Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Inspiration at the Big Dog Backyard Ultra Run October 22, 2011

Final day of trail clearing.
When I went down to help Laz with the last short section of trail clearing at the beginning of October, I 
The dog, the myth, the legend.....The Big
 had no intention of running the trail for a test.  I had just been to the doctor that week and was still on antibiotics and steroids for a sinus infection. When Sunday arrived and no one showed up at the appointed hour for the trial runs, I had to do the deed.  Drats.....  I ran the first loop as hard as I could (lol).  Poor Laz thought there was a train going through his backyard as loud as I was huffing and wheezing.  When I came out of the first section, I was going to take a hard right, but Laz was there and immediately corrected me and sent me uphill onto the loop.  I made it under the time limit with time to spare.  So the second lap, I just cruised around and still was able to manage under the time with time to spare.  I had planned to stop, but when I arrived at the finish, Mike Allen was there and Laz asked me to take him around to show him the loop.  Dag nab em dumb biscuits.  This was more running than I've done in a month.  Okie Doke  So out I went with Mike on my third loop.  I had to walk some this time, but we still managed to make it in under the time limit with spare time left.  Granted all of these were without the road section, but I still felt better about my prospects.  Especially if I could get some more training in over the rest of the month.  I left feeling alot better about the race.  At least until I continued to struggle to get any training in.  I had one weekend where I ran 8 miles on Saturday and Sunday on my backyard trail then nothing for the rest of the week.  Sigh...I sent Laz an email backing out of the race.  Of course, Laz in his infinite wisdom, said there was no waiting list.  If I didn't use my spot, then it would go unused.  That is worse than taking a spot in the first place.  Another weekend and I only managed to get 2 miles in on Sunday and I was wiped out again for the week.  I was in very low spirits heading down to Tennessee.  Completely frustrated over my lack of training, feeling fatigued all of the time, sinus trouble, and then the Monday before a UTI struck.  I always have fun when I go to races, but I was not even wanting to go to this race.  I had just hoped I could make one loop without embarrassing myself.  I felt that I could potentially get 3 loops since I had done that at the trial test runs.  I still predicted that I would drop first.  Three loops was not even a half marathon.
  I arrived Friday afternoon after a snafu at work kept me from getting there earlier like I originally planned.  Most were out on the walking tour, but Mike, Juli, and several others were there as I unloaded my stuff.  I sat my stuff out close to the drive, but far back away from the start/finish that I would not be in the way of real contenders.  Turns out I was next to John Price's stuff (my former road angel from Vol State).  So I left my stuff there and headed over to my friend Lina's house to stay the night.
  The next morning when I arrived, there was a table with plastic bins/drawers set up beside me.  It was Tim E. and Lisa's stuff.  I offered to move my stuff.  I sure didn't want to be in their way!  They were very gracious, so I sat down to fill my bottles and get ready for the race.  It was quite chilly and I had brought three hats to wear; a ball cap for when it warmed up, a toboggan, and a semi ski mask.  I settled on wearing the orange ski mask because of the chilly air.  I knew keeping my mouth covered and breathing through it would help me and keep my asthma at bay.  I knew I looked goofy, but I've learned some things that do work for me and I don't care how I look.  Soon enough the whistles began to blow and we lined up.  I lined up in the back as normal and we headed out onto the road section.  The road section was a little longer than I expected and I wasn't sure how much time it would add.  I had the course broke down into three sections.  The first and third section was essentially the same minus the road section on the first leg.  The second section was the loop.  On the test runs, the loop was longest for me.  I was really nervous when we came to the turn to go uphill and begin the loop section.  My watch said 21:05.  Only on the first section, and I'm already behind.  I decide to pass a few people going uphill and try to make up some time.  I settled in behind Lisa, Tim D., and Nikki.  I was still worried.  I kept glancing down at my watch.  Wondering if I should speak up or not.  I finally did mention how I had the course broke down in my head to Nikki and that I felt that we were behind.  Lisa and Tim had just taken off I thought, when we popped out of the loop and Nikki began going uphill.  I started right behind her but told her I thought this was the wrong way.  For some reason in my head, I was thinking there was more gravel on the hill.  We kind of went back and forth and I'm thinking "Oh my gosh, I am arguing on a trail with Nikki Seger.  I must be out of my mind.  She'll tell everyone about this big mouth arguing chick."  Finally, I told her if there is a cave up ahead, then we are wrong.  There was and we were.  I tried to run, in vain, to catch up to Lisa and Tim. When the downed tree came in sight, I knew they were long gone and I turned back.  As I did, I came upon several others that had come uphill instead of making a hard left at the end of the fence line.  (I wonder how may people I scared running at them with this big orange face mask on, yelling "Turn around, we are going the wrong way."  I'm sure they thought Halloween had come early.  Look at that pumpkin head.)   At the bottom of the hill, at the turn, I asked Nikki if I should wait and make sure Lisa and Tim made the turn when they came out from the loop.  I didn't know what the etiquette was, but she said no.  I felt bad for them, especially Lisa because I knew alot of people were pulling for her to win it all.  I quickly took off my hat and laid it on the ground and grabbed some sticks and tried to make an arrow pointing toward the in/out section.  I left it and hurried to catch up to Nikki and the others.  We came out off the trail head and headed down the driveway.  I was crushed.  I was going to be timed out on the first loop.   I had already began planning what to do with the rest of my day since I was about to be timed out.  I actually couldn't wait to sit down.  After chasing after Lisa and Tim (which was a dumb idea), and then racing to try to make it in before the hour was up.  I was beat.  We reached the rock, and as we did, Laz motioned us on.  What?  I had already settled on being timed out and now your telling me I can go.  Could I?  Did I want too?  Nope, not unless I was able to pee first.  I ran to the port o potty, grabbed my toboggan, and hurried out to try to catch up.  The main pack of runners was  heading in just as I was heading out on the road section.  I didn't think I could make it but Laz doesn't give very many freebies.  I had to try.  I caught up again with Nikki and we chatted some, but I kept an eye on my watch.  We were doing pretty good, but again, was going to be cutting it close.  She let me pass as we crested the hill by Big's house and I took off the best I could.  As I got closer, I could hear the whistle blowing.  I tried to count how many times it had blown, but wasn't sure.  I was coming down the driveway and saw all the runners lined up and then I heard the cow bell ring.  Oh no....crushed again by a mere 15 seconds this time!  What?  Ray K is telling me to come on.  He had told Laz about the first loop debacle and Laz was letting me go through again.  I was getting one more mulligan.  I had to get in under the hour, and I had to make up some time.  I hadn't eaten much for breakfast and I needed to grab something to eat.  
Coming off of a night loop.

Nikki & Big & Mattie
Nothing more motivating for me than food.  That and the thought that it would be really cool to actually make up time after going over the first two loops.  Kind of rectify myself to Laz for being such a pain in the butt.  I felt pretty good and was
The Winner, Tim, and Big
  able to get around the loop and give myself a couple of minutes to sit and eat some cantaloupe.  I was starving.  Dumb me though, didn't really believe in myself to much and hadn't brought that much food.  Duh...didn't even think about what I was going to eat the rest of the day when I was actually finished running.  (I'm a sharpie.) 
  Soon enough, the last whistle had blown and I got in line for the cow bell ringing.  Wow...I should not have sat down.  My legs felt wooden.  When the Grim Reaper, aka Ray K, passed me on the road section, I knew I was done.  I probably should have stopped, but I thought I might be able to squeeze one more loop out.  Alas, I eventually was only running the downhills and pretty much walking everything else.  My day was done.  I was timed out on my fourth loop and met all of the remaining runners on the trail as I was making my way back to the start/finish line.  When I told Laz I had exceeding my expectations, he told me someone has to get the low hanging fruit.  Encouraging me as usual.  lol
  The rest of my day was spent learning from Nikki how to crew and get a runner in and out.  She graciously let me help grab some things for Lisa and Tim when they came in from each loop.  It felt good to help even though I knew I wasn't doing much of anything but standing in awe.  Both of these guys were amazing to watch and very inspiring to me to be around.  (Not too mention, Lisa pointed out that I was second place female.  It hadn't even dawned on me.  Of course, my husband would say that is first loser.)  I felt very blessed to be around these three and their positive energy, especially such a true survivor as Nikki.  I was very glad I came and thankful that Laz encouraged me in his subtle ways.  I would have missed being blessed this weekend and encouraged. 
  Laz started the campfire and it was wonderful to sit around with John, Mike, Juli, Naresh, Diane, Abi, and many others as the clock ate their race.  The brats were tasty and I hated to leave, but I did not want to go to my friend's house in the middle of the night.  Plus, these guys were looking very strong.  There was no telling when the race would end.
Tim, Nikki, & Lisa
        I returned Sunday morning and there were a few still remaining; Diane, John W, Mike D, Abi, Nikki, Laz,                                               
Naresh & Juli
and, Big.  Tim, Lisa, Juli, and Naresh reappeared.  I was able to get a few pictures and again thank Nikki, Lisa, and Tim, for more than they'll ever know. 
 Diane also returned my favorite
"You goofy lady."
 orange hat.  Apparently, Tim
Big, 1st female, & overall winner
picked it up on his last loop when he finished last night.  I was so glad I didn't have to walk over the hill and get it.  I was shocked he brought it in.  If I'd

Mike D. & Laz
been running for 18 hours, grabbing a hat would have been
"Oh yeah... right there is da spot!"
the last thing on my mind.  Thanks again Tim- I love that ugly hat!  Also a thanks to Abi, who pointed out that I was second place female two years in a row at the Backyard now.  Imagine that- I have my own little streak going. (I know.....I am such a goober!)

Trail marking on the fly.
 So I am now looking forward to going back, and I hope Laz didn't take me too seriously when I asked him how to get myself banned from all of his races between loops 2 and 3.  After all, Vol State wil be here before you know it.  Oh and the Barkley Book Set out, that I would very much like to redeem myself at.  Too much fun and so little time.
Sigh......Life is good dag nab em dumb biscuits!

Mad Genius of race and Race's namesake