I’d be happy to sit in this chair or, better yet, in bed all day but I am afraid that it might make it worse. The soreness and fatigue is moving in for the kill, as I sit here trying write my race report.
I began preparing for this adventure last night with the baking of a fresh batch of M&J’s energy bars for race morning. I loaded my Camelbak with some 32 oz. of watered down Cytomax, my Epi-pen, and 2 GU packets. Then I went to bed. It was later than I had planned as DD’s flight was a little late coming in and the airport was a madhouse. I had another fitfull night’s sleep, waking a few times to check the clock or check on little YaYa (who broke his arm yesterday at school).
I was greeted to a cool morning, perfect for running. The turnout of runners was good but a much smaller crowd than you find for road races. The 25K (my event) was liked to the 5K of most races; another group of runners were already on the trail for the 50K and 50M event.
We all gathered back from the chalk line that marked the start. It seemed that no one wanted to be at the front of the pack. We began our run when the race clock was at exactly 60 minutes. A short downhill was quickly followed by a LONG and grueling uphill. I walked as I had planned and did not feel the least bit guilty for doing so. My heart pounded as I plodded. Some walkers passed me and others were passed by me. I was happy when the trail flattened out for a tiny bit before it began rolling up and down (mostly UP).
The downhill portions were equally as steep. It seemed a waste of all that uphill effort only to run downhill again. There was more up to follow. I kept reminding myself to relax on the descents and did my best to keep my wits about me. I did not want to be overwhelmed by the tendancy to feel out of control. Instead of my knees and hips absorbing the trauma from the trail, I used my imaginary brakes to slow me down. It worked.
Before long we were turning down onto the single-track part of the race. I remembered this part from having run the race in 2005. It is lovely. We ran in single file. Ms. Chatty-Cathy was right on my heals. Her non-stop talking was draining.
After a while, I just wanted to get away from her. I took advantage of the offers to pass and was soon running all by myself in the middle of nowhere.
What could be better than running through the wooded areas and the fields of wild flowers? It was a perfect way to start out my Mother’s Day weekend.
Garminia clicked off each mile (as she saw it), and I paid no attention to the time of each mile split. The information that I was most interested in was that a mile, or so, had passed. I was able to gauge the distance to the three aid stations along the course (the 1st was at mile 6.4).
I had already taken my 1st GU by the time I hit the aid station. I could feel my Camelbak lightening. I drank two small glasses of water and was on my way. There wasn’t any food at this aid station. I said that I was looking forward to “lunch” at mile 9.7.
I could see the runner ahead of me for a while. In no time, he was out of sight and I was alone again on the trial. I noted the chalk arrows at each intersection. Soon I could see the fire road approaching. There were a few cheery walkers who yelled down to me, “How are you doing?” I replied, “I am good IF there is an arrow by where you are standing.”
I was doing well. I was happy to be in the wide fire road as there were friendly people milling about. I passed a girl who was part of the 50K. I cheered her on with awe and enthusiasm. She was tired but she glowed in received my admiration.
Up ahead was the next aid station where I picked up some various snacks including pretzels, chips, a peice of peanut candy, and a Cliff Shot (for later). With my Camelbak refilled with water I was on my way. A few steps later, I was reminded of the areas that were rubbing and starting to chaff. I turned around and asked for some Vasoline.
I returned to the fire road with a glob of Vasoline in my hand and ran along trying to lube as I went. Fortunately, the only one in sight was ahead of me. He had no idea what was going on behind him. He had no idea that I was even behind him until I passed him (thanks to his music).
I passed other people along the way, but they were not part of the race. Other runners passed me as well who were not part of the race – lucky for me.
I didn’t see another racer until I was at about mile 13. There was a man stretching while looking at the park map. I waved as I approached and told him that we were about 13 miles into the race. He was glad to hear it. I was glad too as my stomach was starting to cramp up. I reached for the Cliff Shot and forced myself to swallow the thick glob of carbs. I didn’t like the taste or the consistency and imagined that my teeth would be black from the dark color of it. Lovely.
I ran up and down the hills and checked in with Garminia for the approximate distance run. I was thrilled to see the final aid station come into view. With 1.5 miles to go, I grabbed a handful of pretzels and continued up the next steep hill. I struggled, and walked until it flattened out.
The downhill sections were equally as traumatizing. I was too aware of the potential for injury as I tried to remain in control and stay relaxed. I passed another runner as I ran up the next hill. The trail went up and down bringing views of civilization into view. Soon, I was seeing more than just houses; I was seeing parked cars, people milling about, and the flagged finish shoot.
I picked up the pace a little. From behind me, a man’s voice yelled, “I’m gonna get you. Get going.” I turned up the heat and plowed into the shoot passing an innocent bystander right at the line.
The soreness and chaffed areas are here to remind me of an awesome race. I finished with a PR on this 25K course (which is actually 16 miles). 2:50:55!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mom’s. Have a great weekend!