Thursday, September 26, 2013

Not Worried....Nope, Not At All

Training from Blister In The Sun Marathon (8/04) until Honest Abe Marathon (9/22)

   I admit it.  I was nervous.  I had just started running on Monday and the race was Sunday.  Sunday was my last day to take my antibiotics.  I was worried that the weather would be warm and I haven’t done well with warm weather on antibiotics.  I wasn’t sure if the UTI was cleared up.  I wasn’t sure if I would start bleeding again since the surgery was a little over a week out.  We put on our trail race on Saturday morning and then a wedding that evening.  I had a horrible headache at the wedding and reception and left early Saturday night.  I felt sick on the way home and told Pat I didn’t thing I could do the race.  I wasn’t sure if I could even get out of bed.  I was worried.  
He told me to see how I felt in the morning and if I could get up, just go run one lap and come home.  I had my answer.  I had my reassurance from him.  I would try.  I would see how I would do.  I would test myself.  I would see how badly deterioted my fitness had gotten since the Blister In the Sun Marathon 6 weeks ago and the subsequent events that followed.  I knew that if no bleeding or effects from the antibiotics cropped up, that I would push myself to finish the race.  I wanted to finish.  I needed to finish.  The race cut off was 7 hours, with a 5 hour cut off at loop 2.  Three loops.  I told myself try to get each loop at two hours and then I had an hour for disaster to happen.  I was nervous.  I was worried.  BUT if I could get out of bed Sunday morning, I would try.
  I didn’t sleep well and I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm was to go off.  I hurried and got myself together and headed out into the crisp morning.  I arrived at the race an hour early, picked up my bib, and promptly laid back down in the bus to rest. 
      Before long I went to line up and saw Brian.  I met Brian during LBL.  He was doing his first 60K (and first trail run) and was having a tough day.  He said I encouraged him to finish.  Today I would use close to the same words I gave him that day to encourage myself, “I have 7 hours to get it done.  Don’t stop unless you get timed out.”  I saw Craig B. and got to meet Debbie, who I only know from Facebook until now  Shortly, we were off.  The marathoners had to do a lap around the parking lot, while the 14K’ers got to start immediately on the trail.  I watched as everyone pulled on away from me.  I tried to level my pace and my breathing, but I felt so uncomfortable and couldn’t catch my breath around the parking lot.  I finally made it to the trail and still even saw a few people ahead of me.  I knew it would take me about 20-30 minutes to feel comfortable.  And it did.
There was an aid station midways through the loop and another one at the start/finish line of the loop.  I wore my hydration pack to make sure I stayed hydrated since I was still on antibiotics and I wasn’t sure how slow I would be going.  Before long I had passed 7 people.  I didn’t care that they were probably 14K runners.  I was passing people and it felt good.  One did pass me back but I caught him at the aid station.  He was a marathoner and I would play leap frog with him the rest of the race. 
After we left the AS and I was ahead of him, running next to a creek I heard some rustling and looked to my left just in time to see two deer.  I stopped to watch them and they stopped.  The other runner caught up and I pointed them out to him.  I was sad because I didn’t have my camera to take a pic and my phone was tucked in my pack.  Oh well, I headed off hoping for a port o pot in the near future.  I had to go really bad, although I was nervous about it.  When I did BITS marathon, the wheels starting coming off more and more after each potty break as the UTI raged.  I don’t know if I am finally over it or not, but I finally came upon an outhouse and was about to find out.  I quickly ran in, set down, and just felt hot pee coming out (sorry so graphic).  No pain, no blood, and best of all, no burning crying my insides are falling out sensation.  Victory!  
There was a ton of wooden bridge crossings and I made sure to walk across them everytime because they were slick.  Even walking, I slid a couple of times.  The rest of the loop was uneventful and I was looking forward to seeing the so called “zig zag” bridge.  Apparently, the RD has some complaints about the bridge and people have asked him to re route the course.  I came upon a long wooden bridge that went on 
forever and then turned and went on some more.  I thought maybe that was the zig zag bridge.  It was cool, but why would people complain about it.  It was slick but so were the others.  I came upon an old home site and a fenced in well.  That is also when I came upon the “zig zag’ bridge.  It was so cool and I made sure to tell the RD that he should never re route the course (if people don’t like it, they can find another
race to run- it was unique!).  It was basically a hillside with a ramp bridge, then it would turn and angle down the other way, then turn again, and it went on for several levels until it dumped you out at the bottom.  My pics do not do it justice.  Right after it, I came to the end of the first loop and stopped at the aid station.  Since I had forgotten my watch, I had no idea how long it had taken me, but I felt really good and
headed out onto the second loop.  As I got away from the AS, I texted Pat to let him know I was starting my second loop.  I had promised him I would.  (Although he had given his blessing for me to go, I know he was concerned also.)  I checked my phone and it was roughly two hours, 9:30ish.  I wasn’t sure if we had started on time either, but I felt good about that.
The second loop I had some doubts, which are normal for me.  I always struggle in the middle of a race and today was no different.  What was different was the way my legs felt.  They felt heavy and like they were not connected to my body.  A couple of times, it felt like they were going to crumble underneath of me.  A very uncool giving out sensation.  It was just such a strange sensation.  I finally made it to the AS and was at a mental low.  I even told the guys thanks a ton, in case I wouldn’t be
 back around the third time.  They were very nice and encouraging.  I grabbed some more pretzels and headed out.  I was trying to push myself and keep jogging along with walking the uphills only but as I left the AS, I was pushing myself just to walk.  I started to feel a little better but then I really realized what was wrong when my belly started growling.  It’s probably lunchtime at home!  (the race was in central time
zone) Let me tell you, I don’t like to miss a meal and you can probably tell it!  I was hungry!  I finally got to the next AS at the end of loop two and grabbed me a gel to suck down and another handful of pretzels.  I figured the caffeine would help and it did.  I felt so much better!  I texted Pat again and let him know I was starting my third loop.  Roughly about 4 hours into it.  I was still on par with my game plan of two hours and
I had a three hour cushion to finish this last lap.  I finally let myself breathe easy.  I knew I would finish and I knew the last lap wouldn’t be too bad because I can usually finish strong.  As a treat, and because I thought I was in last place since the leap frog runner had passed me again in the middle of the second loop, I put my headphones on and pushed on.  I was so happy.  I also tucked my phone in sports bra so
that I could take pics.  I knew it was my bell lap and I had time to savor the lap and get some pics of this beautiful course.
  I made it to the middle AS for the final time and joked about being the “sweep”, but they informed me that there was two more runners behind me!  Well, that put a fire under me as I hurried and ate another gel, 

orange, and handful of pretzels.  I hurried out of there hoping to keep from being last after all.  I still took my pics though and after taking one of the beautiful lake is when I had my toe catch on a root or something and I went sailing through the air.  I am not very graceful, but I managed to stay upright and probably gave the people in the paddle boat a good laugh if they saw me.  Man, my big toe smarted after that!
  Right when I got to the zig zag bridge, another runner caught me.  Darn it!  But she was very nice and offered to take a pic of me as I was putting my headphones away.  Tamara from Cincinnatti was running her 95th marathon and we happily chatted as we ran in together, stopping to grab her drop bag and my jacket/arm sleeves that I had discarded after loop one.  We were chatting so much, that I did not see the time when 
we crossed the finish line.  After I had changed, I asked the RD my time and they accidentally gave me the girl before me –so I thought I finished in 6:03:04, but when the results came out I see that Tamara and I finished in last place together at 6:07:22 (even though I tried to get her to go ahead of me in honor of her 95th finish).  I guess the other person must have dropped.  So I finished in last place just like my very first trail 
marathon but this time it was actually a better time.
  I am thrilled to see that I haven’t lost that much fitness and mentally I was able to keep pushing.  I also know that I had some help out there.  I felt Him blessing my every step.  LBL last year was my first race after my dad had passed and I was worried that I might be a blubbering mess at this race, but I only had one time that I teared up.  On the third loop 
going up the last big hill, a Christian song called “What Are You Waiting For” started playing and I teared up as I climbed.  Fighting over 2 months to clear up a UTI, the loss of our baby, the no training due to all of it.  I thought of it all and then I also thought, just like the song was saying, I’m not waiting for tomorrow.  I am able to get out here.  I may be slow, but I can get out here and enjoy his creation.  
I am glad I got out of bed.  I needed to see if I could do it. And I needed to see if I could do it on my own and alone.  And I did and I am still excited that I was able to pull it off.
  If you ever have a chance to head to Lincoln Park, Indiana, put this race on your list.  The RD and his merry band of volunteers were awesome and encouraging.  The course is beautiful and the price is right!  I loved every bit of the race and look forward to doing it again.  Especially with the fond memories it has now been given.  I was worried, but I found victory!

1 comment:

  1. So glad that you did a race report on this. It was a beautiful day and a fun race.
    This was my 1st trail race after facing 2 family tragedies in 2012, so I understand you completely. Good luck on your next conquest!