Last Sunday, I finally got to run the Wolf Hollow ½ Marathon. I say “finally” because I’ve had an eye on this one for a couple years, but have always had some other race or recovery period conflict with it. A month after GhostTrain 100, I was craving a little motivational race to jumpstart me.
Scott, Bella, and I set out early to find the place and pick up my number and a cute shirt. With Scott still in a boot, I also wanted to make sure he had plenty of time to get wherever he wanted to be to watch the race. Bella was beside herself with smells, lots of people and other dogs. The day was gorgeous, finding me in shorts and a long sleeve light running shirt. (Sidenote: a couple days later, snow!)
While we waited for the start, I told Scott I just hoped I could keep a steady pace and that I didn’t really expect much. I wasn’t sandbagging; truly, I just didn’t know what my legs were capable of. They felt OK, but not overly strong. So, I sort of set my own expectations rather low that day. Scott reminded me that I didn’t lose all my fitness/strength/stamina this past month just because I hadn’t been running 50+ mile weeks any longer. He also stated I should have no problem finishing in sub-2 hours. It’s exactly what I needed to hear.
I started the race conservatively, talked to other runners, and enjoyed the perfect day on an easy/runnable trail. The course was primarily trail with very few rooted or rocky areas to have to navigate. A dream!
About half way through, Scott’s words floated back into my head; that I…”should have no problem finishing in sub-2 hours”. Well, in that case:
The best part of this race? The best part was not my pace or placement; it was how I felt during this race. This race was all about having fun on this non-goal oriented race (unless you count the sub-2 part) and soaking in the race energy around me. For me, what happened felt magical.
I started passing runners. Lots of them.
Hopefully you know me by now to know that I’m not saying that in a braggy way. I’m saying it in a truly surprised way. It’s hard to finish strong in a race. It’s easier to start out too fast and fade towards the end. And it sucks to be passed when you’re feeling that fade creep in. This time, however, I was the one doing the passing. I felt so strong and a couple times wondered, “who has taken over my body?”. A couple other times, I found myself wondering, “OK, what mile is it going to be where I can’t sustain this any longer?”. Fortunately, that mile wasn't until somewhere in mile 12. Knowing I only had 1.1ish miles remaining, I could keep it together.
Up to three days post-race? SORE AS HELL! I wasn’t this sore after Ghost Train and I guess that makes sense when you look at my Ghost Train pace vs. Wolf Hollow pace. But still, I did NOT see that coming. Ouch.
Just goes to show you, legs and lungs are important, but the mind? The mind is a powerful thing….
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ― Henry Ford