Saturday, November 20, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I could barely drag myself out of bed the next morning. I almost forgot to make me a PB&J, but by 4:17 I was climbing in the bus when my phone rang. I tried to answer it as I realized I had just squeezed my frosting for my toaster pastry all over the place. Sigh...it was Pat. I told him I was running behind and I would call him once I was on the road. I jumped in Big Bird and fired up Penelope and keyed in the address. "Road not found." What? Come on Penelope, you're killing me. I tried again. Nope. So I put in Spencer, Indiana. She had it but when I flipped through the directions, US 46 was not in them. That was the road my printed directions said to turn off of. So I ran back in and tried Mapquest, no luck there either. Trying to get in a better frame of mind, I decided to wing it. I keyed Spencer, Indiana in and pulled out of the drive. I figured once I got close, I would just stop and ask. The comedy of errors was in full swing by now. Friday night for dinner, because it was fast and easy, we had fish sticks and fries. Let's just say number 2 came twice that morning, once before leaving the house and once in Spencer when I stopped for directions. There goes most of the Vaseline. Sigh...the clerk was all ready to draw me out a diagram of how to get to the Forest and explain it to me like a two year old. All she had to say was stay on the road your on, veer right, and watch for the sign. I finally got away from her and headed on down the road. I turn with another vehicle in front of me with 25 minutes to get to the race. We catch up with another car who was in no such hurry. It took everything I had to keep from laying on my horn and the guy in front of me was swerving like a Nascar driver at the beginning of the races. Apparently he was wanting to get to the race on time too. We finally pull in with a few minutes to spare, but the start is on up the road. So I park and just grab everything out of Big Bird and take off walking trying to catch up with another person who had his light on. It was pitch black and I didn't take the time to get my light out. Sigh...I walked up and they were getting ready to start so I threw my stuff on the ground and went and picked my packet up. I couldn't see anything. I hear him giving directions on where to go to get to the trail, but I was trying to find my headlamp, flashlight, anything that would get me some light. I hadn't even filled my bottles yet. Normally I do that the night before, but I was too tired and just wanted to go to bed. I finally find my light, get my number pinned on, my toboggan on, and head over to the RD and ask again which way to go. Sigh...take a left, then a right, and then watch for the white sign that will lead you to the trail. Okay, I can do this. I head off down the road, trying to stay in a good frame of mind. I remembered the last race I was at, several people came upon me that had arrived late, and they fared well. So being late is not a big deal. I looked at my watch, it was only 7:08. So 8 minutes couldn't make or break my race. It's pitch black, the stars are shining, and I'm giddy too be on my way. I hear dogs barking on my left. I hope they eat the other runners and their bellies are full by the time I get there. I come upon the left hand turn. Okay I'm good so far, no dogs, not lost. Wonder where I'm suppose to take a right at. He didn't really say. Am I looking for a sign or is the white sign on the right. Hey a stop sign, this must be my right hand turn. Now I'm looking for a white sign. There it is, good, not lost yet. I head back on what is called the 'Powerline Trail'. It is exactly what it is called- it follows the large powerlines up and down hills. At one point, I hear something rustling in the tall grass beside me and I start thinking about the RD and his mention of mountain lions in his pre-race email. Geez, now I'm scaring myself. Get a grip doofus! I think I see lights dotting ahead of me, but can't tell how far away I am from them with the hills. The frost makes the footing a little slick and I try to take a sip of water but my bottle has frozen shut. Owwww....briers. Not my new pants, I think. Then a think Ii hear a man named Laz laughing in the wind just as I free myself and catch up with 2 guys. I follow them until they head down hill, but it doesn't look right and after a couple of steps I turn to go back up and they decide the same thing. We make our way down another slope and I am feeling pretty good that I actually caught someone. I've seen orange markers, and I'm not lost. The only thing I can notice is my right heel is tingling every so often. I ignore it and catch up with another runner who offers to let me pass, but I'm good and fall in step with him. Him is Tom from Columbus, Ohio. We chatted about where we live, his son and where he goes to school, what got me running ultras, and it was nice. We talked about the chilly morning and he said his car temp read 21 degrees. Sigh...I told him I was attempting my first 50 miler and he told me the course was pretty tough. Sigh...one of these days I really need to look and learn about elevation charts. A threesome passed us and called out to Tom and I introduce myself, but I did not get their names. We finally made it off the Powerline loop and back to the starting line/AS to start the main loop (~13 miles). I took off my headlamp, debated about going to the bathroom (no), and then made another mistake, I changed hats. For some reason, I thought with the sun coming up it was going to warm right up for me. Wrong. Also, in my heart of hearts, I know I just wanted to wear it because I just got it at an adventure race I did. It was the cool white hat with the mesh top like you see many runners wear. It's something I would never buy myself- me being cheap and all. I hadn't got the chance to wear it yet though. Sigh...as soon as I took off down the trail, I realized I had made a mistake. I could feel my ears getting cold and the cool air going through the meshing on my hat. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I always keep my head covered in the winter to keep from getting sinus headaches and basically being a whiner because I always end up sick. My nose was already running and I was constantly sniffing to keep snot from running down my face. Which in turn made my nose start burning. When I'd reach an uphill and start walking I would cover my nose with my hands and try to warm my breath up and my nose. Not much luck. My head was just beginning to hurt, but not too bad yet. If I can just get around this loop and get my toboggan back on, it's all good. I notice my right heel is still feeling funky. I figured it must be the cold, having all my muscles tight. I just can't seem to get warmed up, nor get a good rhythm. I plow ahead beating myself up over changing hats, when a hear a voice behind me. I didn't catch his name, but I heard from Fort Wayne. So we chatted for a while and I offer to let him pass, but he says he's fine. We come upon two more runners, Jerry and Emily, and join them for a minute until a downhill and I go around them and keep plowing ahead. Jerry keeps his pace, but Emily hangs with us and we carry on. Turns out Emily is shooting for her first 50 miler after having a hip injury. Fort Wayne gentleman says we're doing good, keeping good pace as we enter the AS. I grab a few pretzels and they both get some caffeine. I always try to get in and out of the AS's fast, but I didn't want to be rude and head out without them. Still not entirely sure of etiquette at times, so I wait while they drink their cokes, even though I feel myself getting stiff again. We finally head out and Fort Wayne takes the lead. I stay up with them both for a little while, but my headache and foot has been getting worse and I start walking more. I watch as they keep going. I'm still not feeling to bad, not completely in the dumps yet, nor giving up on my first 50. I know that I'm closing in on somewhere about 15 miles. So I know I'm gonna be going through a lull. I usually do around 18-24 miles. It hits and eventually it passes and I get my second wind and the pity party passes. I eventually catch up again to Emily who is having a little bit of trouble with her hip and we leap frog back and forth with each other chatting when we pass. I eventually get it together a little bit, especially after I start seeing familiar landmarks and I know I am on my way back in from the first loop. I soon come out on the road after seeing Fort Wayne pass me heading back out onto his second loop. My plan is to potty, get my toboggan back on, grab a PB&J, and get out of there. I felt good getting in and out and I'm soon munching happily on my sandwich headed back out on my second lap. Emily and Jerry pass me coming
in from their first lap. I soon finish my sandwich and start to jog. Uh-oh. My foot is not cooperating. The whole outside of my foot is painful and now the arch is tightening up and rebelling with every step. I slow to a walk again. I'll wait until some flat to get warmed up and try again, I think. All the while, I'm trying to go back and see if I can remember if I twisted it at anytime, but nothing comes to mind. I felt like I was my usual graceless self out there this morning. I try to jog again and go for a little bit before I'm forced to walk. Okay, so I can walk alot of this loop and then see where I'm at. I start calculating in my head. If I can get done with this loop by 3:00, then I'm heading back out, otherwise, I'll have to call it a day. And 3:00 will be pushing it. Ever so often I will try to jog, but it's not more than 15-20 feet. The thought of walking for 13 miles is worse than not completing the 50 miler. Sigh...I soon began to watch the uphills. If I keep my foot fairly flat the pain lessens when I go uphill. So then I start favoring my right and using my left leg to push me uphills. Time is ticking away. I haven't seen any runners though, so I feel I must not be doing to bad. Then about 7.5 hours in, my phone rings and its my dad (His ring tone is "Trouble No More" by the Allman Brothers cause its always trouble when he calls). I answer it because I haven't talked to him in about 2 months. He sounds pretty good, so I chat for a little while until I come to a huge uphill and I can't waste my breath talking any longer. I promise to call him on the drive home. Yes, I always carry my phone with me, but mainly it is to take pics. I will say I did text my hubby and let him know by now that it looked as if I would be home sooner rather than later. Seeing as I how I had no time to spare at the beginning of the race, I had not even let him know I made the drive okay. Sigh...A couple of the 50 milers had already paced me. Talk about really putting the knife in now. It was 3:00. I was done for. I was walking into the last aid station and she asked if I was going to keep going. No, it's not my day. I chatted with her for a few extra minutes. She was really great, as all of the volunteers throughout the chilly day. Bless their souls for being out there. I couldn't do it. Brrrrr....she let me know I had 2.5 miles to the finish. I thanked her again and headed toward the finish line. I had already come to terms with this not being my first 50 miler, so now I was just trying to get done and head home to a warm bath. Then I came upon Ed. Ed lives in Louisville, KY, and I have been following his blog because I use to live near him. I knew that he had surgery and he was back to running again. So I was super happy to see him heading back out on his 3rd loop for his 50 miler. We chatted for a few minutes, but I didn't want to hold him up too long. I wished him well, and he was off. Not long after that, here comes Emily. She's looking good and seems to still be aiming for the 50 miler. I didn't think the RD would let her continue, but he may be lax. I didn't know. So I kept trudging ahead. I heard her say that it was just around the bend. Thankfully, she wasn't too far off. The trail soon opened up to the road and I was able to plod down the road trying to smile without grimacing. I crossed the finish line and I heard the RD explaining to Emily that he didn't think she could make it out and he was including me in the conversation too. I just looked at him and said, "I'm good with that. I've already settled on good instead of being great today." I went and sat in my chair and chatted with a fellow that had run the 1/2 marathon. He asked how it went. You know it didn't go how I planned, I learned that I still don't tolerate cold weather, my foot is a little funky, but the course was great, the day was beautiful, people were great, I got a medal. and t-shirt. Sigh...life is good. I DNF'd my first 50 miler, but I completed my first 50K. I trudged back to the bus and as soon as the heat was going I cracked open a cold Yoo-Hoo and called my husband and then
Although I made several mistakes, the biggest of all is being undertrained. Ever since I ran the Air Force Marathon I haven't been able to get back on the training wagon. I was unprepared and tired. Physically and mentally tired. I usually pride myself in being mentally tough and finishing strong, but today was not a good day for either. At least I know that Lookout Mountain is off for now and until I learn some techniques to get me through the cold weather, I will await warmer weather. If the foot is fine in the next couple of days, the Harpeth Hills Monkey Marathon in 2 weeks will be my last race for the year. Considering my first marathon was last April, I'm good with that though.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
bus for four hours, I was a little tired, grumpy, and stiff. I'm sure I did not look the least bit friendly when I rolled out of the bus, but I think
back, we set off on the walk thru of the North Loop (5.5 miles). The North Loop began with a 2.5 mile jaunt down the black top road. Only two dogs came out to greet us before we reached a gravel
drive that we turned down, that would lead us to an uncut hay field. There we followed along the tree line on the outskirts of the field. We cut through a couple of wooded sections before coming upon our first fence crossing. There was a nice rectangle cut out for us to bend over and step through, or some did step over. Me being on the vertically challenged side, I had to bend and step thru. Back down the
field we go before reaching, yet again, another wire fence. This one was a nice circular shape that you had to step up on a rock to crawl through. No stepping over this one. Finally, we are in the woods and headed on the trail. The trail was very, very well marked with pink ribbons. There was no way to get lost. Lots of rocks, especially at "wobbly rocks". These were like a giant's jigsaw puzzle after he slammed his fist down on it. Between 3-5 foot crevices between the jigsaw shaped rocks. One section was too far apart to jump, so we
were guided down into the crevice, and then back up some perfectly built rock steps. It was absolutely beautiful. I had not gotten to see this section when I was here on Labor day. After wobbly rocks, we went through cedar lane and then over a long forgotten rock wall. We continued traveling around Laz's backyard. I was still a little lost and unsure if I was on parts that I had helped on or not, until we came upon the fallen tree. The tree was too large to move off the trail and why go around when you could go over. The rule, since there was a nice rock step on one side, was the last person over needed to roll the rock to the
other side. I think everyone broke that rule. Now I recognized some of the trail. We soon came upon the cave, which meant we were near the old sewer line road. We followed it down the hill and then started around and again into the woods. This was the area we had tried to reach the corner and was unsuccessful. Laz was successful and we were soon back on some familiar areas to me. The trail circled around again and then cross the sewer road again, close by Laz's house, and then around. Nearing the end now. Cross another downed fence section, cross the driveway, and finally out right by the start/aid station.
Yeah food now. Laz had the bonfire going and we were invited to get our own sticks for the brats. I sat listening to conversations around me and wondered what in the heck am I doing there. I was surrounded by very accomplished runners; 100 mile finishers, Boston qualifiers,
transcontinental completer. Even worse, I am not a social butterfly. Socially awkward is more like it. I guess some would call it shyness. I call it torture. I don't even consider myself a runner. (At the Air Force Marathon there were those cute 'Runner Girl' stickers, and my husband had to practically force me to buy one. I consider myself a plodder.) So I spent the rest of the evening beating myself up for attempting this race and wondering why I do stuff like that. I eventually excused myself and headed to the parking area, chatting with a very nice couple from North Carolina (Joe and Amy). I headed to my great friend's house, Lina, who was putting me up for the weekend- once again. I quickly fell asleep and awoke around 5 the next morning. Feeling somewhat much better about the day after a good night's sleep, I headed back to the parking lot. I unloaded my small cooler and drop bag, wondering if I was gonna be a total geek for having too much stuff. When I walked
up though, those fears were unfounded. There were chairs and coolers, drop bags scattered everywhere. Soon, time was upon us and a quick countdown and we were off on the North Loop. My goals were 1) not to get injured, 2) keep moving the entire 11 hours, and hopefully, fingers crossed, 3) reach 40 miles. (I have never been farther than 35 miles and that was last October on a park path.) So I was nervously excited to see how I would do. I settled down into my plodding pace which was somewhere in the middle of the pack I guess and was able to continue on the road part without walking. I figured I'd be walking soon
15-20 feet, think "crap", take a couple of steps, then see a pink ribbon.
To me it was like orienteering without a map. Every pink ribbon was my control point! My little victories, until I came upon the first hill.
OMGosh! My calves immediately began to seize, so I tried to step up as flat footed as I could going up the hill, avoided saw briers all the while keeping an eye out for those blasted pink ribbons. I kept moving and I eventually heard some voices. I soon caught up with Mike M. and Mike S. Yeah- it was nice having 2 extra pairs of eyes watching for ribbons and saw briers. We soon caught up with John and Steve and close to the end of the South Loop. Another stop, drop, and roll and I
had completed my first full loop (9.5 miles). Refilled at the AS and headed clockwise onto the North loop. I have to say, I can't really remember the second loop of the North loop- except thinking I liked running that way better than counter clockwise. I also did use my inhaler though. Even though the weather was great, my chest felt hollow and I didn't want to take any chances. Same on the South loop- except it was just as relentless as counter clockwise. Not too mention I got tired of hearing my heart beating in my ears on all of the uphill climbs. I met up again with Mike M. and as we were heading to the trail section of the third loop of the North loop, he left me in my dust. I was dragging a little. I seem to around 15-22 miles. I was glad that he didn't feel like he needed to hang back. Go Mike go. I kept
plowing ahead, really not looking forward to heading back on that 3rd loop of the South loop. I was really letting it get me down. Plus, I was trying to calculate in my head running 4 total loops within the time limit, plus the out and back after 3 laps for the 50K distance. I wasn't sure I could get it. I eventually got my second wind and refilled, another stop, drop, and roll, and headed to the South Hell loop. Two good things happened. Mike H. came up from behind asking if I wanted company (heck yeah) and there was actually something resembling a trail taking shape. Although some areas were almost better to slide down on your butt to get through, the third loop of the south side was great. Mike even pushed me to run some more, dodging the cow patties, to finish that loop pretty strong for me. I went into the AS ready for the road out and back to bag my 50K. Still calculating in my head if I could get one more full loop in or not. Also, I decided that I would change my socks and take a quick potty break before heading out on the fourth loop of the North side. Oops...I immediately felt my fresh comfortable clean socks rubbing on a blister on the side of my heal. Dang..not a good choice after all. I continued on the 4th loop of the North side with no one in sight. I was soon wishing I had taken the time to hunt out my ipod. I can't imagine a worse song to have stuck in your head than, "I'm Henry the 8th I am, Henry the 8th I am, I am. I got married to the widow next door, she's been married 7 times before. And every says Henry. Henry! I'm 8th old man named Henry. Henry the 8th I am, I am." Over and over again I sang that blasted song. Oh
my, I'm losing my mind, but I felt pretty good. I was trying to get in the AS with at least an hour 45 minutes left for the south loop. I made it in 1:33 I believe. I didn't feel I could make the south loop in that time. Laz gave me my times for the previous laps, but I wasn't sure if I should trust him or not. LOL I should have paid better attention to my times. Alas, I did not trust and decided to do just do the longer road out and back (1.25 miles). When I completed that miserable lap on the road, Laz informed me how sluggishly long it took me and I wouldn't have time for another. I could try the shorter 1/2 mile out and backs. I decided to get another 1/2 mile in. When I reached the AS, Laz informed me that one more 1/2 mile would give me 40 miles. Drat..my goal. I wanted to sit so bad, but to reach my goal. I actually ran all of that lap. Looking at my time, it took me a little over 5 minutes to complete that half mile. Well, I least I finished strong. I went and sat in my chair, but then I made the mistake of looking at the clock. There was still 20 minutes or so left. Second goal was to continue for the full 11 hours. I got up out of my chair and plodded my way back out again. My right foot, the fifth metatarsal, felt like it was broken. The
road was winning. I figured I was going to have to have the doc x ray it Monday. I could hear him banning me first from ballet at 27 y.o. and now running at 35 y.o. I touched the slab of rock and just immediately turned right back around to get one more lap in. Everyone was happy and cheering everyone else on. Abi's son, T.J., was looking so strong still running. It was a great ending to a perfect day. At 10:55:25, I finally called it a day with 41 miles completed. My farthest distance ever to date. I even ended placing 7th. Not too mention meeting some really wonderful people. I am really glad Laz came up with the race idea and his wife, Sandra, allowed him to put it on. I'm still not quite ready to call myself an ultrarunner, let alone a runner, but I am so happy that there are events I can participate in and see such beautiful places.
|South Loop souvenirs! Plus, some kind of funky rash one week later.|
Monday, October 11, 2010
and Penelope assured me of my arrival time. I had time, so I detoured to the nearest Wal-Mart and ran in and bought me a pair. (Needless to say, they are quite warm, and not quite time to wear them yet.) I made it to Dany's house by 9:30 and we had the kayaks and her bike loaded in Big Bird before heading out. We pulled out right on time at 10:00. Needless to say, Penelope let me know that our arrival time was 12:11. Eekkk...cutting it a little close. Pre race briefing was at 12:30, with the race starting at 1:00. Hope there's no traffic. There wasn't and we actually made up a little time on the road, just barely speeding. (I'm almost off probation- one more month and then I don't have to be quite as careful.) We had just enough time to swing thru DQ for a bite to eat and potty break, or so we thought. We pretty much pulled into the parking lot on two wheels, jumped out to grab our race packets and find out where to stage our kayaks at, and headed to the beach. We quickly unloaded the kayaks, drove back to the start area, and caught the tail end of the pre race meeting. Hopefully, we didn't miss much, or anything too important. We had about 20 minutes before the start, so we headed over to Big Bird and got squared away. As we were walking away, I realized I had my good glasses on my head, so I stuck them up under the roof rack on Big Bird. They gave the big countdown and we were off. We had to run back down to the swim area where we had staged the boats. We quickly donned our water shoes and shoved off. We had an opportunity to get 5 points, but you only to get a minimum of 3 before beginning the trekking section. (I have only kayaked one other time and that was only for about 10 minutes- just to see if I could. I basically paddled out in the middle of the lake, turned a couple of times, then paddled back in. Last year, Dany and I canoed and she said it would be faster kayaking.) I think we were a little faster, but not sure how much. I was just trying to keep from flipping out when the motor boats were zooming past us. Since, she is more able, I let Dany jump in & out of the kayak to punch our control card. While she was punching (and at one point peeing- wish I had a pic of that one!), I would study our map and try to get us headed in the right direction. I could feel blisters forming on my thumbs from the paddling and at times wanted to quit, but we kept pushing ahead and