One Saturday this month I took on my first trail race. To say I was unprepared is probably the truest statement I can make. However, I had a freaking blast! I mean I am in love with zooming through the woods and hurtling down a trail with 275 other crazies and trying not to bust my ass and eat some gravel.
Friday night I was a nervous wreck, I barely ate dinner and didn’t sleep all that great. I kept thinking about what to expect. And surprisingly what I thought I was against was child’s play compared to what I went through. I’m so glad it was way different and way more fun than I ever could imagine.
Saturday I got up, ate about 2 spoonfuls of oatmeal and called it a morning. I literally could not eat or drink. Normally I can get about half my oatmeal down or more, and at least a full bottle of water. Nope that didn’t happen. I tend to get more nervous about new race distances and new terrain, I’m sure that is normal right? This was a new beast for me, I never ran on dirt and gravel trails. In Savannah, the park I always went to was half sidewalk and maybe .5 mile of compacted gravel.
As I was driving to the start, my nerves slowly started to disappear. The race started at 8:30 and it was smoking hot and humid. I had a goal in mind, times to chase, and dreams to achieve. (<– that would be a great book title or poster thing, right? ;) ) I started kinda close to the front. A definite first for me. The gun was off and I was running like the wind down and up a hill, and next thing I knew I was literally barreling down a path at high speeds and loving every second!
Mile 1 down in 9:30, feeling awesome and mile 2 9:15, and then BAM! Left leg went right into a trail pot-hole and my knee and entire leg twisted. The pain was intense. But I was so dizzy from adrenaline and heat that I didn’t pay attention until I literally was in crippling pain. I ran/walked to the end and saw my time.
2. 85 miles in 33:08. Devastation took over. I wanted to run it in 27 minutes. I failed on my goal. But I wasn’t that surprised by it. I was shocked that I still managed to place 3rd in my age group. I got a medal and everything, one I throughly earned (even though each medal is a medal earned, this time I was really racing for it) and that lifted my spirits.
During the race I knew I was in trouble. I never once thought about elevation changes. It never occurred to me that the trail path would be heavily rooted and holes scattered everywhere. So when these challenges came at me head on, I panicked. That panic brought on so many different obstacles that I didn’t even pay attention to where I was stepping (or lack there of) when my leg twisted. But none of that mattered when I saw I got 3rd. Instead, I was like, “Hell yeah! I’m so getting 1st next year!”
I am now hooked on it. I loved every single second of it. Completely under the trail running spell and I am looking into trail shoes, etc.
Look at that mud showing my hard work, I was thrilled with this!
I am so proud of my little bronze medal, I couldn’t be more happy with any other outcome.