Musings on Marathons {and why I’m going beyond}

I distinctly remember a conversation Bryan and I had shortly after I ran my first few half marathons. He asked when I thought I would want to run a full and I was like – um, not for a long, long time. Not because I didn’t WANT to, but because it seriously scared the shit out of me. I was still terrified of 13 miles, why would he ever think I was mentally prepared to even sign up for a full? (Side note: you’re never going to be “ready” and that’s the whole freaking point.)

Like, a few weeks laterish, I did sign up. I honestly wanted to vomit. I was at work and got immediately hot and sweaty after I clicked submit. I texted all my closest friends and family and told them what a huge, terrible decision I had just made. And it was still over 9 months away! That’s the type of fear that was struck within me at merely signing up. When I thought about it at all I would feel physically ill.

Fast forward those 9 months (like I had a baby or something, ha! In hindsight, something WAS born that day…) to the actual race. The night before I couldn’t even remotely sleep. I went through what I needed to bring over and over and over. I endlessly worried about what to eat before, during, and after the race. I checked to make sure my Garmin was charged no less than a dozen times. Probably more than that because #DATA obvs (can’t agonize over each mile split if my watch dies). I ran the race. I was elated. I was irrevocably HOOKED.

Awhile after that, Bryan asked me when I thought marathons would stop making me nervous (because I now didn’t feel like I might die at the start of every half and actually became fairly comfortable with the distance fairly soon) and I probably laughed right in his face. Who just doesn’t get nervous before a marathon? That seems like, literally not even possible.

I ran my next marathon a little over 6 months after the first. It didn’t go how I wanted and also the weather wasn’t on my side. This time, when I finished, there weren’t tears of elation in the slightest, there were actual tears of pain. Not because of an injury or anything. The first thing I said was “it was just SO hard.” (Uh, no shit, it’s 26 miles.) But I had already signed up for my NEXT marathon, in the fall again.

And then I somehow convinced myself I might as well run another less than a month later. Luckily, I ended up pacing the second (so less pressure on myself to perform), but even then I didn’t think I was capable of doing that. Running a marathon at a sustainable “easy” pace seemed like an actual oxymoron. But then I did it and it WAS sustainable and easy and fun, obviously.

After that race, I took a little running break. I wasn’t doing much of anything at all actually, when my friend Rebecca convinced me to sign up for the Oshkosh Marathon. Which was 5 weeks away. I figured I could just train a little in between signing up and the race – but if you thought signing up would be enough to convince me to get off my ass (like I hoped and assumed it would) you would be wrong. Since pacing in early November – I’m pretty sure I ran two 10 milers, and 3 (slow) half marathons. That was literally it for “long runs” for almost 5 months. But still, I wasn’t really nervous for the race exactly, I was just mentally adjusting goals in my head. I had originally wanted to finish in 4:30 or under, but when I saw how unmotivated and flat out lazy I was going to continue to be, I thought, okay, anything under 5 would be a miracle.

Here’s what brings the story back around to that beginning conversation with Bryan about nerves. (I ramble. What can I say?) I had no real nerves the weekend of the race. It was a weird and surreal kind of thing – we would all of a sudden be like, wait, are we actually doing this tomorrow? I literally wore shoes I hadn’t run more than 13 miles in. Total. Last summer. That’s how nonplussed I felt about it all. I ended up finishing in 4:36, my slowest outside of pacing, and frankly I’m pretty damn happy about that. I felt more or less “fine” during the whole race. I also wasn’t attempting to “race” it, just run and be happy and not die. Check, check, and check. I just had fun and ran slow and steady with a smile on my face nearly the whole damn time and it was fabulous.

I won’t lie – there was a teeny tiny minuscule fleeting thought when I looked down at my watch to see 4:29 and knew there was no way I could come in under 4:30 (which I knew already was a highly unrealistic goal, all things considered), but it was honestly the quickest acknowledgment and then it was gone and I kept running.

The real moral of this long winded story is that everything is relative. I agonized for months over my first race (which was a quarter marathon). I was terrified the morning of my first half. I had actual nightmares before my first marathon. And now? I woke up yesterday (okay, I wrote this on Monday but was too lazy to type it out until now, so let’s all pretend for a second) with the slightest acknowledgement that I was about to run over 26 miles, and then I just… did it.

So now, I can’t wait to feel the sheer terror as I train and prepare and obsess and freak the eff out the night before my first 50 miler. This isn’t to downplay the marathon. It’s always going to be hard, and it’s always going to be a huge freaking accomplishment, no matter what the time on the clock says or what the circumstances surrounding it are. 0.5 percent of Americans can say they’ve done it. Around 600,000 people a year. That’s a VERY small amount, considering.

I point all this out because I’ve just been reflecting after Sunday’s race. I’ve been struck by the wonderment and sheer incredulity of what the human body (and more important, the mind) can do. It’s amazing how we can continuously push our comfort levels and always be striving for that next horrifying goal. Because as that cliche goes – if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. Terrify yourselves every once in awhile, y’all.

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Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon Recap

If it sounds like you need to be a little mentally unhinged, you might be right. Though this race had been on my radar a little bit since last year (since pretty much everyone I know participated in some capacity), I never really considered signing up for it. I’d heard from some people that so many laps around a track in one direction and just the never ending flatness of it could be a recipe for injury. As we all know, me and injury are basically BFF, as I am basically always hurt or on the verge of being hurt. So I figured, maybe not for me.

After pacing the Milwaukee Running Festival, I was given a gratis entry to the race, should I want it. And I mean, let’s be real, at that point I signed up immediately. It DID sound fun I thought. (Like I said, mentally unhinged). There are a lot of options with this race series over the course of the weekend, which I always think is great. Because who doesn’t love a good weekend that revolves around running? There’s a 5k, 2 half marathon heats, a marathon relay, and a marathon. I knew I would do the half, but I was moderately undecided on which heat to sign up for. Ultimately, I chose the earlier one (because I hate sitting around waiting for a race to start when I get up at the literal crack of dawn), which was the 2 hour and under heat.

If we’re being honest, I haven’t run much or fast or far since the Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon, actually. I ran a half in early December. 10 miles a few weeks ago. And then a spattering of shorter runs randomly whenever I could get myself motivated to go to the gym. So I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Nothing great, obviously.

Of course, when I originally signed up for the race (like, 3 months ago, I think?), we weren’t planning on moving at all. Certainly not moving that weekend. Or that day. But alas… there we were. So I had that to contend with as well.

Friday night, in the midst of packing my entire life (AGAIN) into boxes, I took a minute (an hour actually) to ponder what to even wear for this thing. It’s 45ish degrees in the Pettit National Ice Center (where the race was held), which is cold but then also is not cold? Most people wear long sleeves and some people wore mittens and that made me second guess the fact that I was wearing a tank top and shorts. I run extremely hot and sometimes I forget that when everyone else looks like they’re going on a Antarctic expedition in comparison. But I stuck with my decision and am super glad I did.

Saturday morning we got to the Pettit around 6:10-6:15 and I picked up my bib and timing/house arrest anklet. I’m perpetually afraid of being late to a race start, so of course then we had like 45 minutes to just sit there and wait. But better than the alternative, right? Finally we could go to the start line where I stood and waited and pretty much questioned my entire life decisions before the gun went off.

And then… I just ran. 47 laps around a 443 meter track. Not very fast. You aren’t allowed to use headphones so I just basically zoned out the entire time. I even had a thought that I was barely having thoughts. Monotony at its finest! There were of course times where I was like, this isn’t fun anymore, how many laps do I have left? Really? I think that’s wrong. There are 2 big boards displaying everyone’s position in the race and how many laps they had left, but every time I passed it, it seemed like it was never at the right time to see my name.

There is also a water stop set up where you would bring your own bottle labeled with your bib number, and then they were placed in numerical order. You would call out your number to the volunteer and they would get it for you or get it to you on your next lap. Naturally, I did not bring anything with me because I never use anything for races shorter than a marathon. If I did the race again next year, I would probably at least have something there. The air is crazy dry in the Pettit, so it would have been helpful at some points, but I was fine generally. Although, I have never gotten a nosebleed in my life, and almost immediately after I stopped running… bam!

I was using my Garmin Forerunner 920xt on the Indoor Run setting, which is usually pretty accurate I find, but towards the end of the race, as it clicked passed the 13.1 mile mark, I wasn’t sure. According to my Garmin, I ran 14.35 miles total. I think it was somewhere in between the two. From switching lanes and weaving on the track, of course that changes distance a little.

Towards my final laps I was just so done. My knee and ankle kind of were starting to hurt (they’re quite sore now, 3 days later) and I was just tired overall from 1. not having run this far in awhile and 2. the flatness of the track and the monotony of running in circles tires out different muscle groups than I was used to. My calves are still sore.

When I finally finished, I took the water from the volunteer, chugged it, got my medal, ate a stale Clif bar from the vending machine in the lobby, and we were out of there. We had things (lots of things) to move. At the end of the day, between the race and moving, my Vivosmart clocked almost 40,000 steps and 24 miles. So needless to say, I feel like I either got hit by a truck, or ran a really hard marathon. Rereading that comparison, I think it’s moderately hilarious that I knowingly correlate getting hit by a TRUCK with running a marathon. Like I said, mentally unhinged…

 

Lakefront Marathon Recap – seriously, grab a snack, this is long

So let’s start at the beginning. And I mean waaaaay at the beginning – as in June – as in when I was set to start my marathon training plan. It’s no big secret I’d been injured from the get-go (as I’ve detailed in previous blog posts and a large amount of wallowing instagram posts as well), so obviously I couldn’t exactly start training full boar. Every weekend, I’d cross off the day on my calendar and see the little number I’d written in the corner of how many miles I was supposed to be running that weekend. Key word: supposed. The long runs got longer on the calendar, and shorter/non-existent in real life.

My total mileage for June: 59.15 – there were only 2 runs over 6 milers – a half marathon at the beginning of the month, and a 14 mile sufferfest towards the end. Total mileage for July: 58.52 – there was a absolutely disastrous 12 miler in there, and the even more legendarily disaster that was the Dances with Dirt half. Again, nothing over 5ish miles, and many days off in a row to try and calm the beast that was my tendinitis. And let’s not even TALK about August. 42.27 miles – 2 weeks completely off – and a blessedly slow 11.28 miles at the very tail end of the month.

And while I’m not exactly sure how it happened, things started to feel… better. Still off, but I could run (trails, pavement was still blatantly terrifying at this point, and I was avoiding it at all costs). I totaled September at 131.13 miles, with no runs under 5 miles (except on the 30th, when I was in pain but was so close to an even number of miles for the month…) The long runs of the month included the North Face Endurance Challenge half on a Sunday, and pacing the Brewers Mini Marathon that Saturday. It just so happened that a fellow pacer in my group (2:15) was also pacing the Lakefront Marathon (4:40). Being clueless, I bombarded her with questions for pretty much the entire 13 miles about what I should do, how I hadn’t trained at all, etc etc I’m pathetic. Her advice: after the race, go home and run at least 5 or 6 more miles. My tendinitis was not rearing it’s ugly head, so I went home, changed shoes, and went out for 7 more. So that was 20 miles on the day.

The week before the race, I ran a 10 miler, when I started to feel some new pain in the same ankle, because I’m dumb and also can’t catch a break. I should have cut it to 8 miles, but I wasn’t sure how much of it was just me being whiny because the run was shitty to begin with. It felt a lot like when I had Achilles tendinitis (on the other side) earlier in the year. So at least I figured, I kind of know how to deal with this. I didn’t plan on running anymore until the pain was gone (until that whole, end of the month so close to 130 miles debacle came up). So I ended up running 2 days later, just a 5k, and it was okay but started to hurt towards the end of the run. I decided that was it until race day. (I did do some cross training on the ARC trainer Thursday, but that was it in terms of workouts the week leading up to the race.)

So as you can imagine, I pretty much KNOW I’m screwed. I basically had 8 long(er) runs total. 2 were above 13.1 miles, and 1 barely so. Almost every single one was a colossal disaster. After the split 20 miler, I had enough confidence in myself to at least be able to FINISH (seriously, that was my goal, I spent a lot of time figuring out if I could make the 6.5 hour race cutoff if I walked fast enough), but that changed after the pain started to return that week before. Basically, I was probably the most terrified I’ve been in a long time, over anything.

So that Saturday morning, packet pickup loomed. We looked around at everything (it didn’t take long, the race is capped at 3,100 registrants and so the expo was equally small), and then I went back to look at the official merchandise. I took a deep breath and bought a finisher’s jacket, and figured I could use it as a reminder to myself the next day that I HAD to at least finish. We went out to eat, then I ate some more, then I went home and ate some more, literally until I felt sick. (Oops.)

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Looking deceivingly excited post packet pick up

Later that evening, I started throwing everything I was bringing into a pile on the bedroom floor. I wasn’t bringing a phone, because 1. I never race with it, and 2. I was worried that if things started to get hard, I would use it as an out and have Bryan come pick me up (this had actually crossed my mind in a particularly awful half, so I know I can never bring my phone because I’ll never forgive myself if I wuss out when things get a teeny bit hard.) We figured if I really needed to stop, I could go to the nearest aid station and borrow a volunteers phone. I also never run with music (barring the treadmill because let’s be honest I’m not that disciplined,) but I recently acquired one of those little touch screen clip on iPods and thought I would make a sort of S.O.S. playlist and have it with me, just in case I was struggling. I also brought an exorbitant amount of Clif Shot Bloks because they are my one true love, but I put them all in a Ziploc bag because the packaging is annoying unless you’re eating them all at one time. I had my Cocogo laid out (10% off with the code COULDBERUNNING, just sayin’!), my handheld water bottle, 2 Clif gels (even though the one time I used them they made my stomach hurt, but whatever I had no time to test anything and I wanted to be safer than sorry), and also another package of Shot Bloks that was in the original packaging because like I said I have no idea what I’m doing ever and whatever. I shoved all of this in my North Face long haul shorts which I’m in love with and sad that I can’t find anymore pairs because ALL. THE. POCKETS!! I love pockets, I hate waistbelts, match made in heaven on earth, obviously.

Related to my love affair with the long haul shorts, I wore a North Face running tank, a North Face Better Than Naked hat, and North Face flight series arm warmers. It sounds like they’re paying me (sadly, they’re not.) But I truly just find them the best, so whatever, I didn’t mind looking like a running North Face ad.

I was exhausted and not feeling so well as the night wore on, so I tried (obviously, I couldn’t really fall asleep too easily, I wonder why…) to go to bed around 9ish. I pretty much lay there for what seemed like forever, and I’m not sure when I did actually fall asleep. My alarm was set for 4:59, but I woke up around 4ish. I tried to fall back asleep but mostly just laid there trying to turn my brain off. Once I finally did get up, I put my KT tape on my Achilles (which pretty much fell off instantly, does anyone else ever feel like some rolls are just duds? Unfortunately, the roll I currently have is a dud.), put on my (Injinji, obviously) socks, CEP compression sleeves and the rest of the attire I mentioned before. I also wore some Nike running gloves, because it was 31 degrees (!!!!!!!!!!) at the start of the race, and there was ice in my water bottle which, below freezing temps or not, does not feel fun on your hands. Bryan woke up an hourish later to drive me the 35 minutes to the race start. It’s a point-to-point race, so he dropped me off, waited with me until we started lining up, and went back home to sleep.

I made my way to the starting line, and looked for the 4:40 pace group. My plan was to run with the aforementioned friend, because she’s like, the best pacer ever, and is super motivating and helpful out on the course. My goal was to finish, my next goal was to finish under 5 hours, then it was to finish with the 4:40 group. Then I had it in my head that I would secretly really like a 4:30, but I thought, no way is that going to possible, all things considered.

I found the group, and was presented with a sticker that said 4:40 for my bib. As she was introducing me to the other pacer in the group she said “and this is Rani, she’ll probably leave us halfway” and she told me to rip off the sticker after I passed them. I laughed, like, yeah right neither of those things are going to be happening, and stuck the sticker on (it’s still there.) And then the gun went off! And we were RUNNING! There were a few of us with the group, and we (of course) ran the first mile faster than the pace for a 4:40 finish dictated.

I started chatting with another lady in the group, and we actually ended up staying together (ahead of the pace group) for 11ish miles. It helped incredibly to be comfortably talking with someone and made those miles go by so fast. My Achilles was kind of stinging, but talking helped distract from that, and it honestly wasn’t that bad. We were fairly ahead of the group, but could occasionally still see them in the distance when we looked behind us. Around mile 12, she said she was going to pull back on the pace, and while I was hesitant to continue on my own and get in my own head, I felt so good that I kept going and started to push the pace a bit.

I hit the halfway point at around the 2:18 gun time mark, and had a mini freak out because it seemed like such a slow half for me. Somehow I managed to remind myself, duh, you have an entire other half to run, and not go out guns blazing from there, though I did start to pick up my pace bit by bit. I was also excited because the halfway point was around where you cross over into Milwaukee County from Ozaukee County, and while the country roads in Ozaukee are nice and all, I was ready for a little more to look at and occupy my eyes. I ran probably 2 or 3 miles alone, and started to think about pace and the race a little too much, so I went for the S.O.S. iPod, and figured if that felt too weird, I’d just put it away.

As soon as I hit shuffle on the playlist, I was SUPER stoked. I obviously know myself pretty well and every song that came on made me want to yell out loud and make everyone as happy as I was. You also start to see a lot more spectators and people cheering for you (while my name was on my bib, my name is not pronounced like it’s spelled, so very few people actually cheered CORRECTLY for me, but I knew who they meant and it was encouraging all the same!). I remembered my blissful half PR from Green Bay earlier this year, and high-fived all the little kids along the course again (because, seriously, it must be magic, because I’ve never even gotten close to that PR again yet). And then I came to the point on the course (I can’t remember what mile it was exactly, but somewhere around 17-18-19?) where I was by my old apartment building, and knew the rest of the course was exactly the route that I used to run when I lived there (and I still miss running there every time I have to run where I live now, or drive somewhere else to just run somewhere actually pleasant…)

At this point I was still gradually dropping my pace for the most part, and still feeling really good about it. I passed the 4:30 pace group and had to restrain myself from JUMPING. FOR. JOY. because HOLY. SHIT. maybe I can actually do better than my once lofty goal. I kept running, kept smiling, kept getting pumped when a new amazing song came on my playlist (actually laughed out loud when Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads came on), and generally having the time of my freaking life. It was around mile 20 that my legs first started to feel anything at all really, and it was just a general soreness in my quads, and I spent an entire month early in the year increasing mileage and having a permanent quad soreness, so that wasn’t really an issue. I had been eating 2 Shot Bloks every 6 miles or so, and upped that a little bit towards the end. I had 3 packets of Cocogo in my handheld, and still had about a third of it left by this point in the race.

Also around this point in the race, I was pretty much passing A LOT of people. One guy actually turned around, saw me, moved out of the way and said “I’m not slowing you down!” And I never really thought about it or noticed it before (mainly because I’m usually never doing it, HA!) but it’s oddly self motivating to be PASSING PEOPLE! in the last 10k of a FREAKING MARATHON! Seriously. I know I’m annoying, but I WAS SO HAPPY THE WHOLE TIME. Around mile 24, you come out to the actual Milwaukee lakefront proper, which was a bit annoying because that’s when you were hit with the wind now that there was nothing to block it, but like I said, I used to run there all the time, was used to it, and set many a 5k PR in that stupid blustery lake breeze. I just kept chugging along, passing more people, bobbing to the music. When I noticed I had a mileish left, I put away the iPod because I wanted to really try and feel and soak in the finish of the race.

It’s a truly fantastic finish. You end up running along a path through the park and people are lined up along both sides cheering. It was doubly exciting because I was still in my pass-all-the-people mode and still had a lot left to give. As soon as I saw the finish, I started sprinting (well, what passes as a sprint for me at the end of a marathon…) I noticed a lady I had passed a few hundred feet ago was coming up to pass me at the finish, so I kicked even harder (and beat her, just saying).

I realize how incredibly lucky I was to have such a fantastic race (in terms of FEELING GREAT the entire time, not like I’m some superstar with a super quick time or anything). I contribute a lot of it to the fact that I actually managed to not push myself at all in the first half. There were so, so few downsides to the race, and they weren’t even downsides. I had to keep pulling up my shorts for the first half because I loaded so many damn Bloks into that baggie that they were pulling my shorts down (until I finally ate enough that it wasn’t SO heavy anymore.) Which, even, at the time, was honestly more funny than annoying.

And there it is. It still doesn’t feel like I actually did it. Even while I was DOING it, it didn’t feel like I was doing it. It’s 100% surreal to me and if I didn’t have the stats to prove it, I’d honestly think I was lying to myself or dreaming. And now that I know what I can do with essentially NOT training for a marathon, I can’t WAIT to see what I can do next spring (because, yep, already picked out the next one.)

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Garmin proof — Still so happy post race — The bling! — Negative splits, what what!

In which I attempt to blog/Dances with Dirt race recap

So, I clearly have no idea what I’m doing here. In theory this seemed easy, make a blog, write some stuff about running, etc etc. I suspect that I’ll be terrible at it, but I guess we’ll find out. Fair warning: This really only follows a very general time frame. I’ll work on it.

I think it makes sense that my first post be a recap of this past weekend’s Dances with Dirt half marathon. They offer distances of 10k, half, marathon, 50k, and 50M. Most of it is run along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail through Devil’s Lake State Park, both of which I’m 100% obsessed with. So naturally when I heard about this race, I basically threw my money at them immediately. I was all, yeah I’ll run a half that weekend as part of my marathon training, no big deal. Turns out, SUPER BIG DEAL, since my body has been on the injured list essentially since February. I had tendinitis in my Achilles, immediately after it healed I had this weird foot thing going on, which FINALLY went away, only to lend itself to peroneal and distal periodontal tibial tendinitis in the same ankle. Yay! I had been able to run through the previous 2 injuries relatively fine, but this latest one is really taking it’s toll.

But I’m stubborn. I was so damn excited for this stupid race, I’m like, yeah I’ll run it anyways and be totally fine, even though I can’t even walk without limping, whatever! But for real, totally worth it. The struggle was 3000% real, and I didn’t even care. It was a slog. It was a painful, painful, slog.

We got to packet pickup the night before (it’s about 2 hours away from me) and I was pretty nervous. Usually before a race, I’m excited nervous, but this was more of a “I know I’m going to be in a lot of pain” nervous. Since we had to head up right after work on Friday, after I got the goods we basically went to the motel and were done for the night.

In the morning I figured I was ready as I was going to be, except I had the pleasure of breaking the only hairband I had with me, and after almost having a complete breakdown over it – used a dirty rubberband from a super creepy gas station attendant to maintain my fantastic hairdo. But I’ve got ALL THE KT TAPE all over my ankle/foot, I’ve got my trusty Montrails, I’ve got my dirty rubberband, and I’m on my way.

We get there, I wait in the endless line for the port-a-potty, and I finally get to the start line. We separate into random waves, and I’m in the second. And we’re off! I’m running, it’s not exactly pain-free, but it’s not exactly painful either. It’s DEFINITELY not fast, or what my usual pace (even on trails) is. And I had heard about the elevation of the race, but I’m like, I’ve run up mountains! In Colorado! I’m totally fine, this is Wisconsin. It’s flat. Um.. apparently, not as flat as I thought.

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So, um, that huge climb, right at the beginning? Needless to say I was hiking pretty soon. I wasn’t too worried about it, because so was everyone else. I had these gel heel cups in my shoes that had really helped with my Achilles tendinitis, and I hadn’t had time to find anything that more specifically took the pressure off my new found tendinitis, so I was winging it with those. It only took about a half mile for it to decide it didn’t want to stay under my heel anymore. So I spent a lot of time tying and retying my shoes, trying to figure out what would maybe hurt a little bit less, but I don’t think I ever really figured that one out.

It bears notation that this race had the best aid station volunteers I’ve come across. Of course, the entire atmosphere of a trail race is completely different than that of a road race (which I’m more familiar with) but each time someone filled up my water bottle, I probably could’ve cried. The humidity was insane that day, my entire shirt was completely soaked through within the first 4 miles, so it honestly made all the difference.

Around mile 6 or 7, the entire mile was literally just a slow, winding incline. If I consulted my Garmin stats here, I would be able to tell you exactly which one, because I hiked the entire thing. Since I had no real idea of the elevation changes to come (or not come, I never looked at the course prior to the race), I didn’t want to wear myself out any more than I had to, because I honestly didn’t know if I’d be able to finish through the pain.

I’ve been lucky in all my trail runs/races, that I’ve never actually fallen while out on the course. I saw so many people bite it on Saturday (HARD), including one who was on the side of the course with a medic because his whole leg was torn up and bloody (I was extra careful after seeing that). It had rained in the days prior to the race, so the trail and rocks were pretty slick, which didn’t help. I tripped my fair share of times, but somehow managed to stay relatively on my feet. Probably because I was moving at a snail’s pace, but better safe than sorry.

Speaking of pace, it was incredibly slow going for me. I really wish I could go back and see what I could’ve done minus the injury, because it was a really rough day in general I think. Luckily for my pace, but unluckily for my knees, those whole last 5ish miles were bombing downhill. There was a girl behind me that kept tripping and I was positive she was going to take me out, so that was also pretty unpleasant.

I was so freaking happy to see the finish line. But also really disappointed that I couldn’t really go out there and see what I could do. My official time was 2:45:56.6, 337 out of 568 finishers. I battle between being proud of myself for going out there and doing it, and being bummed that I couldn’t have magically pulled out a better finish than I did. I will definitely be back next year. Not so secretly, I’d like to do the 50k (because running up double black diamonds for the last 5 miles seems like my idea of FUN!) My ankle is still swollen to the high heavens after the beating I put it through, and I know it wasn’t in my best interests (marathon is officially 81 days away, and since I’ve been injured the entirety of the training cycle I’ve been barely able to pull out ANY solid runs) but do I regret it? Nah.