We drove back to the hotel after our belly's were full and snuggled in for the night.
Saturday morning we headed out to the lake to the starting area. It was foggy. Also nice and cool. We met up with Cynical Mud Babe and Christy and walked out to the starting line area together. After some last minute words from the RD, he took roll call. Yes, roll call. How funny is that? Just to see who was starting so they could keep track of everyone on the course. And when you actually got to each water stop, they would check you in.
We started out on the pavement for a very short jaunt and then right into the woods. This course doesn't gradually get hard. It kicks your butt from the very beginning. Rocks. Rocks. And More Rocks. The whole course was rocks. Here a rock. There a rock. Everywhere a rock. It was a very technical course. Not only were there rocks the whole way. It was up and down and up and down and up and down. I'm not talking little ups and downs. I'm talking rock climbing. It was tough. Very tough.
By mile 2 I was already getting hot spots and blisters on my feet. I knew this was going to be quite a day. I didn't say anything...just kept going. I think it took us an hour to go three miles. My feet were not as agile as they needed to be. My ankles were twisting every which way. I wasn't gliding over the rocks like I wish I could have. I never knew when I landed on a rock if it was going to turn on me, stay or slide under my feet. So...we walked. And walked. And walked. Even while walking, it was hard for me to maneuver over the rocks.
We mustered through the trails. Not stopping to fuel like we should have as we were trying to beat feet to the turn around before the cut-off. I think in 15 miles I had 2 Hammer Gels, 4 electrolytes, some Gatorade and 1 half of a red potato (which was sooo yummy!). I know Doug had much less. Not the smartest thing to do when you're trying to keep going.
About mile 13 I became dizzy and nauseous. Not good. As this was a very tough part of the course. I managed through after taking my 2nd Hammer Gel and some electrolytes. I was really starting to hurt. My muscles were tired and sore. Already. How could this be?, I kept asking myself. Have I mentioned this course was the course from Hell?
I knew at this point, making the cut-off was not going to happen. Doug kept ahead of me. Kept moving forward. I followed, but much more slow. He is so wonderful. He was my Sherpa. My pacer. My support team. My trail blazer. I could not have asked for anything more. He was the best. IS the best. As I started to get emotional, he settled my nerves. As I kept saying I'm sorry, over and over, he kept telling me it was okay. I think I may still be sitting in the woods somewhere right now if it wasn't for his love and support. Thanks Babe. ILY!
So we get to the cut-off about 10 minutes late. The volunteers were great. They were very supportive and asked what we needed. I sat down in defeat. Doug grabbed a Coke. Mmm...another yummy treat. After a few minutes, I think they already knew, but one of the volunteers said we were a few minutes late, but if we wanted to head back we could. Oh God Please...I didn't want to make this decision. You're supposed to tell me I can't go back. I knew what a disappointment I would be to myself and how upset I would be with Doug not being able to finish. But I was toast. Burnt. Nasty. Toast. Doug, being the kind soul he was today, threw in the towel for us. For me. He knew I was struggling and that it would be nothing more than a Death March back.
So with that, I was relieved and sad. I so did not want to go back. 15.5 miles just about did me in. I was afraid that another 15.5 miles might. The concentration alone would have been so hard for me. Picking up my feet to get over those damn rocks could have ended in a disastrous mess. I kept thinking over and over, I'm going to trip over a rock, lurch forward, face plant on a rock and knock out my teeth. I'm not quite sure how many times I replayed that in my head.
With the decision being made, we helped the volunteers break down the water stop, packed up and got a nice air conditioned ride back to the start. It sucked. The hardest part about the whole thing was Doug DNF'ing because of me.
So with a big 'ol DNF under my belt I've been thinking a lot.
Things I Learned
- I hate my trail shoes
- I love boiled potatoes with salt
- I have to fuel my body if I want it to go for me
- DNFing sucks
- Trail Running is SO MUCH MORE difficult than road running
- If I'm going to run a Trail 50K, I need to train on the trails-durrr...
- Doug is THE BEST. EVER! (I knew that already)
A Couple Things that Made Me Feel a Little Better
"The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try nothing and succeed." Lloyd Jones
"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." Beverly Sills
So now it's time to move forward. It's time to rethink if I want to continue this trail running stuff. It's so much harder than road running. And I feel if you don't do it all the time, it kicks you in the butt when you do. It's so different than road running. Also with today's events and Doug's poor seed tick infestation, we're both rethinking trails. We'll see after a short break.
I am looking forward to the Nike Women's Marathon I'm running with my best friend, Karen. This will be her first marathon and we're going to have such a great time.
It's time for pizza and some relaxation! See ya on the next go 'round.