|Awesome long sleeve tech shirt|
Friday, the night before the Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Run, my mind raced. My head was filled with all the usual banter, such as... " what am I going to wear" to " did I train enough for this"? I checked the weather and chose my gear carefully, disappointed that I would not get to rock my new pants, temps would not be cold enough. As I sat on my bed, I held my right ankle and pep talked it into one more run. I had "limped it along" for the last week and I was rewarded, my ankle did feel better. I was very disappointed when I rolled it two weeks ago. I promised my ankle plenty of ice, rest and a HUGE beer if it completed the 7.5 mile challenge.
The next morning I treated myself to some special coffee and a liquid breakfast of Sustained Energy. I was too excited to eat real food and knew forcing it down was not the answer. Last years race was my first time on the trail. Luckily I had several friends who were able to describe the course to me. Hills, they said. BIG F'in hills, they said. Just when you think you are done, you are NOT, they said. And then there's the stairs. Someone offered me this advice, "pace yourself on the uphills so that you can bomb down the downhills". Great advice. I did NOT take it. Yea, I learn the hard way. I left by 630 am, my little girl woke up early to give me a hug and tell me good luck.
This year I am going in to this race with three objectives. First, I planned on taking that advice. Be patient on the uphill battle and then let it loose on the downhill. Second, I really wanted to beat last years time. With the rain the night before I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. Hoping the trails aren't too muddy, don't want to twist an already weak ankle. Third, I will not miss my wave. Last year I missed my wave because I was chatting. Not the way I want to start my race this time, already behind.
I went to registration and received my number. It was supposed to be Laura Scherff's number. She was injured and sold it to me. Next year I hope to make registration before it sells out. The shirt they gave us is fantastic. You can never have enough long sleeve tech t-shirts. I finished off my coffee, wrapped my ankle and went for a short jog. Sh!t, I never tried the ankle brace in my trail shoes. There is no way I can run while wearing it. What now smartie pants??? In the end, I did the only thing I could do. I put on another pair of Team Seagal socks and told my ankle to HTFU.
|Found on the car next to me|
Even though I ran into SuperKate, I made my wave! Wave 14 went off at 9:37 exactly. I pushed play on my Ipod and ran, just ran. I had no idea of mileage or time since I left my Garmin on my dresser. I cursed myself for not having it however, it may have been a good thing. All I had to do was run, there would be no stress of constantly looking at time/mileage, just keep moving forward.
To my surprise, I paced myself up the hills and was able to go pretty fast down them. The mud kept me in a cautious state for the first half of the run. I didn't want mud to take away my chance of a finish even if my time had not improved. Something funny... I had no idea what to do with my arms while running the steep downhills. It felt like I was trying to fly down the hills, my arms were just flailing around. It must have looked ridiculous.
|Elvis was there|
I turned my music off several times during the race to get my breathing right. I don't always run to music and hoped it would give me an added boost and a faster pace. My Polk 1000's UltraFit Headphones were awesome as usual. They did not shift, move, or fall off during the entire run. I hardly knew they were there. The sound quality is amazing to boot.
The hills at Pere Marquette are truly amazing. They are steep, rocky, and ridiculously hard to run up. I paced myself through every one. I watched some runners effortlessly trot up hills, some with daddy long legs attack them like they were nothing, and others struggle terribly. I am not a natural runner by any means and would put myself somewhere in the middle. I did not struggle like last year but I still need work.
I start to recognize where I am at and a volunteer says "it is less than a mile". Oh boy.... Did I have anything left after that stupid sprint when I thought I was done? The answer is YES. I saw two people ahead of me. One was a guy in a kilt, there was no way I was gonna let him beat me. The other was a girl from my wave. We had been playing tag all day. I start to hear "Eye of the Tiger" in my head. Admit it, the song moves you too.
|Guy in kilt|
It was time to leave it all out there, so I did. I ran as fast as I could that last mile. My heart was pounding so loud and hard that I am sure the racers ahead of me heard it. The fella in the kilt stepped aside as he heard me coming. The lady also followed suit seeing I had the "eye of the tiger" look about me and was humming the song. As I rounded the corner I saw the time on the clock. I felt terrible immediately. I had not met my goal. It said 1:37:24. I thought I was going to throw up. How could I have worked so hard and still failed. Man, I suck! Then, I overheard a conversation and learned that I needed to subtract my seven minute starting time. Really? Hellyes!
My frown immediately turned upside down. I had beat my time from last year! Oh, what a big delicious beer I am going to have in celebration. This race was a complete success. Next year I go for the 1:20's.
|I WON this race. Had to be home by one.|
Even though I view this race a success, next year I will add one more thing to my objective list. For the past two races here I have showed up broken. Number four, Not be broken.