One of the best parts of that adventure was getting to spend a Friday night with my very old friend (as in, I've known him for years) Reverend Camden...I mean Rev. Craig, and his lovely wife Pamela. The power of the social media and blogging - we've "met" on this platform sometime in January 2006, and had been following each other since, with a personal meeting thrown in, and then Craig, being a Minister of Baptist Church, had married Larry and I back 4 years ago...and our conversations had always been meaningful and non-judgmental. I know it is off topic, but it is as important part of my life as running is, if not more - sharing my soul with friends, real people, and he is one good person. I was writing to him when Alex was going through boarding schools, when I was deciding to end my previous marriage, when I was dating Larry and unsure about the future steps...Craig was the right choice to be at our "little" wedding ceremony, and with life being overwhelming lately, we were due a good talking session. Which lasted well past my bedtime, and with a race start at 5:30 am and a drive time, I got all of 3 hrs of sleep - but the conversation was worth every minute of it.
I arrived to the start at 4:30am, checked in in a fuzzy state (as I explained later to a few people trying to talk to me, in general, I am a very morning person, but on a race morning, it's like my body shuts down and doesn't talk/react/walk as if it preserves itself for the task ahead). I took a nap in the car, scrambled out at 5:15am for some pre-race chat, and strapped my headlamp on...
|Nice and humid morning, actually, the temps were ok, it's the water in the air...|
|2,600 feet of gain per my Garmin.|
I grabbed my leg and hobbled. The walked. The pain didn't go anywhere, and I was limping so badly, I didn't dare to try and run. A few more folks passed me as we turned the corner into start/finish area and end of our loop #1. I bent over my cooler for a bottle exchange and limped out. David H., the RD, was standing there, and as he saw me, his face got longer, and he was like "Are you sure?". Well, yeah, not only my light was dead, as were my legs, and my stomach did not cooperate, I pulled a hammy! But, no, it's nothing serious, I don't think so, and I can walk a loop to see what's in the future. So, I walked out and slowly broke into a jog.
Mr. Joe H. caught up with me, and we conversed for the next 2 miles, and I felt obligated to keep up so the conversation would flow. It was extremely great to have company that took my mind of the first bouts of pain when it was at its worst, and he was so sweet calling me "Miss Olga" - I could listen to it forever and answer questions about 100 milers!
|With Joe H.|
|Conga line with Joe and Shelley.|
|Climbing one of the many ladders.|
I saw David again after that loop, and he asked me what's the verdict. I said - I'll keep going! (His response: Only because I know you know what you're doing). The first 2 loops were run in one direction, and the next one were in opposite, what means coming in I saw folks ahead of me, counted girls (and first gal was flying right after the first guy!), figured I am 5th, so no pressure! What I said to David, as well - Now I can relax and just stroll.
As I was leaving for the last loop, and David, again, being all worried, asked me if I need anything, I yelled out - Ibuprofen! I know he doesn't carry it for the race (and I know of the opinions of taking it swirling around, and I don't care), but I was hoping someone would hear me. Jeremy Day did! He said "I wouldn't recommend it, but I have a bottle in my car..." Yes! Run, get me - as I dusted out. He was - No, car this way - so I had to make my way to the car (pretty close by, I have to be honest), gave me 4 Vit I (Praise God!), and I literally bolted out! I was on high even before the effects hit - Central Governor and all!
And soon after - I pass a guy, another guy, and see a silhouette of Shelley! At first I get into "hunting mode", and keep my reins in as I slowly get closer...But as I even out with her, and exchange a few sentences ("Your stride looks so much better now than before" - "Thanks, I got some Ibuprofen, and I also adjusted it to a very short one, and he hamstring behaves a bit better"), we feel into stride to stride and kept on talking. About her 50k at Palo Duro last year and the same one up coming in October, about her mountain biking past and some knee problems...and at some point I offer we should try and finish together, it was so much fun! I was beginning to feel the pull of an endurance runner though, growing stronger, and she seemed to be a little more working, but we stayed together for 2 miles, until I pulled on a downhill just before AS with 2M to go.
|Last awesome downhill before AS.|
|Opening up and felling like a runner again!|
And I did walk and did eat a gel - but then the pull of the finish line, that "smelling the barn" was just too strong. I looked over the shoulder, saw Shelley walking back, and began jogging, then actually running up the incline.
|Grinding last 1M incline.|
So, I ended up being 4th female, and even snatching a goody gift bag as first 40+ lady - which I technically wasn't, but in EBuzz races you can't double-dip, and other (much faster) old ladies got the podium bags.
There was food, MASSAGE!, lots of chatting, a couple of my clients running, meeting David's wife and cutest children (it's a family enterprise!), and I had to leave (unfortunately) to massage my own clients (dreaming of a massage of my own!).
I highly enjoyed the event, and am looking forward doing his next one in September. The trails were perfect, and while I wouldn't fathom going for more than 4 loops, for that distance, with reverse direction, and IN THE TEXAS SUMMER - it worked great. Soft dirt, lots of roots, even more steps, but NO ROCKS (I am not a rock fan, and that's one of about 100 reasons I don't like Texas running:)). Come check this gem out!
And while you're at it, high-five a couple kids, and tell David to hug better! :) That was one thing I wanted to tell this awesome budding RD - a tighter hug. But I think it comes with the fact he is young and not so squeeze as we, grizzly, are. Besides, it IS summer in TX, and the stinking drench is pretty bad:)
And now, a thanks go out to BRL Sports and their EnduraFual I took a bottle of on loop 2 and a bottle for recovery. VFuel gels I consumed every 30 minutes.
I ran in Pearl Izumi N1 shoes and at this point am unsure how I like them (not good, not bad - just not certain). My favorite Nike lucky shorts, and a sports bra I picked at the Ross discount store a brand of which I have no clue about, but on this run I found out it had pockets on the side! At first I got excited and thought: for gels? garbage? ice? But then it dawned on me, this bra, when I bought it, had those boob-inserts I discarded before even leaving the store (who needs extra boobs for running??), and that is what those pockets for...May be the idea is not that bad!