I KNOW I am nowhere near in shape to run a road race to my satisfaction. I know that if I were to enter one I would be filled with disappointment comparing my times to previous races. Therefore, I have absolutely no interest in doing that. But a trail race ..... now that interested me. A chance to safely get out on new trails and just something very different from what I have done before.
This was a little more than just a trail race though. With a 140 Meter/460 Feet elevation gain, it was nothing to laugh at. As well as lots of fairly technical sections with roots, rocks, logs, mud. The distance was only 7 Km, but for me it felt like at least 10-12Kms.
I have done some hiking lately, but really very, VERY little running. I was not even remotely in running shape. We started out on a flat trail and I knew then that this was going to be a tough day. Very quickly we began the main ascent. At first I tried running it very slowly, but quickly realized there was no way. Pretty much everyone around me had the same feeling and we all walked up this long hill gasping for breath.
After what felt like forever it leveled out and I could begin to run again. But my legs were burning! From here was a series of ups and downs over technical terrain. I questioned my sanity MANY times, and cursed myself for being so ill prepared. I can't even recall how many times I wondered if the race would ever end. Making it worse was the people at the front of the longer distance division were merging back onto our course and I frequently had to make way for them to go by. Secretly I was a bit glad for the moment of having to stop and move aside. The trail was often too narrow for more than one person at a time.
Eventually we went back to relatively flat ground for the last Km of the race. However, I was done! My legs were jello, my feet were SCREAMING in pain and they had also both gone completely numb. And then I twisted my ankle - BAD! I felt it go over and heard a loud crack. After letting out a huge curse, I stopped for a minute until the pain subsided. I thought I was done for. Eventually I pressed on and managed to walk for a bit, wondering if I was going to be able to even get to the finish line on my own. I had brought my daughter along with me and we had joked that she might have to drive us home if I twisted my ankle ... it was starting to look like she'd be getting some highway experience. I started running again and a minute or so later went over on that same ankle AGAIN. You'd think after all the technical stuff I had run over, a relatively flat trail with just a few rocks wouldn't be a big deal. I think I just had no strength left to properly carry myself.
I did manage to I have never been so happy to see a finish line. I felt like hugging the volunteers at the end, just because I was so thankful to finish.
My time was horrendous. I knew entering the race I would not be going for any kind of time goal, but it's still hard not to feel embarrassed. I placed 162/171 overall, 88/95 women, and 34/37 in my age group. I have always been in the upper 50% of race results. I'm still thankful to have been able to finish, but wow I've got some work to do.
To be honest, I had hoped that entering this race would give me a spark of motivation to pick up my game. Sadly it did not, and I suffered BIG TIME! Hopefully I have learned my lesson. There is another race near the end of July. As much as I said to myself over and over and over during the race that I wouldn't do this again ... I am considering it. If only to redeem my pride. I need another day I think to rest as I am VERY sore, but it's most definitely time to drag myself out of the hole I am in and get on with life. I need to become the runner I am inside (a little deep inside at the moment, but inside). Mostly I need to start living again.