Sunday, February 1, 2015

Run For Regis Half Marathon

It has been nearly 6 months since my accident and my awesome doc had encouraged me to start working out, but to take it slow, not push myself too hard and listen to my body.  My knee is still not healed and it swells after lots of time on my feet, but I am incapable of not working out and having fun. 
All that said, I wanted to try running again and I thought as long I was careful not to fall, the trails might be a little more forgiving than the pavement.  I signed myself up for the Winter Run for Regis half marathon the day it opened. 
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I even talked one of my co-workers, BE who is quite a good trail runner (the girl can run down hills like she's flying!) into trail running with me in prep for this.  We hit up a few of the CRTR runs on Thursday nights and met a few times at Ledges to run the actual course.  I slipped sometimes.  I fell sometimes.  I got muddy sometimes.  I suffered sometimes, but I always enjoyed myself and got better and better.

Race morning finally came and I was so nervous, my back would hurt or my knee would ache or I'd fall on my bad wrist, or I'd just not be able to cover the distance or a million other things, like forgetting my pre-race breakfast (a banana) on the counter.

It was cold!  I thought even with my bunz on under my tights, yep I'm gonna freeze my ass.  I did absolutely no warm-up figuring 2-3 hours on the trails would be plenty of running.  I lined up by TriSaraTops in the middle.  My only plan was not to die and survive this thing.  There were a lot of runners for single track (over 100 runners).  We were to run the orange loop (8.4) then the green (4.7).

This was by far the slowest and most comfortable start to a race I have ever experienced.  It was awesome.  No one was too crazy about getting going (those people -- pretty much all my awesome teammates were already up at the front from the get-go).  We were running the loop backwards from what I knew of it so we were going to get a big downhill and then climb.  I did end up passing a few people through that section as they had chosen to gingerly make their way down!  I comfortably sat on person after person passing only when there was an opening or they looked like they were slowing on the climbs.  I forced myself not to run any of the big hills in the beginning for fear I'd blow myself up after the first hour.  I figured I'd run 11:30-12:00/mile so I had to be patient.

I latched on to AC for a few miles and let her pull me through.  She was stronger on the uphills, but after telling myself to relax, see where I wanted to go on the DH and just mimic the ground I let go of the brakes (aka my quads and just bombed down the hills).  I slipped only twice and went down, but was perfectly fine.  I had my headphones with me, but I had told myself to just run under control to the first aid station very comfortably and had been enjoying the chat with AC.  We hit the first station, which was at Pine Hollow at the top of the "Sound of Music" hill around 50-55 minutes.  I took a gel and some Gatorade (no time to dawdle, it was after all a race).

We headed back into the woods and I took a glance at my Garmin.  I was running 10:30-11:00 minutes.  I got a little excited thinking I might actually be able to finish this mother in under 2:30!  We started passing a few people again and then I ended up next to AC and then in front of her.  Around 5-5.5 miles I felt I had reached the point where I was on my own.  I popped my headphones in and just started focusing on staying under control and relaxing.  I looked around at the trees and one by one runners kept coming back to me.  I felt amazing!  I just kept saying "on your left" and "Morning" as I passed by.  Most everyone said "hello" and moved out of the way and some even said I looked strong -- Woot!!  I wasn't trying to kill myself and I.WAS.HAVING.FUN.IN.A.RACE!   I had to smile.  I've always been mentally tough about pushing myself and suffering, but I have never felt this centered and calm.  I had worked a lot on my mental game and focusing on doing things that scared me and picturing myself doing the task without fail in my head.  I was afraid it would make me cocky or conceited but it's not that at all.  It's the confidence in my training, skill and mental strength to "do it more better" as HB always tells me that is making the once thought impossible, now possible.  Part of it is thanks to "the #ZenDHMaster," SD as I jokingly call him.  He's forced me to see how to focus on accomplishing the task at hand and being confident about it and accepting that "falling down" is gonna happen but it can be minimized, cause when I make it, it's a whole lot of fun and even at times one hell of a rush.  I felt great coming into the next aid station.  Holy crap, I only had 4.7 miles left and I would have run my longest and hardest trail race ever!

I headed out for my green loop and  realized it was gonna be fast going out and the last mile was gonna be by far the hardest and all uphill with boulders to run/climb over.  I lost the markers twice and was unsure where to go, but a photographer or another runner was there to point me in the right direction each time.  I pushed a little through the last couple miles to compensate for the hellish climb out I knew would be coming.  I was so relieved to be the runner still running and enjoying the race and not the one in survival mode barely moving forward.  Just as I thought the last mile was hard.  I had gotten a blister on my left arch and my legs were starting to get tired.  I passed a lot of runners going out which meant I must have been in the front half of the racers.  I  pushed up to the Octagon where there was food and warm dry clothes.  I felt great and finished my first race of 2015.  I had done more than survive I had destroyed my goal....... maybe this trail stuff (be it on a bike or foot) isn't as bad as I had once thought.

Total Time: 2:16:29

Managed to finish 19/116 overall (keep in mind 4 of the people that beat me were my own teammates -- HOLLA for TBH!!!!)
7th women overall
5th in my AG. 
Runner's were still finishing when I took this, but I was cold and had to roll!

Team Bicycle Hub cleaned up today at this Race!!

Cash (EP) won the 50K
Ghost (KL) finished 4th OA
Daisy finished 5th OA and won the women's half (her sister took 2nd for the women too)
Return of the Mack was 7th OA
Marsassy was 11th OA
JT finished 23rd OA, just behind me
JC rolled through a solid 8.4 miles with a bad foot.

And the race schwag was really sUweeeet!!!