IT'S A NEW DAWN, IT'S A NEW DAY
Who knows, maybe I tried to sabotage myself in some way to make it as bad as it could be. Truth be told, I was really nervous and even offered to do the relay with Clark so I wouldn't have to run the whole thing. And damn Josh told me I didn't have to run it. I don't know, maybe he was nervous about me running it too.
Whatever. I'd signed up for it and I was going to do it.
But I really, really did not want a DNF. :( I felt like if I had one more DNF, especially now with all the crappy races I've had, that it would be the straw that broke the Coyote's back and I'd be done with racing. For good.
I love racing. I really do. I love the atmosphere and the excitement and going to new places and meeting new people. It's fun. Until my race goes to hell and then I'm frustrated and tired and trying to cover it all up because there's no whining in running.
So my race was on.
I woke up at 5 on Monday and ate breakfast and got ready for the race. And must have gone to the restroom 6 times before I left for Pinson Mounds, where the race would be held. That's how nervous I was. I packed up all my stuff and threw it in the car and checked out and headed down to the race. It was about a 30 min drive there and luckily wasn't too hard to find. We waited for the park ranger to open the gates and then drove in to the picnic area that Josh had rented for us.
I helped set stuff up and hand out bibs and shirts again while I finished getting ready for my race. It helped to stay busy and catch up with friends to keep me from dwelling too much. We got together for our pre-race pic:
And then we were off!
DRAGONFLY OUT IN THE SUN
Pinson Mounds is a state archaeological park and the inner Indiana Jones in me loved the idea of running there. We would be running on one of the paved trails in the park and about half the course was shaded. We would be running 9 loops of the course. This is what the course was like:
The first 4 loops, I did pretty well. I ran most of it and tried to take as little time as possible during my stops at the aid station. It was pretty and not too, too hot but very humid. I thought I might actually have a decent time out there. As I came in for each loop, I filled my water bottle and had either a slice or two of frozen orange (totally like having an orange popsicle and my new favorite race food) or some potato with salt. I was also taking an Scap every 3 miles starting with mile 7 (I'd had one before the race).
I thought I was in good shape until I headed out for loop 5 when my stomach went majorly south and I had to walk for a while to let it settle. I still ran some though but I knew I was in trouble when I started yawning and feeling like my ears needed to pop. That's exactly what started happening at the 50K last September. When I got to the restroom that was on the course, I decided to wet my hat to cool off and really knew I was in trouble when I leaned over to drink too and almost fell over. No more running. :( But the cooling off I did there helped. I was debating with myself the mile back to the aid station whether or not I should stop or keep going. I really didn't want to stop but I wanted to be smart.
When I was close, I met Clark out on the course taking pics with my camera. I stopped to tell him about one of the setting for continuous shooting and we posed a shot so it would look like I was running and not walking.
He didn't say I looked like hell so I took that as a good sign and by the time I got back to the aid station and filled up my bottle and had more potato and salt I felt better and decided to go out for at least one more loop so I could take my phone out and take pics. It really was very pretty. It was so green and there were dragonflies and butterflies flitting about. If it had been about 30 degrees cooler, it would have been the perfect day!
And this is the shady part:
My favorite part. :) One other thing that was fun was that some little running fairy (RIF #159 Diane) had left notes for us on the course. This was my note:
This note and the others made me smile big time! :) I also got a lot of encouragement from the other runners on the course which made me smile too. And a lot of them were checking on me. I wondered if Josh had said something or if they remembered last September too since Josh had posted about it on our Facebook group page. Or maybe I was just paranoid and they were just being nice. ;) Anyway, it was nice. :)
Josh came by on this loop and asked me how I was doing and I said fine. He asked me if I was lying and I didn't respond. Because of course, I was but there was no way in hell I was going to admit it to him. Besides the roaring in my ears was gone and so was the dizziness. As long as I kept walking, I would be fine but I was still contemplating quitting.
And then a wonderful thing happened...
BUTTERFLIES ALL HAVIN' FUN
One of the other runner's caught up to me on this loop and we ended up doing the rest of the laps together. Her name was Carol and I swear to god we must have been separated at birth! What I was picturing to be a long, lonely drudge suddenly turned into a party.
We talked about anything and everything out there and found out that we are both directionally challenged and can't sing well enough to save our lives. Oh, and we were both kicked out of school choir for that very thing (traumatized for life because of that!). And the thing that sealed our friendship for me was that she was shocked (or at least did a great job of pretending she was) that I was 45. Love that girl! You really get to know a person when you spend 3 1/2 hours with them.
I found that as we finished each loop, I didn't even think about stopping and headed back out with her. If not for Carol, I probably would have quit. But instead, the miles flew by (relatively speaking) and I did finish my 13th marathon. :) And got a big, ole medal for it:
Pretty fierce, huh?
Sadly, I took so long completing this marathon that I didn't really get a chance to relax and enjoy it after because I had a plane to catch...and it would be close! I missed out on the post race burgers and shakes too. :(
SLEEP IN PEACE WHEN DAY IS DONE
But I was lucky that I made it to the airport on time and everything went smoothly. If there had been any traffic or delay at the rental car agency or a line at security, I would have missed my flight. But the running gods must have been smiling down on me. I made it home a little after 11:30 that night and boy was I tired. But it was worth it! I slept like a baby that night.
With all the racing thru airports and uploading pics for the race to the Jackal Marathons page on Facebook, I didn't really process the day. In fact, I still haven't. The day kind of seems dreamy to me. It was very pretty and I had fun seeing the other RIFers and making new friends. But I have mixed feelings about the race itself. Or I should say, my race. Because Josh did an excellent job of putting the race together and making sure we all had what we needed. I just wish I'd been able to run more. I wish I could be a beast in the heat like my RIF peeps were and that I didn't have to hold back. I know I'm not supposed to compare myself to others but it's not fair! Why can't my body do what I want? Sigh.
Still, there was a lot of good that came out of the day. I got to see a bunch of RIFers including 2 of my favorites: the great RIF #4 Marj and the awesome RIF #79 Dallas:
I got some great, fun pics from the day thanks to Clark and Josh who took pics with my camera while I was running. Including this one of Clark which I saw while I was on the plane and burst out laughing.
The plane was pretty empty so everyone heard me and turned to look! Oops!
I figured out that I really did learn the signs of my body going south in the heat so I can back off when I need to.
And I'm going to start freezing oranges for a fun, cool, healthy snack!
Really, I have to be happy that I did get my medal for lucky marathon #13 because it was the icing on the cake. The real purpose of this trip was to help out on Saturday and Sunday and that was a success and would have been enough. Another cool medal to add to my collection is a bonus. :)
I feel lucky and blessed to be able to have had an adventure like this. And even though I've been struggling a lot with my running lately, it's adventures like this that remind me why I love it.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. The headings in this post are from Nina Simone's Feeling Good. The lyrics just seemed to fit the weekend, especially the Asphalt Jackal. Have a listen if you've never heard the incredible Nina. Or even if you have.