Becoming One with the Trail Half Marathon

I was so excited about this race. I”ve done it a couple of times, I know what to expect. It’s very difficult but the race support is phenomenal. I didn’t have anyone there with me which is a bummer. I love finishing and having someone cheering me on, sharing in the moment but it was nice that I at least knew several people there.

This is Matt. He works with my daughter at Reno Running Company. He is about half my age and about half my speed!! He holds the record in this half

Me pre race.

It was beautiful out.  The race started at about 60*, very little wind, sunny skies.  I decided to wear my hot pink compression socks, blue flame gaiters by Dirty Girl Gaiters, skirt by Running Skirts, my Sparkly Soul headband, and OF COURSE my sports bra by BodyRock Sport my favorite running company!!  The gun sounded and we were off!!  The last time I ran this I did it in 2:37.  Tough, tough, wonderful, rocky, hilly course.  In the first 7.5 miles there’s a gain in elevation of 2800 feet, all trail, mostly single track.

The race is a lot of single track on the side of the mountain and winding up. Amazing views and amazing drop off.

A couple weeks ago I went into Reno Running Company and had my daughter, Bri do a gait analysis.  I’ve never had trouble before but it was interesting to be checked.  Bri told me, “Mom you’re perfect.  In this area…”  Not sure what she means by that…  I told Chris and he said I have perfect running form.  Posture, alignment.  His words I believe were, “You look amazing when you run”.  Thank you very much!!  Well, let me tell you, none of that matters when you fall….

At mile 1.4 – just finding my groove and heading up the mountain on the above trail with a steep drop-off, I ate it HARD!!  I’m glad I didn’t roll down the hill too far.  It was a scary place to face plant.  My entire left side was muddy and bloody.  The cap flew off my water bottle and all my water dumped.  I was one hurtin’ unit.  I got up, dusted off, quickly assessed myself and kept going.  The first aid station was in another mile and I knew both men there.  They refilled me, wiped me down a little, high fived me and sent me on my way.  I admit, I was shaken, discouraged, felt stupid.  My water bottle hung in there the entire race but the cap is broken.

The second aid station was 2 miles later.  I must have looked beat up because the first aid guy there told me to sit down, washed me off more, put antiseptic all over me.  All I was thinking was that this was going to interfere with my time.  It was all superficial and I really just wanted to go.  Another man – about 80 years old and shaking – told me he wanted to put a bandaid on my hand.  He was so sweet and of course I let him.  I refilled my water and headed off.  The bandaid didn’t last 200 yards but it was nice to have someone help, even if I didn’t feel like I needed it.

I was at about mile 4.5 at that point.  From there I started to feel good and by mile 6 I had found my groove.  Around mile 6.5 I started assessing my injuries a little more and realized that I quite possibly broke my hand right below my pinky.  I was pretty swollen.  Nothing else specifically bothered me, I just felt banged up.  A woman I passed asked how I was feeling, if I was hurt badly.  I told her I had so much adrenaline surging through me at that point I didn’t feel a thing!  Maybe ask me tomorrow.  She said she was surprised I kept going.  I told her, “Well, after this fall I’m going to hurt tomorrow.  I’d prefer it if I hurt and finished the race as opposed to dropping out”.  I wanted to improve my time so I concentrated on the people in front of me and passing them:  Pink tank top; done.  Blue t-shirt; done.  Pink skirt; done….  I knew between the fall and the two aid stations I had lost 10-15 minutes.  I also knew the biggest hill was coming at mile 7.5.

Right before the biggest hill there’s an aid station.  Every time I’ve run this race they’ve had watermelon.  Nectar from the running gods for sure!  I was feeling a little tired but mostly the battle was mental.  I was struggling between wanting my time to have been under 2:15 and pushing myself and just being grateful I was there.  “It’s beautiful out.  This is a fantastic race.  You are able to run, even banged up.  There are so many people who can’t.  You watched that woman die last Tuesday, this setback is nothing.  You’re going to finish so who cares what your time is.”  But I felt stupid for falling, embarrassed, disappointed.  I’m competitive against myself and I really wanted to see what I could have done in the way of improving my time from previous years.  I was a mental wreck.  So I concentrated on getting to that aid station and eating watermelon.  Finally I saw it!!  When I got there, they also tried to stop me but I told them I’d already seen the first aid guy and it was no big deal.  They gave me aspirin, filled my water bottle and when I looked – there was no watermelon.  Don’t get me wrong they had Tums, aspirin, salt tabs (this is a 50K and 50 miler as well as a half marathon so the aid stations are stocked!), pb&j, pretzels, candy, etc..  It’s a running buffet.  But no watermelon.  So I kept going.

As I headed up that big, nasty hill I finally broke down.  I cried nearly the entire quarter mile.  I hadn’t really cried about the accident Chris and I witnessed and seeing the 31 year old woman die, didn’t cry when I fell, haven’t cried about my change in job locations but the watermelon finally did me in.  It was dumb and by the top I had gotten my act together and felt like a new person.  Just past the top there’s another aid station.  Again, I told them I didn’t need help.  Again, no watermelon.  Now the most difficult part of the race is over and I only had 5 miles to go.

This is where I felt fantastic.  Sore, yes, but thankfully not terrified of falling again.  Not at all actually.  It’s a lot of downhill which I love and instead of passing turquoise shirt I just stayed with her.  At mile 11 I realized the day was wearing on me but still felt pretty good.  The loop ends up going back to the #2 aid station and then taking a different route to the finish.  So I saw all my guys that patched me up.  They clapped and cheered and asked how I felt.  “Bummed about my time but otherwise enjoying myself!”  And they had watermelon!!!  I took two and kept going.  And I thanked them.  Profusely.

At mile 12 my calf was threatening to cramp up so (of course) I talked to it.  “Come on little buddy, we can do this.  One mile left.  Hang in there”.  It must have worked because the calf didn’t cramp completely.  I also checked my time and realized I could make it under 2:30 which I was excited about.   And then the finish was there.  Up ahead.  I finished in 2:29.  68th out of 161 and 9th in my age division.  I did PR the course although I didn’t hit my goal of 2:15.  But I finished.  When the race directors looked at me they told me that they pay to have REMSA there and to please go get checked.  So I did.  They just washed me off more and bandaged me up.  It was silly.  There was a nurse there who was fabulous.  She did the race and was there from Canada.  A doctor came and checked my hand and said it was probably a compression fracture but on that tiny bone there’s nothing that can really be done so to watch it for a few days and it should start feeling better.  The doctor and nurse that were at the race helped more than REMSA but it was all good.

My REMSA guy! Is he like 15 or is it just me??

The shoulder. My arm is scraped up all the way down.  I was surprised when I got home and showered.  Which, incidentally, hurt like crazy!

The knee. Today this hurts the most (except for my hand which is extremely sore)

I don’t think my injuries look bad in the pics but I had been cleaned up three times by the time we took these.  I got a quick bite to eat and left all bandaged up.

Me ready to go!!

Before heading home, I stopped to see my daughter Bri who ran a 5K at the same time I was running this.  She felt blah for her race so we hugged and chatted, took the bandages off and checked me over.  It was great seeing her especially since she’s the child that’s gotten dragged volunteered to go to all my races and be my cheering squad.  Then home, a shower, a lot of neosporin and when Chris got home from work I got to blab.  He cooked and cleaned up.  We cuddled and I felt much better.  I slept OK and today feel battered and bruised all over but good. Thankful.  Things don’t always turn out the way we want them to, but that’s fine….  There’s another race in two weeks….

0 thoughts on “Becoming One with the Trail Half Marathon”

  1. What a day! I am so glad you are OK!!! 🙂 You did your best with success to keep great spirits throughout. That is AWESOME! I had to chuckle about the watermelon, because it sounds like something I would totally do!! 🙂 Rest up girl….2 more weeks and you are back at it again!

    1. Marcia, only a kindred spirit would completely understand!! I’m resting, healing (how is it possible I feel sore in all the places I do??!!) I’m setting my sights forward and just happy to have had the experience. Even when crappy things happen, it’s a great experience!! Still PR’d by 8 minutes!!

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