I had been looking forward to this race since I decided to sign up for it. After the practice run last weekend I was looking forward to it even more than I expected. Despite Gale’s warnings on how the 10K was quite a bit more technical than what I practiced. All week I’ve felt incredibly “off” I do not know a better way of putting it. After the 10 miler I just have not found my footing during the day. I try to drink tons of water, but I remain slightly dehydrated no matter what I do. Perhaps I’m just not drinking as I should? I know I’ m not eating well, but that’s a side effect of the braces and the simple fact 50% of my mouth is not working right now. However, I seriously still felt I was ready for the race.
I left work a little late. Even leaving late I still had a few moments to kill, so I went to the store and then home. Once home I was running late (haha imagine that!) so I hurried to get my uniform together and out the door I went. The race was very near my house so I am not sure why I thought I was late. Gale was asking where I was so I went to find her even before putting on my shoes. Talented me forgot my camera at home (grrr) and I needed pics for Team Marathon. Gale had a camera, but the batteries died before Ray could get a nice “finish” shot of me. This just wasn’t my year for this team!
Prior to the race I talked with Gale, Ray and Ron and ran into Niall. It cracked me up that he said he read my blog and was asking me about Sunday and also mentioned hearing Mallory talk about my 50K coming up. I once again felt like a local celebrity….gotta admit it was super cool. Starting the race Gale and I were near each other. We chatted for a minute and I was probably being way too loud of things no one wanted to know about my health and personal life. The first mile flew by rather easily and I was enjoying the course. It’s nice to be familiar with that is going on and coming up. Their first mile marker was at 1.3 according to Garmin. Then the course was mismarked and I ran past a confused Gale. I was about to chirp for mile 2 when we hit the water stop. I mentally made note how I felt and how I was not sweating through any clothing so I knew so far things were going better than Sunday. I hesitantly picked up a dixie cup and lifted it to my lips as I pseudo jogged in place. The water touched my lips and….nothing. It was cold and it was nice, and it was normal water stop fluid. Nothing to write home about. There was the faint taste of plastic from the cup and the only way this water could have been more ordinary is if it tasted like the inside of a garden hose. Nothing could have made me more happy in that moment then the waxy cold nothingness of the water.
I hurried up the incline of rocks and dirt into the next mile. Another mental note about my new shoes….don’t wear thin socks. Happily my toes were not crunched in the tow box and I was able to wiggle here and there. My feet did start going numb though…hmm was it my back? No it wasn’t tight and it wasn’t getting worse. What could it have been? I tried walking, didn’t help, I tried moving my ankles, didn’t help. Oddly only one thing helped. I stopped, leaned against a tree, lifted my leg and shook the whole thing, like I was trying to dislodge a humping dog. Magically everything instantly felt like blood flowing and was fine. Now I have no idea what was doing this. I don’t think it was the sleeves, I’ve worn those before…might have been the stretching? Or lack thereof. According to my friend Krystal…my personal nurse (he-he) I need more potasium and should eat a banana, also my legs probably swell in the heat and I’ve gained muscles thereby making the sleeves too tight and should try a size up for better circulation.
My miles were a mix of steady until numb and then shaking my leg. I enjoyed being out there at night, with the birds and the crickets. It’s good to be alone with myself and feed on my own passion and interests. Music is great for speed, but I was going for comfort. As I said at the start “I’m not racing tonight…I just happen to be running in a race”. Besides, if I can’t be alone with my thoughts, why should anyone else read them? I made marker 3 around 40 minutes and decided if I could finish in 80 total I’d be OK. Approaching mile 4 I entered onto a path, the same one I cut short a week before and went to my car. I tried to pick it up along this path, but my legs were talking back to me after the last hill. A woman took my pic coming up it…I hope it turns out AWESOME. A small boy offered me a cup of water and I drank it and thanked him and he smiled and clumsily ran off to his parents the way I’d expect a child no more than 3 to do. Right behind him was a girl, probably a sister. Also around 4. She offered me a second glass of water, and I took it, so as to not hurt her feelings. I jogged along the path and sipped water or dumped it on my salty skin. She giggled as she ran next to me, slightly ahead and said “Look at me! I’m faster than YOU!” And apparently she seemed to think this was some sort of amazing feat. We ran together, the whole time her glancing over her shoulder and cheering about how great it was to be a faster runner. I kept laughing with her, it was cute. She clapped for me at the end and wished me luck as I entered back into the woods.
Her happiness was contagious and I seemed to run a little faster after this encounter. Back down and around to winding paths and through various seas of rocks. I like climbing and jumping off rocks, I feel like an adventurer. Last night, I did not care for it. Every time I went up or down I would get UNBEARABLE charlie horses in my calves. OUCH. OUCH. EFFIN OUCH. I tried to stick to it though, striking the ground at weird angles to soften the blow. Can’t say I hated mile 4 to 5. It was a challenge, and I took them up on it. Not every run can be a walk in the park. Because then it’d be a walk in the park, not a 10K forest trail run…right? Shortly after 5 I saw some people racing back to wrap up the end. They asked if I was the last one…I probably was. (Note, I wasn’t!) Mile 5 was very dark and I was slightly worried I would miss a hazard. I noticed according to Garmin I hit mile 5 at my goal for the whole night. GRRR. I didn’t give up though, because I gave myself a 15 min cushion so I could still be happy. As I ran in the dark I must have chanted 100 times “the woods are lovely dark and deep” occasionally tossing in a “let’s go” or “pick it up, pick it up”. The ending was a nice winding track around the open field. The same small children offered me water, and I pushed it in over the grass. Slightly short of a true 10K and slightly more than my goal. However, I finished and in MUCH better shape than Sunday.
People who read my blog came up to me to ask if I was OK…it was flattering. I looked behind me and saw others coming up the end so I was happy to not be last. I know they said this was for the “experienced” trail runner. But hey I’m experienced! I’m just not very “good” or “fast”. No age awards so I didn’t stay too long….went home and showered and slept. Not before eating chicken and rice. Mom made it for the cats but I stole the leftovers.
Next race is Buckeye 1/2 marathon on Aug 29th.
Pics from the 10-miler. Yes, totally copyrighted. Shhh