Saturday 3/29 - Sunrise: Not sure of the time but I was up. Actually I was up way before. We left the house at 3:05. Got to the run at 5:15. It was me, Caroline, Bubba and the race director. A very friendly and excited man who told us where to park. If it was light out I would have objected but since it was dark I never saw the signs on the wooden boxes we parked next to. It wasn't until 7:35 when I was doing some yoga that I realized we parked right next to the fish cleaning bins. Thankfully it was cold.
The start time arrived. I was a little nervous which surprised me. I thought I would be jumping out of my skin beside myself nervous but I wasn't. My stomach rolled around for about 5 minutes and then I was good. Yikes, the last time I felt this way was Boston. Hmmm.
We listened to a brief talk on the race course, thanked the volunteers and then we were off. It was chilly for sure but sunny and we felt no wind. The elevation change was immediate, 50 yards out of the parking lot and we were met by our first hill. We went up, we went down, we went up and then down. After doing this about 4 times we finally went up and stayed paralell for a while and then went down. The course was very well marked with white paint markings on the trees. And the mile markers were bright yellow dixie plates with numbers in the center that were tacked to tree trunks. You couldn't site the run by following the paint markings for too long though because it was easy to lose your footing on the unstable ground. This was definitely a challenge.
I felt extremely calm running out there. I don't know what I did to get that way, maybe it was the lack of sleep. When I started out I decided I wasn't going to race. It was my first time running a long distance on a trail and burn out can sneak up on you. In retrospect I wish I did push myself a little more. My goal was to keep the same pace on all 3 loops. I came close on my first 2 laps and then fell a little short on the third. I changed my shoes and socks after 20 miles and used the facilities so I know that added a couple extra minutes from the first to second lap.
The best parts of the day
Noticing a huge mushroom on the trail - there was no way I could take a picture of it. It was between mile 1 and 2 and I was still in the starting pac of runners. I hoped it would be there the second time but it was trampled into nothingness and gone by the time I reached the spot.
The plank - I think it might be one of those "you had to be there stories" - I ran with Caroline who is a good 10+ pounds lighter than me - I ran across the plank first and then hear the plank crash back into the water and Caroline gasp. I was just waiting to see her fly in front of me. Luckly she had the presence of mind not get on until I was off. We had to stop running cause we were laughing so hard.
The laughter - there was a lot of it. On the 3rd loop an older gentleman told us were talking way to much to be on our 3rd loop. I took it as a compliment.
Skiing down the mud on my feet and not FALLING! Oh yeah, that was worth the price of the race!
Giving into just running through the mud. It was all good after that. :)
The wind changing direction from the 2nd loop to the third
I was asking myself at mile 29 if I was ready for 20 more. I know I am mentally. Which is so odd because it's usually the other way around. Physically I'm ready while my mind beats the demons away. If you saw me walking today you would know why I'm no so sure about being ready physically. :) I'll heal. :) :)