Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Stonecat Trail Marathon race reflections

I ran StoneCat Trail Marathon yesterday and it was a good day. 

Start of the 50 mile race
The weather was warm but no sign of bees/wasps/hornets that often come out on a warm November day when a couple hundred runners take to the woods.  The course was perfectly marked and incredibly well supported by fun and crazy trail runner people.  I personally enjoyed the reversed direction of the course this year, especially the downhill final mile.  And best of all, I had my trusty running partner/informal coach/BFF with me for the entire journey.  Scott runs considerably faster than I, but wanted to hang out with me for 4 hours and 56 minutes to run and make me laugh.  Who’s luckier than me?

Right about mile 20 (where we all know the marathon begins!), I came closest to “the wall” than I’ve ever felt in a marathon.  I was caked in salt, was losing my focus, and just felt off.  At marathon #23, I know when things are off and know I need to address something.  And quickly.  With the warm weather, I took extra salt tabs with me and ended up taking three  – most ever for me in one race.  At the final aid station with just about 3 miles to go, this exchange happened:

Race peep:    Hey, are you eating enough?
Me:                  Oh, you’re referring to my salty face?
Race peep:    Yup.
Me:                  (stuffing Pringles in my mouth)
Race peep:    Real food might be better; grilled cheese?
Me:                  I don’t eat grilled cheese on a good day..thanks!

He was totally right and I knew it, but Pringles were all I wanted at that point.  I moved on and kept it slow and steady.  Much like Ghost Train, I kept moving one step in front of the other.  This period of time left me reflective.  I thought about my training and where my head has been over the last several months and had this not-so-extraordinary epiphany:  Our training is what it is.  Life happens and it sometimes affects our training.  We do the best we can with what we’ve got.  Some of us are working crazy hours or frequently traveling for business; some of us have heavier home/children responsibilities; some are struggling with health challenges.  

Ultimately, we get the race we trained for.  I’m thrilled to have finished Stonecat!  I’m ecstatic I was able to meet a very loose goal of a sub-5 hour finish!  And I’m so lucky and grateful to be able to run.  There are things I want to be different for my next race, but for today, I celebrate the gift of being part of an extraordinary running community and the ability to tackle the miles and achieve my goals.  And since my goals do not include grilled cheese sandwiches, I’m doing AOK!

My wearable finisher's medal!



5 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Sounds like you did a great job hanging in there at the end when things got tough. And it was wonderful that you got to run it with Scott. I wouldn't say that "we get the race we trained for" necessarily-- I think that training is one element, but you had really warm weather, and in cooler temps things likely would have gone much differently. I think just finishing a trail marathon is a HUGE accomplishment. The fact that you got sub-5:00 on a trail in that heat is really remarkable. Congrats!

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