Thursday I started to begin to think about my run. I usually start this earlier but had been wrapped up with work. That night darling daughter decorated a Mommy Go Go sign. I "decorated" my bib with who I was running in memory of - Sherry Arnold and my Dad.
On Friday after work I started getting all my stuff together. Two sprint bottles of Ultima, one larger bottle of nuun, and two packs of GU gel to have just in case.
I woke up at 4:00 am on Saturday morning and I thought luck was on my side. It looked like Mother Nature was going to give me a break. For breakfast I had a banana pancake and a small cup of coffee. I then started to get ready. As I was about to head out the door with the family Mother Nature said hello...but I already came to terms with the fact that I just needed to keep the faith and prayed any cramping would be minimal.
I moved into the pack of runners and focused on my goal, put my faith in God, and started listening to the man in charge...of starting the race that is. We moved as a group to the start and I let others know that yes, indeed, this race is gun time, not chip time. There is always confusion over that point.
After a one minute delay due to a car on the road, we were off. And I went out strong. I may have started fast but felt I was doing okay overall. I maintained my pace, which was faster than what I needed to achieve my goal. But I told myself to listen to my body, slow if needed, and knew I may need to once I hit the lava fields. That region still had me nervous.
Less than five miles into the race we hit the tricky area. I knew it was tricky and I knew the course map, but I still got confused when I did the second hairpin turn and ended up facing a wall of runners. I still really don't know where they came from but I felt I had to make my way through them and turn left. I did so but was called back. A second course marshal concurred that I went the wrong way and directed us along another pace. Thing is, I was right. They redirected us wrong. At the end of the run, I probably ended up losing 4 minutes and we made a loop before going back to where we were originally misdirected. Now I was frustrated and I wasn't the only runner in the detour pack that was convinced I just lost my PR and goal.
|Me --- so mad!|
My inner drive to race was gone. I even contemplated calling dear hubby to get his car and come get me. Yes, I was determined to give up, go home, and never run again. Then I was annoyed that I was letting this setback impact me. I was mad that I was frustrated. I worked through this mental dilemma for a couple of miles and then hit the part of the course I was concerned about. The lava fields were approaching me. I knew my pace had slowed. I overheard a runner say she got detoured and was just running now. I told her I knew what she meant and that I was happy I wasn't alone in that thought process.
I was now physically hurting as I realized I wasn't drinking like I should have been. I tried. It made me sick. I kept trying. My stomach wasn't happy. Was it Mother Nature? Was it my annoyance? Was it something else? It really didn't matter because all that did matter was that I needed to find a way to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to stop thinking about giving up. Then I remembered why I was running….beyond my own personal goals.
I started repeating the mantra, God, Sherry, Dad, God, Sherry, Dad with each foot stroke. I returned to this on and off throughout the rest of the run whenever I was hurting.
One thing I didn't account for in the lava fields was the sun. It was hot. It was hilly. I couldn't see. And I forged ahead. God, Sherry, Dad.
I hit the turnaround before I realized it and many were literally stopping to drink. I didn't. I couldn't. I turned and started running back. God, Sherry, Dad.
After awhile my head was hurting, my back was aching, and I tried to sip water. I tried to trick myself by taking a little GU gel because I tend to drink better after that. Big fail. I forced myself to drink some because you need to with gel and dealt with the painful stomach. At some point the course director cruised by and cheered me on. I know she was feeling bad about the detour and wondered what she would think about me being one of the "lost runners".
|Mommy, I'm hungry!!!|
As the timing crew came by to retrieve their timing chip from me, a co-worker working the run started quizzing me about the detour. I answered all the questions and was happy they were indeed on top of things. The course director was even offering refunds to those who were misdirected but all the runners I talked to didn't care to have a refund. That wasn't what today was about. It was a great run for a good cause and hey, we all have a good story to tell now!
My official gun time was 1:57:53 with an average pace of 8'59". I placed 7 out of 27 in my division. 72 out of 195 runners overall. Who knows....maybe next year they will just need to call me up on stage....but next year, I enter a new division.
P.S. The race director made a bee-line to my office today as soon as she got in to personally apologize for the detour and it impacting my run. She also asked for my feedback on it and was glad I informed her how far off course some of the runners did venture. Ironically, it made me feel better.