Sunday, August 14, 2011
Twilight Trail 8K Race (My Eleanor)
Every year that I have run this race, I have barely made it up th big hill only to blow up. Hell, I have even thrown-up throughout the race sometimes and always at the end.
This year I hoped it would be different. I wanted a PR, but more importantly I wanted to do the course like a progression run with each mile getting faster, until I was at all out effort coming into the finish (not the first mile).
I had only been running about 10-15 mpw and knew I needed to get back into the groove of things, work or no work, this couch potaot/lazy ass BS had to come to an end (I'm not really lazy, work just sucks up a minimum of 48 hours/week now).
I jumped on the treadmill a little before noon and did 3 easy miles, then did some upper body and core training for about 20 minutes. I ate and waited for 5:00 pm to come, trying to get caught up on laundry, blogging and cleaning up in general. I almost chickened out, but somehow made the drive, 2 detours and all to the start. I was really early, hoping the race had not filled up and I could still get in. I even donated an extra $5, since the race proceeds go for such a great cause (Cleveland Rape Crisis Center).
I decided to run an easy 3 mile warm-up 1/2 road, 1/2 trails with my headphones on full blast. I felt a little warm with my shirt on, but my legs didn't feel dead as per there usual at this race. E-speed passed me on my warm-up pointing to her ears, later telling me that she had been screaming at me, but I hadn't even heard her (I know IMPOSSIBLE right?).
Almost forgot to spray myself with bug spray before the start, but caught my mistake with about 5 minutes to go before the start. I lined up in the middle of my age group. I also had my headphones on. I felt I needed to be able to drown out everything around me and get it done today. I know 'phones are a sin in some groups and I never wear them when I race, but today I was going to break the rules. I had every intention of going out nice and easy, too slow if need be. Nothing mattered but keeping my heart rate low and surviving the first 2 miles.
God, I was so nervous I was going to mess this race up like every other year that when the horn sounded I almost didn't move. I trotted through the grass, trying not to pass people and go out too hard. We hit the woods and before I knew it, we were crossing the stream me, daisy, twizzle (and of course e-speed too) had foolishly jumped in, on an all girls Halloween run a few years ago. It was much shallower and I opted to ford it in a different spot than most of the racers (didn't even get my feet wet).
The big hill was next. I was going slow enough still. I was breathing easy, but just the thought of the hill stressed me out as I ran. I started up the hill nice and easy, slowing as the effort increased until I felt I was working too hard and then I WALKED. To hell with this hill I thought. I have run it before and it kills me. I watched person after person pass me on the steepest part and kept wondering what the hell was wrong with me, why couldn't I do that. I got to the top and started running again and then it happened. Many of those people that had run up the hill started coming back to me and I FELT GREAT!! I felt like I had just started running. I upped my effort a little for the second mile, but not too much as it is rolling but a little uphill. Mile 2 came and went and now it was time to up the effort even more.
I was getting passed by guys but no women. I was the one passing other women today. My form felt relaxed and I was picking up my feet, no shuffling yet. My tunes just kept me jamming along and before I knew it the big hill I normally run up was in my sights. I went down it quickly but safely, EE caught me and went careening down it a little wrecklessly with his hands flailing in the air trying to slow himself down and overcorrect for taking the first turn too wide.
I grabbed some water at the aid station and worked my way up to Squire's Castle and could feel my right calf turning to what felt like cement. Oh No!! I had less than a mile and I was running out of gas. My legs had covered 10 miles today and had, had enough. Blah! It had been awhile since my mental self had pulled out a can of whoop ass on my physical self and with a 5+ minute PR looming within my grasp, I let the beating commence. I mentally told myself to keep at it and to not back down (I used a lot of obscenities at this point) and I thought e-speed may be somewhere up ahead to drag me along, ensuring my inability to back down. Lo' and behold a little after mile 4 there she was. I let her pull and push me along, trying to give it a little gas on the downhills. She was talking to me, but I couldn't hear a thing. It didn't matter I was glad to have some human lightning at my side. She pulled off right before I exited the woods and I gave her a thumbs-up as I pulled away from her.
There was a girl about 200 meters ahead and I was able to close the gap a little, but the legs were so tired and for the first time in a long time I ran with everything I had through the grass, cursing in my head the whole way. I felt slower than ever and there seemed to be a hundred cones between me and the damn STOP line. I told myself somewhere deep in that pansy ass was one more gear and I could go faster. I did and it got me to the line. I staggered through. Spit on the ground and thought "Hell Yeah!!" I finally completed this race successfully. My time was still weak, but I finally knew I had defeated my Eleanor. I had beaten the course today. It had hurt me, but I had run it as planned.
Splits via my Garmin: (I even tried to cut the corners and run the tangents and still ran over 5 miles!!)
Mile 1: 9:37
Mile 2: 8:29
Mile 3: 8:11
Mile 4: 7:59
Mile 5: 8:05
189 ft. 0:16
Total Time: 42:39, Pace 8:19 (I like what my Garmin says much better)
OFFICIAL TIME: 42:37, Pace 8:42 (6 min 4 second PR)
I am a very weak trail runner as you can see. I just don't have overalll good general strength to handle that type of terrain, but I am committing myself to run trails more often and learn. I may never be a mountain goat, but here goes nothing. I got you now Eleanor!!!!