This morning I raced a cold, misty trail half-marathon. (more on that later!) After the race I found myself standing next to someone whom I hadn’t seen or raced with in a very, very long time. This person is just a great, all around runner-athlete, and he said something that apparently I needed to hear. He said, “Heather, I check your blog every so often and it seems like you haven’t written anything in a really long time. What’s the deal?” I did a little song and dance about being very busy, and then I said,”You know, I really miss writing. Maybe I should update my blog soon.” And he said that I should, and that this race would be a perfect starting point. For whatever reason, that was just the little push I needed to actually sit down and write something. So thanks, EL! I needed that.
First, The Race:
Friday I was sitting at work, going through my email, when something occurred to me. Was I supposed to have plans for the weekend? Wasn’t there something big I needed to do? To be more precise, was there something important I needed to do other than laundry, dishes, and bills? I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew that there was something about November 5th that was important. And then it hit me. I was supposed to run a trail 1/2 marathon on Saturday… Well, CRAP!!
How does one forget something as important as a half-marathon?? It happens when one is particularly feather-brained when it comes to scheduling. In my professional career I am a project manager where so much of my job revolves around dates and deadlines. When it comes to my personal life, it appears that I can’t be bothered with such trivial things such as dates. Way back in July, one of my running buddies told me about the race and said that there entry was limited to 500 runners and the race fee was only $25. I signed up on a whim and promptly filed the information about the race to the very very back of my brain. There the thought lingered for months and only surfaced in fleeting, rare thoughts I had about the future. Weird how that happens.
So, that is how my race prep went. By that I mean that there was no race prep. My training has been terrible for months (more on that later). I’ve been running, but I’ve been pretty lazy and unfocused. But instead of bowing out of the race I decided to go for it. Training be damned, I thought, this race was only $25 and they said there would be waterfalls. Training or no training, I decided I was in.
I woke up at 5:15. Took a shower, brushed my teeth, made a bucket of coffee and prepped my gear for the race. I was out the door by 6:15 and on the road. Of course, I got lost twice on the way to Silverton, but no matter. That is why I like to carpool.
I arrived at the race venue with an EXTREMELY full bladder thanks to my bucket of coffee. I bee-lined right for the ladies room. There was no electricity in the building so I had the luxury of peeing in the dark. Awesome. At least there was soap in the dispenser! I grabbed my race bib from the table and beelined in right back to the relative warmth of my car. I didn’t warm up. I didn’t stretch. I pinned my number on and called it good.
My expectations for the race were modest to say the least: have fun, see some waterfalls, don’t die. The description of the race was tantalizing. It was a trail race through some of the most epic of Northwest waterfalls. In all, we would run by, through, around, behind, and over 10 or so waterfalls. With such a description I couldn’t be anything but excited. The race director lined us up, gave us some last minute instructions which I didn’t listen to. The air gun went off and the pack sprang forth.
Miles 1-3: Easy Peasy! The first few miles were on pavement so that we could spread out before hitting the single track. My early miles were awesome, considering my lack of training. 7:30’s all around!
Miles 5-6: Things were a bit harder. We hit the single track where we raced through mild up’s and downs. Weren’t there supposed to be waterfalls?!
Mile 6.5: First gigantic waterfall. Did not disappoint! It was huge and very waterfall-y. The trail glided downward and I had to pay more attention to my footing than the awesome scenery.
Mile 7-10: More waterfalls. More awesome
Mile 9ish-10… Staircase to hell. Seriously. Stairs forever!!
Mile 10-12: Yay. No stairs, but also no waterfalls.
Mile 12.5: Last big effort up the last big hill which kills all hope of finishing “strong”!
As a side note: EL ran an impressive 1:39:34. Must try to run again with him soon!