I like to start my posts off with something funny or catching so that you, the reader, might actually hang around for another sentence or two. I am having a hard time starting this one off. I am quite literally that speechless about what I did on Saturday. In my previous post I stated I had signed up for back to back races. It was time to reap what I had sown.
Back to the North Shore trail around Lake Clinton in Lawrence for me. It wasn’t just the chill in the 5 AM air that had me shaking, I was nervous. The race the week before had shattered any semblance of confidence I had in what I was about to do. I did take solace in knowing I learned a lot the week before. Eat, drink, pace yourself, be smart. I kept going over that in my head. I took time to go watch the ultra-runners take off for a little extra inspiration. Something about seeing the headlamps dive into the woods like a pack of fireflies was pretty awesome. After that, it was watching the sun rise over the lake that really started getting me amped and ready to go. By the time we were lining up to start. I was anxious to get going. I felt ready.
|This really has nothing to do with the race other than... JESUS LOOK AT THAT THING. I better run FAST lest I get eaten...|
This race was completely different from the one before. First of all, the weather was amazing. We started in the low 50’s. A nice cool breeze blew for most of the day. Even at the end it as warm but not “I could catch fire if I trip and hit the ground” hot. It was awesome. As we took off the sun was rising, the mist was lifting, was really quite the sight to behold.
For me, cause of my terminal case of stupidity, it was imperative that I start in the back. This would keep my ability to go galloping forward to a minimum. The marathoners started with a little out and back loop through what looked like a nature preserve trail. Easy stuff, single file, CONGA LINE!!!! The group kept me in my place pretty well. Next up was Saunders Mound, a little uphill/downhill with a cool top and a cooler view. More conga line preventing my poor pacing decisions. Finally things started to open up and I had the opportunity to show my true colors and outrun myself. Lo and behold, I stayed put. I fell in behind a couple nice ladies that didn’t mind me stomping and clomping behind them (thank you). They were going about the right pace for me not to shoot myself in the foot. I should probably mention right now that my goal was under 6.5 hours. I had no idea what I should expect and I was rather skittish after the week before and it’s, um, horror?
So apparently I can be taught. I was running within myself. About 5 min of every hour was spent walking. The course wasn’t chock full of hills, so some time was just spent walking of my own volition. It was nice. It was peaceful, and what the course lacked in hills in made up for in good views. The shore line of the lake was magnificent. That was also the hardest part as far as rocks go. It was easy going honestly. I was gliding. It was about 11 miles in that I broke off from the people I was tailing. This was also one of the coolest parts of the course. It was circling up a hill with a bunker (or some structure) built in the side, hence the name bunker hill. At the top we could see across the whole lake/park area. It was exhilarating.
Bunker hill was sandwiched between rest stops. It should be mentioned that the Hawk had amazing aid stations. The food and drink were varied and plentiful. The people were amazing. I got my pack felt up one two occasions to make sure I wasn’t lying about my water situation. The best though was definitely the awesome lady who threatened to give me “angry mother eyes” if I wasn’t eating anything and that she would find me if I wasn’t telling the truth. Ahh, nothing says caring volunteers like motherly threats to eat. They knew me well.
Coming out of those stops I was about 14 miles in. I felt good, I was pacing well. Then something happened that has never happened to me up til this point. I fell. I was cruising along thinking about lots of things and nothing at the same time when that ghost root snagged me. Down I went, leaving an offering of blood to the trail gods. But thankfully no one saw me so it never happened. Back on the move I went. And on to the last Aid station.
I had been glancing at my watch from time to time, seeing how I was doing. I was pleased at my time relative to how I felt. Now here I was, about 5 miles from home and pacing well ahead of where I thought I would be. This was a jolt. I took off and ran and ran and ran. It was exhilarating. So exhilarating that when I came to the turn off to go cross the finish line I ran right past it. It wasn’t until I hit a volunteer about a third of a mile ahead that I realized what I had done and backtracked. Back to the turn, out and around the parking lot and down the finish line I streaked. It was…indescribable the feeling of crossing the finish line. The race director asked me how I liked it as he handed me my medal. “Incredible” was all I could think to say. I had done it, and in 5.5 hours no less. This was a high point for me. First marathon completed and conquered the trail that whipped me the week before. I even managed to play it relatively smart (minus the running right past the turnoff).
|It would appear the bright green repels SUV sized spider monsters. Well done Trail Hawks.|