Raining, running, focusing

Ok – my bad. I have a blog. it’s back on. Catching up!

Race Report, TARC Spring Classic Half Marathon  – April 26, 2014

Heading in, my longest run was 7 miles, and most of my training had been on roads. Friends had been super supportive, and while I wasn’t 100% prepared, I was going to get it done.

A few days before the start, we learned it would be 40 and raining the entire day. Basically, my most hated running weather.

The night before, I saw a friend, and her kids playing in their driveway on the way home. I stopped to join them. Hide and seek, tag, general craziness – FUN! As I was saying goodbye, my hip SCREAMED. My back wailed. I limped. Got home, and couldn’t sit/ stand/ lie without pain. Mr. to the rescue, went to get me some arnica, I holed up with advil, ice, heat, stretching.

Race morning: the back/hip is sore, but about 70% better than the night before. Me and the Mr. drive down 2 hours to Weston, see all the monsters, set up a tent, wait in the bathroom lines, see so many familiar faces, and I milled about. What to wear? A hat? It wasn’t raining yet. Maybe it would pass!

All the monsters were hanging out under the tent, I was contemplating changing my socks, and then the announcer guy said “we starting in about 30 seconds” or something like that. So, no sock change. Honey blossom chews in the back pocket of the capris, a 10 ounce water bottle in my hand, a long sleeve shirt, and my unrace-tested cascadias. We’re Off!

The half marathon is 2 10K loops, and a bit extra that you run at the beginning. There is also a full marathon, a 10K, and a 50K going on at the same time. A few hundred people on 6 miles of trails, doing loops. I like to count how many times specific people pass me, as they do longer distances. It’s great, because I can go at my race pace, and not be 100% alone in the wood the entire day – which is nice during a race.

Loop 1: It started raining almost immediately. I ran along, found my pace, every now and then had a chew, and a sip of water. I was alone for a lot of loop 1, after the initial bits. Life at the back of the pack is quiet, nice, and filled with all the things about trail running I love. The trees, the sounds of the woods, focusing on where my feet are going to go.  I felt strong, like I was moving along, and at a pace I could maintain for 13 miles. I also felt wet. Starting around mile 4.5 I felt cold. I decided I would change my shirt at the halfway point. I paid attention the terrain, so I would recognize it when it came around the 2nd time. I was definitely going to change my shirt. Refill my water, and change my shirt.

The middle: Got to the aid station, having finished loop one, and saw my mom, the Mr. and then my dad, his wife, and my sister. I smiled a bunch so they would know I wasn’t in pain. They took pictures, a wonderful volunteer filled my bottle. I missed the food table, dad indicated his displeasure if the fact I hadn’t stopped to chat with him, and express my happiness that he was there. And then I was off… with the same soaked shirt, and no hat, and no snack. DAMN.

The 2nd loop: I knew what was coming, I knew it was runnable, I knew I was entering into uncharted mileage.  Things were going swimmingly. Somewhere around mile 10, the chatty girls appeared. Now, I’m sometimes a woman who talks to friends while we run on trails, but this was a whole other level. This was interupting my trail zen, my concentration. All of a sudden, the things that were annoying that I had been pretending were fine WERE NOT FINE. The chatty girls were the proverbial straw.  I had 2 options: speed up, or slow down. First I slowed down. That was fine, until we got to one of the hard to pass water features. I accidentally caught back up. Then I sped up. It was great. I surged at mile 11. Look at me, little miss racer. The surge lasted until about mile 11.75, when the surge abruptly stopped. Oh well.

Chatty girls passed me, and I let them. I had about 1.5  miles left, according to my garmin (spoiler – IT WAS LYING),  and I settled in to Finish. “i can do anything for a mile”, “I’m on target to PR”… YAY running! I decided I would turn on the rest of the juice at 12.5, and leave it all on the trail.

Imagine my surprise when it said “12.4”, and I turned a corner, and there was the finish line.

I zoomed through, cursed my watch, sattelites and my accidental “autopause” feature, which didn’t un autopause after a bit of an actual pause while I waited for Chatty girls to get the h out of the way at the water/ river.

And that was it. Soaked, I changed, cheered on the teammates for a while, hugged my family, thanked them for standing outside (under cover!) while I ran through the rain.

Eventually my shivering wouldn’t stop, and me and the Mr. bid farewell. I wanted to stay, but I just couldn’t get warm.

Excellent performances by a whole lot of friends – including a win from Danielle, a damn amazing run by Ryan, the always inspirational Emma (with Gnarlin’), as well as Ian, Ann, George, Nathan, Scout, Squirrel, and Kate, being awesome and smart… It was a Monster FEST! I feel like I’m missing someone, but it’s been about 6 weeks since race day, so I’m hoping for forgiveness.

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