed however, the 1 minute became 2 and then more. My hips were hurting whether I walked or ran.
The BIZZ was everything that they said. It was a beautiful, unpaved course with 7 little wooden bridges to cross over and a tunnel too. I finished the race after 4:37:38 and was pleasantly surprised that there was a small crowd in the clearing of runners who cheered me in. They were enjoying the post race refreshments and didn’t even notice my tears. It was time to see if I could get an earlier flight back to San Francisco. Grandma was waiting.