Two years ago, I ran the Thom B race, and resulted in my very first DNF–EVER. I was very disappointed, and my pride took a definite hit. Scott and I didn’t participate in any more trail races that year, nor the next.
So, last night, Scott suggested, “Hey–why don’t we try this trail race–at Treman?”
I started wondering, “Will I get lost?” “Will I DNF again?” Time to put on the “big girl panties” and give it another go.
When I woke up this morning, my stomach didn’t feel great, and I ended up not eating any breakfast. I would have to run on “previously stored fuel”.
We drove out to the park and saw race signage here and there, registered, and scoped out the start/ finish. Scott wondered if I would “cop out” and go over the bridge at the start or plunge through the fiord in the first few tenths. I thought I would take the bridge option and keep my feet dry, but at the last minute, I decided, “carpe diem” and took the shallow plunge. Squish, squish, squish.
As we headed into the coverage of the trees, I felt at home, but felt most of the field of runners passing me, as I am NOT very good at uphill passages. That’s ok–I know I can make up some time on the downhill, but I kept telling myself that my goals were to 1. Not get lost and 2. Finish. (‘Not getting injured’ was floating around my mind as a good goal too.)
Scott is able to run at a distinctly faster tempo (even on uphill), so I just kept working away at whatever pace I could muster. I’ve been running with music all summer, and here I was without–so I keep thinking of favorite songs here and there to lift my spirits as the sweatfest set in. I became very happy that I had decided to bring a small bottle on my water belt.
Early in the race, a woman was describing to her friend behind her each rock, twig, branch and root. I thought, “I can’t stay here. I gotta get out of here.” So I tried to pick it up a little to put some distance between us. I found myself yo-yo-ing with Maria Constanzo, a talented runner friend of mine. She always bests me on the uphill, and I enjoy the downhill. We came to a spot where the course was supposed to go straight, and there was a bridge to the left. Some folks around me were tempted to go on the bridge. I went ahead and shouted back, “I THINK we are supposed to go straight!” (I believe that the race Maria did yesterday went over that bridge.)
Continued with the up, up, up…lots of stairs going past the falls. People around me were stopping to take photos, taking it very casually. I just kept plugging away, looking forward to when I would “get to the top”, visit the water station and start The Descent.
Well, I never really got a good sense when I was at “The Top”, but I definitely recognized the water stop (hard to miss a fold out table with a person serving water and a big orange cooler). I asked, “How much father from here?” She replied, “You’re about halfway.” My heart sank, because I THOUGHT that the water stop was at mile 4, so I would only have 2-3 miles to finish. I ALSO thought that it was mostly downhill after the water stop.
How can it be that downhill even felt like uphill? Could this race be defeating physics, and it’s uphill ALL the way? No..it was just more gentle downhill than most trails I’ve been on. Or–maybe I’m just still trying to get in shape. Whatevs.
I started yo-yo-ing with Robert Kerns…I was right on his heels on the downhill, but he would pull away on the uphills. “Flat” portions we were comparable. So, eventually, he let me pass and let me lead for awhile. Eventually I came to “The Sharp Left” that Ian Golden warned me about that was near the finish.
Through the trees, I could see campsites. Ah ha! Civilization! And a finish line would be likely to be near! A few moments later, I saw the Red Newt signs, and the playground, so I knew we were REALLY near the finish! TIME TO SPRINT!
As I came into the finish, Joel Cisne was ringing a cowbell, and my dear supportive husband was cheering me on, “Green means go! (The finish line banner was green.) You’re doing great!”
I made it through the finish, and answered Gary McCheyne’s question, “How’d you like the race?” with, “I’m glad it’s fn over!” (I managed to not completely swear on the Lord’s Day.) I doubled back and met up with Scott. He had finished about ten full minutes ahead of me, in spite of two tumbles–one that left his knee impressively bloody.
I enjoyed a juice pack and a ripe, fresh peach. Nothing like its juicy sweetness dripping down your chin (much better than sweat)!
Looking over the results, I finished pretty much midpack in overall females and within my age group–the most populous women’s age group in this race.
So–first trail race in over two years. Did NOT get lost, finished, and I didn’t fall.
It was good to come back to an activity Scott and I both love. Maybe this is the first of more to come. 🙂