After scaring my friends for life with the mental image of my t&a and making my first two hot-dogs of an embarrassing amount of processed food for the weekend, most of my group opted for bed as we were going out in the morning for the 1/2 marathon.
Sleeping in a tent alone was all kinds of creepy. The noises didn’t bother me too much, but the random flickers of headlamps kept waking me up. I did manage to stop thinking creatures were trying to sneak in though. Before I knew it, my alarm was going off and it was time to run 13.1. Well WALK 13.1.
The ladies and I gathered and off we went into the wilderness. Except it wasn’t wilderness. Most of us were trying to “win” last place, but I quickly became the “winner” in that category. Luckily for my pride it was last of our group, turns out 3-4 people finished overall after me. The first 6 miles were crushed limestone, like the local Towpath. I won’t lie, I struggled a lot mentally and physically the first half of the race. My friends were just far enough ahead of me I could tell they were laughing, but I wasn’t able to keep up or hear. I tried to tell them I wanted them to stay with me, but they told me I’d be fine on my own. Unfortunately the surface was just similar enough to pavement that it wasn’t doing my leg any favors during the third consecutive weekend of moving it 13.1 miles. My heart and body hurt, but I realized just as they couldn’t expect me to keep up, I couldn’t expect them to slow down just to keep me company.
The first mile was actual road then we turned off onto the limestone. Another few miles out before a turn around and then along the way back we entered the trail. With nearly 600 people entered into the event, it was probably a good move on the directors to adjust the course this way for force people to spread out. Along the way we crossed paths with several other distance runners as the different loops dipped in and out of each other. There were the 100 milers, 100K, 50K, marathon, half marathon and 5 miler runners. Also along the way we kept wondering why our miles felt so long, our pace only dropped about a minute per mile. Thankfully, the scenery was beautiful and the elevation was gentle. There was quite a bit of sand which was difficult to navigate and also caused a lot of blister related issues.
An interesting thing about 13.1 miles is you are able to see what your personal strengths and weakness are and you’re able to see other people have their own ups and downs too. I really thrive on the trails, this is one reason I miss trail running so badly, I was good at it and I was on my way to getting better. I was slightly reminded of this as different members of our group slipped in and out of the lead (myself included). We all power hiked/ran together (my leg prefers trail surfaces and I was able to stretch at an aid station picnic table) and I can say this is a very runnable course. Under different circumstances this would have been an A+ game day for me.
Nearing the end my body decided to try and shut down. Maybe not that dramatically, but it felt like it at the time. Over the duration of 4 hours and 15 minutes (yuck) we had maybe 3 aid stations despite the heat (I remembered to bring my own) and there were 0 bathrooms. You were told you could use the woods, but I didn’t see a good ducking in spot. By the end of it I was dehydrated, hungry, overheated and tired. I zombie-walked to the end. Picked up my medal and made my way to the bathroom.
From 11:45 when I finished to 12:00 I used the bathroom, ate 1/2 a bagel and changed my shoes/socks. Then at 12:00 I joined the crowd for a 4 mile hike into town for lunch. Yep, immediately after my 13.1 miles I added another 4. What was I thinking? Ha! This is one of the reasons my group opted to walk the 1/2.
For simplicity’s sake I’ll summaries the rest of the day and then share some pictures.
The “Hike to Hell” was fun, I was able to zone out and not fear a time cut off. While in town we took pictures and waited for lunch. It started to rain so I cut back early, and wanted to do the hula-hooping anyway. Due to the rain I don’t have hooping pictures. I grabbed some lunch, worked my abs, and then met up with friends for Yoga and then tie-dying shirts. Finally it was nap time before heading out for the second natural run and spending the rest of the night by the fire with good company.
Sunday I woke up in the back of my car (I was freezing and not prepared) and opted to skip the Sunday 5 miler. I wanted to do it because each time you did an event you were given a tiny button for your medal. If you did all 4 “extra” running events you were given a BIG button.
It gives me something to look forward to next year I suppose. Besides I did a lot for someone still making a comeback! 23 miles in 24 hours! Yikes. No wonder my feet were swollen until Wednesday. Haha. Sunday we all had some breakfast before heading home. It was a wonderful weekend and I can’t wait to head back next year!