I have been looking forward to this weekend for quite awhile, not just because of my mom's birthday (sorry, mom I had to miss it!). But because it was going to be a good test for me to see how my training has fared. And since I feel like I have fallen off of the training wagon since the Air Force Marathon, I was nervously anticipating this weekend. We even left the Friday night football game (Go Greenwaves!) after the third quarter because I knew I needed to wake up at 4:30 and be on the road with Penelope by 5. I still am amazed I was able to roll out of bed at that hour, seeing as how I usually cannot get out of bed at 7:30 to make it to work by 9 most mornings. Anyhow, I gassed up Big Bird and we were on I-64 about 5 minutes after 5. Then I come to the Sherman Minton Bridge- traffic. "Hello, its Saturday morning, 5:30 in the morning- can you do construction work some other day?-!" I'm finally through and headed to Waynesville, Ohio. My goal is the White Tail Trail Half and Full Marathons at Caesar Creek State Park. I was going to run the half marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday morning and the full marathon (26.2 miles) on Sunday morning. At least that was my plan. I arrived at about 8, plenty of time to check in and get ready. The race starts at 9. I picked up my packet for both races (bib numbers, race shirts, and a totally cool duffel bag for running both races). I was kind of shocked that they gave out the duffel bags before you actually completed the event (more on that later though). Before long it was time
to board the bus to the start of the race. The half was a point to point, so we had to be bussed to the start line. In no time, we unloaded and lined up to start the race. There was about 160 runners. I lined up pretty close to the rear. We started out on the road that lead to a nice stretch of flat park road before turning into single track. Enough time to spread the runners out. I found out right away that this was going to be a great run. This park is absolutely beautiful and the trail was well marked, and taken care of. We were fairly close to the lake alot of the
time, but passed several creek crosses, small wooden bridges, and also pioneer village. I again used my trusty Nathan pack for my electrolytes (powerade- they only served Heed at the aid stations) and chomps throughout the race. I tried to drink water at all of the aid stations to stay hydrated. Since I was running tomorrow, I was trying to take it easy. No injuries, Finish strong, but finish was my motto today. I happened to come up on a couple from Richmond, IN, and after chatting with them for a few switchbacks, found out that he had completed Western States last year. Also, learned that he was
recovering from a femur fracture from just 5 months ago. He was looking great. Really impressive after such an injury. I continued on, marveling over and over, how beautiful this park was. I felt like I was doing pretty good for me. Plus, I hadn't really tripped over obstacles like I normally do. I can recall only flying through the air a couple of times. Flying, no landing. I tried to keep a steady pace, or at least for me. Before long, I came up on aid station and calculated that I was at about mile 7. While I was grabbing a drink of water, I heard the lady say it was mile 9, only four miles to go. Like music to my ears. Woo hoo That really perked my spirits of. Four miles is a ton better than 6 miles left. One race almost done for the day. I finished in 2:31:58 (placing 122 out of 172 runners). Grabbed a couple of snacks and headed to Big Bird. Penelope finally found me a place to get some grub- Applebee's. Cats were playing and I hoped I might get a chance to see some of the game at a place like that. I think Penelope was taking me away from my hotel, but didn't care, I was tired and hungry. I sidled up to the bar and proceeded to look around at all of the big screens. Not one had the UK game on. Drats- dumb Ohio State was on at the same time. I figured there may be a riot if I asked to change just one of the dozen or so tv's. Texted and tortured my husband for updates until he quit recognizing my number. I ate my salad, steak, and potatoes, ordered a strawberry shooter for the road and headed back to Big Bird and the Holiday Inn. Figured I had a better chance at finishing the races if I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express, or at least that's what the commercials seem to make you feel. ; ) Anyhow, I got checked into my room, and praise the Lord, found the game on the tube. Unfortunately they lost, but the strawberry shooter was yummy. I went downstairs and utilized the hot tub and their pool, alternating between the two. Figured close enough to a contrast bath as I was going to get. Nope, haven't worked up to an ice bath- too big of a sissy for that. Noticed that it hadn't stopped raining since I got to my room. Great the trail is gonna be a nasty mess tomorrow. It was beautiful, but with all of the wooden bridges and ascents/descents. Went to bed not looking forward to running the next morning. I woke up the next morning and looked at my nice new duffel bag and knew that if I didn't at least attempt the race, i wouldn't use the bag. the thought of my hubby using my new bag was enough to propel me up and out of my toasty room. A breezy, balmy 46 degrees greeted me as I walked to Big Bird. I wondered about how I was dressed and if I should try to find some gloves. Ii decided if I pass a store, then I would try to find some. As luck would have it, no store, so I sucked it up and pulled back into the park. I waited until I saw others climbing out of their cars and heading to the starting line. Today's race was an out and back, so we would start and finish in the same place -no busing today. I moseyed up to the back of the line and waited for the go signal. I immediately kind of paired up with Tamara from Ohio and Debbie from New Albany, IN (right down the road from my home- small world). We chatted a little
and kind of traded on walking/running together. Then they kind of took a walk break and I wasn't ready too, so I kept on. Met up with two other fellows, but although older (65 y/o) was keeping a better pace than I was. They left me in my dust. My plan was to finish under 6 hours and not be injured. Soon though Debbie caught up with me again. For the next 5 hours, I had the most enjoyable experience. Debbie is a member of the 50 states club and this was her 76th marathon! She was also training for her first 50 miler. Her husband was also there and kind of crewing. We got to see him at almost all of the aid stations. I also have to add that the trail was not as bad as I feared. Some spots did not look like it even rained. I was still careful on the bridges and descents, but overall just another great day. The only hard energy sapping times mainly was when we came out of the woods into the open areas, like crossing the dam. Normally, a good spot to run. Not today. The wind was just sapping her energy trying to just stay upright, let alone run. Then a car would pass and really blow us over. Arrrggg...We made the turn around and I was doing really well, not tripping too much until....whoops! I don't even know what caught my foot, but there I went flying through the air and this time I was unable to catch myself. Down I went to my knees and hands. Ouchie! "Momma!" Debbie went to help me and I got up as gracefully as I could and we kept moving, even though I wanted to start crying (yep Corydon candy arse). The palms of my hands were stinging and I didn't dare check my knees. Hopefully, no blood. I knew if I stopped to inspect, I may never move from the spot. By that time, I'm in the endless have to jog because it feels better but too tired. Hard to walk because I hurt and get stiff, but tired and need to walk. I started praying for that aid station from yesterday. Then I knew I would only have 4 miles to go. Debbie and I tried different walk/run combinations. We actually passed a guy, well two before we finished the race. Tamara
passed us. I was hoping I wasn't holding Debbie up, but I knew without her I would not be doing as well as I was. I now see why pacers and crews can buoy a runner. She was getting me through this. Finally, the aid station and soon after the highway overpass, small pond, and then I knew the tall grass with the path cut through it that would lead to the sidewalk that would lead to the finish line. The highlight of running the day before, the course was familiar- at least the finishing areas.We crossed the finish line together. 5:21:48 yeah I did it! I did the double and I could now use my duffel bag. I wouldn't be giving it up to hubby. woo hoo! Better yet, there was pizza waiting for us (Bless the race directors). We headed over to Tamara and Debbie's husband and chatted. While eating, Tamara was presented with the age group award for her age group and dum da dum...I was presented with the age group award too! Double woo hoo (Okay so the only other female in my age group finished second female overall, but hey if the RD is going to give, I'm going to receive (a glass and $25 gift card). I finished 34 out of 37 (only 8 women in the whole darn race). I ate another slab of pizza, changed my clothes, broke open a cold yoo hoo, hopped in Big Bird and headed home.
My Loot: 2 medals, drinking glass, $25 gift card, and coveted double duffel bag (not pictured: 2 technical shirts for each race)