Sunday, August 14, 2011

Twilight Trail 8K Race (My Eleanor)

For those of you that have seen the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds" you know what I am referring to when I call this 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!!!!


Janet Edwards said...

Holy that is a PR!!!! Way to bring the Hammer!

E-Speed said...

You did great girlie! PR on minimal training :) Can't beat that!