Have you ever had an experience that could be incredibly good or incredibly bad. It just depended on the perspective?
I had this exact thing happen yesterday. My dad, somehow, convinced me to run a 1/2 marathon trail run only three weeks after my last race. I've never put my races that close or run on a trail before. But crazy me agreed. Especially since my dad was running the 50k.
It was located at Fall Creek Falls State Park so we decided to go up for the weekend and camp. My parents came up, but stayed at the inn.
Despite Jon getting food poisoning, us forgetting quite a few major things, and a skunk scare we had a good weekend. But all weekend I kept dreading this race. I've never felt this way before a race and could only attribute it to the forecast. It was supposed to be low 40s and raining the entire day.
We arrived at the packet pick up to find a leaking pavilion, mass disorganization, and tons of family. Three of my cousins were running the race along with my dad and I. So more family arrived to watch and cheer. My brother came up with his daughter and decided that since it was raining and he couldn't rock climb, he'd join me for moral support on the race. I was so excited!
I'd been told that great portions of the race I would be alone since the race was in a circle and the entrance numbers were limited. My brother was able to get in because so many people had bailed when they saw the weather. So I was excited to have someone with me. At least if I got lost on some trail miles out in the wilderness, I'd be with my brother. =)
It was freezing! I absolutely HATE being cold or wet! And I was both. Trash bags were being passed around since it was so wet. It somehow helped hold the heat in, so I ignored the fashion statement and wore one.
Because of the complete and utter lack of organization, we started late and I missed the fact that the start was gun time and the finish was chipped. So I stood on the road after the gun went off for at least 1/2 a minute messing with my watch. I finally gave up and started running.
My brother and I at the start.
Crazy guy was wearing regular shoes, khaki pants, and a fleece pull over.
Not exactly running gear.
The trail was a mud bath. I slipped and almost fell too many times to even count. I kept telling my brother that I felt fine, but I couldn't seem to run faster because I felt so heavy. The air was thick, the mud on the bottom of my shoes was thick, the atmosphere and light levels were thick and dark.
But it was amazing too. It was so nice to have my brother pulling me along. He encouraged, scolded, and pushed me. He was a huge support that totally made the race bearable.
There was only one major aid station at mile 9. The other two were at the beginning and end of the race and didn't really have anything other than rusty water, if you were lucky. I've never eaten or even drank much during races. But the race last October showed me that I needed to drink more during a race when I was putting my body through that much stress. Then the last race I tried eating some gel. It really boosted my energy for a little bit. So this race I ate quite a bit at the only aid station and took some candy with me. It really seemed to help.
My brother is one of the most competitive people I know (aside from my dad). So despite the fact that my brother's last running was done with me over 9 months ago, despite the fact that he needs knee surgery and was limping really bad, he took off when we hit that last mile of pavement. He left me in the dust and beat me by 3 minutes. Crazy guy!
I might have been able to keep up with him, but I didn't want to kill myself. I had to drive down to Chattanooga for work after the race (more on that later) and had a 4 hour meeting this morning. So I just kept plodding along until I finished.
I was hoping to finish around 3 hours. So if you figure in that I didn't start immediately after the gun start, I finished a hair under 3 hours. Not bad considering the amount of difficulty and walking we were forced to do to keep from sliding on our bums.
Other than a tiny bit of soreness, I feel great today. I'm totally back to normal with nothing wrong. I was tired, but good yesterday too. And the crazy thing - I didn't get a single blister. I start getting blisters at about mile 2-3 even in training. But this time not a single one popped up. And I had wet feet the entire time. Something to think about!
My 61 year old dad ran the 50k with my cousin. They both ran together until almost the end, where Chad pulled the same stunt as my brother. =)
Can you imagine?! My dad has run over 30 marathons in his life, is considered a senior citizen and the dude kicks butt. My dad inspires me!!!