Now…the story of the successful 25K

As you all have been with me over the past month, things have not been going as planned. I’ve dropped some races and suffered…literally SUFFERED through others. Yesterday…finally…went well!

I went out Friday night for Liz’s bday dinner. The plan was to eat at 6, which put me going to sleep very much on time. Unfortunately, due to other people’s schedules we were all delayed and lost our reservation. It was one of those Japanese everyone sit together and eat stir-fry type places. We sat down shortly after 8:30. The food was good, and I worked on drinking a lot of water. I still got to sleep at a good time, just not as early as I aimed. I impressed myself with my knoweldge of the Browns. Someone mentioned Jake wasn’t going to start, someone else asked if that meant they’d play Colt and I found myself saying “No, I think they have to play Seneca first, Colt’s the third option”. HOW do I know this crap? Ugg.

Sat I woke and wasn’t too tired, but I was feeling a tad sluggish. I gathered my gear and got out the door. I managed to remember lots of good things, like IPOD and garmin! I know, go me!

I arrived at the race with about 40 minutes to spare. Normally I wander around in my slippers, talking to people and putting numbers on my clothes. This race is set up a little differently. In order to get to your race packet and shirt, you have to go down this treacherous trail. OK maybe it isn’t so bad, but it’s a little intense. Going up and down this hill I was MORE than awake! I also found myself thinking “If you can’t even deal with the hill to get your race stuff….maybe you shouldn’t be racing”. I actually really like the shirt designed for women. It’s soft and a great color and not covered in logo’s or strange artwork. Here is a pic of Emme with it. You can’t tell from this picture, but the sleeves are just a fraction darker than the rest of the shirt, making it very smart. Long sleeve tech shirt FTW.

We all gathered at the bottom of the hill again, I saw Gale and Niall. Mary and Rajan were also there but left with the hour early start group. Gale of course knows a lot more people than I do, so I was sorta left out of the group. She made fun of me for wearing my fleece vest…in retrospect I can’t believe I even considered wearing it! I may go to Walmart and get a vest that’s more of wind breaker in order to have pockets at the 50K. They began the race, I clicked the Garmin and it was time to start the journey. We headed down the road and I wondered when we would reach the trail. I was already nervous about starting so far back….I should have started in the middle of the pack. The pace would have made me go faster and seeing others tackle some of the harder portions would have given me confidence. Instead I trailed near the end of the pack and feared I would get run over. Here is a snap shot from Nick at the start of the race…despite what it looks like I am not about to drop an f-bomb.

Not too far into it we all came to a standstill as we entered some stairs. I smiled to myself recalling the race report I read where a women did her first YUTC and ran into the same behavior. Up the steps and down the road and into the trail. I had a great attitude. Then I started feeling I was too far behind, and even the guy who hit an inhaler went sprinting off in front of me! Up down across rocks, through leaves, under and over trees…for 14.5 more miles? I came to a section where it looked like I was supposed to run down sand…I stopped. What was I thinking? A red headed woman eventually came up behind me.

Are you hurt?
What’s going on?
I can’t work myself up enough to get down there
(as she sprints away) just take fast baby steps

Finally I make it down and into the trail again. Oy. I bump into her again and learn she’s from DC and working off an injury. We talk running and injury for a few miles, and I’m SO glad to have her. I’m also looking around at how pretty everything is! She stops to take a photo and I keep moving on…it sucks to be alone again, but I know I should be used to it by now. I keep thinking every tree I come to is the “love log” but that none of them are even anything to write home about. Eventually, I come up to a tree, a log, unlike any other. I’m a small girl so everything is hard for me to tackle, but I really wasn’t sure how to get over this thing! I get a foot up against the side and I throw myself onto the top of it. I am so grossed out by dead, wet decaying trees. I am afraid of maggots or something biting me. So I straddle the thing and slide on down the other side.

After tackling the log I feel sorry for the 50Kers who have to do it again and after 15+ other miles! With my new confidence I jog along the trail, minding my own business and just thinking….then without warning (boom) down I went…I invented a dirt slide.


I scream like a little girl as I go down the hill. Dear god don’t let me get hurt! I kicked my heels into the ground and push my hands down next to me. I tear up my hands and luckily didn’t tear my tights. Once I realize I wasn’t hurt I think “At least I don’t have to run that part of the trail now”. My hands are filthy and sting a tad. I try to keep running, but apparently my calves didn’t get the “we’re OK memo” and keep pulsating. From mile 3 to 4 I find myself walking. Luckily the part of the course I’m at has little “lessons” posted along the bridge. I learn about a mysterious fountain…or was it a distillery? A circle stone and where Indians took shelter. Also, the iron rich soil of the area. My mood is lifted and suddenly I’m at the aid station!

I grab my little known love, Heed. One of the people tease me about having enough water on my back. Hey I’m using it as a learning tool and I’m not the only only one by FAR wearing one so WTF? I learn I’m about to do a 4 mile loop, so I go off on my adventure. I make plans to use the bathroom and eat some more food when I finish my loop. I run into a few other people, one of which is Tom the director from OC. I try to stay in good spirits, but about 2 miles into the loop I don’t feel well. I start to think negative thoughts, mean and negative thoughts. I start to hate myself and everyone I can think of. My biggest complaint is that Mr. B didn’t wish my luck on my race. I try to remember he’s a good person and I’ll have a message when I get to the car…he’s never forgotten me before. I can’t seem to get off different thoughts though, and even when I can look out over the lake, and see how far I’ve come, I don’t feel accomplished. I feel scared I have to go another 8ish miles! So I stop and make myself take a breather. I eat a banana and drink more water. I put on my music and head out for the last mile of this loop. I make it to the aid station again and I go to the bathroom. I tear my tights and I wash my hands. I wash my face and try to pull it together. I tell myself I’m still on time to make 4 hours if I really move it. I know one reason I hurt is from pushing it.

I walk over to the aid station again…knowing I’m still dehydrated. I drink more Heed, eat pretzels and no-bake cookies. I’m about to go do the same loop so I know what to expect. I ditch some of my extra weight and start off for loop #2. I try to run a lil but my legs hurt. I play my lessons on IPOD and try to learn some stuff for COMPS. Again hindsight says I should have played some upbeat music and tried to keep my legs moving. I walked the whole second loop. I made it through, however my muscles were cramping and it was hard to start running again. After getting to the aid station again, I grabbed more of the same and happily picked up my stuff to go on into the last section. I’d made it a little over 12.5 miles and I KNEW I could finish.

Entering the last section I tried to run. I kept asking myself “What are you waiting for? An engraved personalized invitation?” But my legs didn’t want to move. Going up and down rocks was dangerous. My vision was blurry and my legs were totally unsupportive. I slipped on too many rocks, and tripped and nearly fell and trillion times. At one point I’m running across a parking lot, and realize, I’m barely running. I’m like baby stepping. Oh well. I see my 5 hour goal come and go. I’m deeply saddened by this but remind myself finishing is the most important thing. One thing I loved about the last section, was crossing parts of the park I knew from the Mill Creek half each spring. Seeing a new part of the park made me feel like I’ve come so far in the past few months.

My Garmin goes off for 15 miles and I’m in the home stretch! I keep pushing and pushing watching it creep closer and closer to 15.5…but then I don’t see the finish line. Some frat-looking boys are high five-ing everyone that’s going by (at this point the 50Kers are passing me up on their second loop to finish) I reach them…and they all look away except for one who puts out his hand, but doesn’t look at me. Thanks guys…really am I THAT unfortunate to look at?

At long last I see the finish tape…and run as hard and as fast as I can. I hurt and I just want to collapse. I make it into the shoot. Almost 15.8 miles! WHAT. Under 5:30 though so at least I didn’t totally ruin it. I’m handed my sticker and I take the time to realize I’m done…and going to be OK. Mary from OC is there and we talk a moment. I walk into the cabin and try to eat some food. Slowly I make it up the giant hill to my car. Gale car pooled so she’s long gone and I hate how alone I am. I hate how abandoned I feel, but part of it is tired and hunger. I remind myself once I get to my car I’ll have messages from both Gale and Mr B and I’ll feel happy again.

I get to my car, sit down and turn on my phone. I look down and to my surprise I see….

No messages.

OK that’s a lie. I have a voice-mail from my Mom telling me she’s going hiking with my sister and the dogs.

No message from B. No message from Gale.

I call Gale and talk a moment. So it’s all good. I just missed her (or so it seems). I take a pic of me and my sticker…here it is!

I post it to FB. And I send it to B. Just so we’re clear…he never wrote back. Once home I climb into bed and sleep for a few hours. I spend the rest of the night hanging out in my house in a robe/PJs and just watching TV. I thought my computer had a virus so that was a nice several hours spent cleaning it….only to find it was an issue igoogle was having so no wonder nothing was being found in my scans!

Here is the elevation chart for the adventure. I was very proud of myself. It felt good to finish and now I know what to do to whip my butt into shape before next month. I have a very busy time coming up! COMPs, 50K, kick ass Halloween party and OCA. Mi o mi!

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