I headed down to Wartrace Saturday morning without sunburned feet this year. This year I was more familiar about where I was going, problem was I had to drive through all of Kentucky in the rain. Not just rain, but relentless pounding rain, hail, and lightning. I even stopped under an overpass because the pounding was just wearing me out as much as the mental strain of concentrating on the road trying to see the white lines to make sure I was still on the road. I should have stayed home or at least pulled over but I knew I would not be able to get to the race in time if I did. As it was I got there about an hour early, not enough time to rest before the race like I was able to last year. Many people were already there and getting ready. I quickly picked up my bib and stuff from Mike and then I readied my stuff. I looked at the clock and I had a few extra minutes and tried to put out some fliers of our upcoming race in June (the Bernheim Trail Marathon that I co-RD). I was slightly embarrassed because so many people were still at their cars. Sticking stuff on cars is not my forte. It ranks right up there with asking for money when fund raising. Yuck- but I did it because I said I would. I put out all that I had and then I went back to the bus to finish getting ready. I was going to use my pack that I was using for Vol State. Strolling Jim was purely a training run for Vol State. I had a few funny looks because of the larger pack, but I didn't care. I needed to get some training in however I could get it. I was way behind in my schedule!
All too quickly it was time to line up. I saw a few people I knew, but mostly I was just a little tired after the rain drive down. Steve Durbin came up and we started the race together. I tried to stay with him the best I could, but even with his bad back, I was pushing my pace for me.
Not long though, the clouds started rolling in and everything that I had drove through had caught up with me again- even the hail. Thankfully it was just pea sized hail, but that was right when I noticed I had lost my LBL hat off of my pack. I was bummed because I loved that new yellow hat, but more so because I wouldn't have it later for when the sun came out. The rain finally ceased and it was a wonderful morning for a run. Steve and I continued to chat for a bit. It was nice while it lasted especially talking about UK sports (even though I am a bigger football fan than basketball, sorry Steve), but I eventually had to stop and tinkle. I was secretly glad because I was having to push myself to stay up with Steve and I knew I was dragging him down- which seeing his finishing time proved to me that I was right.
I met Liz- who I found out was sharing the hotel room with me later. (I had told Juli Aistars that my brother had gotten me a free room with his points and she could room with me if she wanted. She asked about Liz and Jan too, and I said that was fine.) I also met Mimi, who had swam the Ohio River last year and actually stopped at my aunt's house for her overnight- small world!
I was doing good for about 18 miles, but I could tell the rain had wrecked havoc with my feet and I was getting blisters and I didn't think to bring an extra pair of socks. (I was at the race track all day on Friday with family and did not think to check the weather. Sigh...) By mile 20, I was reduced to a walk. No amount of cajoling from Amy would help- which was a bummer because it was great to hear about her upcoming adventure in the summer at Cape Cod. Well, I wanted good training for Vol State, I was about to get it. 20 miles left to go and I am walking. I wanted to quit several times, but I knew if I did I had no business even returning to the ferry this year. So I pushed myself onward. Diane eventually caught up to me and she went strolling on by smiling and looking fresh as a daisy. Stu caught up to me when I was trying to adjust my shoes and socks at a guardrail. I continued to trudge ahead. My secret nemesis, Savannah caught up to me. She had knocked me out of third place at RUTS last year by a 1/2 mile. Of course she is 16 and friendly as can be (and her dad is super nice too)- so I couldn't hold that against her. She looked to be struggling some too, but she was motoring on. I finally gave in to a pity party, then I kicked my butt in gear and made myself get going.
I finally made it out to the main drag and the blessed sign of only 2 miles to go! I finally reached the finish line and the best thing was getting hugs from Chris, Naresh, John, and Joshua! What more could a tired, stinky girl want? (Well to finish faster than last year- but strike two.) I finished in 10:35:30 (Almost an hour slower than last year. Two races this year that I've been slower than last year's times. Not good!)
I sat and visited with everyone (laz, Big, Ray K, John, Naresh, Joshua, Diane, Juli, and many others.) I eventually was ready for a shower and some rest. I told Jan what hotel we were at and Liz and I headed to get us checked in. My buddy Lina called and invited us all over- they were having a graduation party. They were all too tired, but I couldn't come to Tennessee and not see my buddy- no matter how tired I was. When I left they were discussing sleeping arrangements and I just asked to have a section of bed to sleep on (after all my brother did get us the room) and there was a king and a roll away bed-plenty of room. I visited with Lina and her family and headed back to the room to find Jan sleeping on the floor in her sleeping bag. After trying unsuccessfully to wake her up- without waking everyone else, I gave up and went to bed. I found out the next morning, they thought I wanted the whole bed. I felt bad that Jan slept on the floor, but even more so that they would think I was that much of a prima donna. That ranked up there with the drive down for the race as being the lows of the weekend. Otherwise it was a great experience and I hope the training run would prepare me for my second vol state attempt.