Even though I live about 2 miles from the course, I had never run on several sections of it, and certainly hadn't run the whole thing. Running a course is never the same as racing, but I decided to stare fear in the face and head out on my own Monday to embrace the madness and conquer the snail. (The race is called the McKay Hollow Madness probably because it's a ridiculously hard course that finishes pretty much straight up....and the "mascot" of the race is a snail. There are several theories of why they use a snail but I don't know the real reason behind it.)
Let me back up just a bit and explain the "stare fear in the face" part.
- I had never run more than 13.1 miles
- I had never run more than about 6 or so miles on trails at one time
- I had never even seen parts of this course, but have heard how technical (tough) it is
- I was going to go alone (something some people think is completely crazy)
- It had rained like crazy and I hadn't ever run through the mud before
- There are some pretty steep drop offs...I recently heard of a very experienced trail runner who fell and severely cut his hand on a rock, and another who fell and broke her wrist.
- Phone service is sketchy at best out there
|Water, a banana and A&W!|
I finally told my mind to stop and my legs to go...and I was off. I made several mistakes I'll write about later but I thought it was very funny the first song to play was "Three Little Birds"...it's the "don't-worry-about-a-thing" song (I added this to my playlist on the sidebar, along with some other new ones). Thank you God for that reassurance!) (BTW, I used the phone speakers, not ear phones-I had to be able to hear a bear or a stalker coming after me!)
|Did I mention the fog??|
|First water puddle...I ran "around" it.|
Katie ran it? She wasn't racing either...but I'm sure she wasn't taking pictures either. Okay...no more pictures. But, Dwayne would never believe what I'm running in...what I'm about to run through. Ah...wouldn't it be nice if this were the race...this would be where the aide station would be. There would be friendly faces here, and maybe Dwayne would be here to take my picture and give me a kiss. God...thank you for that man. I love him so much. I can't believe this is my life!! There were storms all weekend long and instead of working claims, looking at roofs and writing checks for damage, I'm out running 15.5 miles in the woods.
In the beautiful-WHOA NELLY...that's a drop off. That must be where he fell. What if I fall? I could hit my head and DIE out here. It would be hours before someone found me. My phone would smash and I wouldn't be able to call. I hope my app is working. Will I make it to Little Rosies? Boy, do I want Mexican food. An hour and a half almost for six miles....that's okay, I'm still just under a 15:00 pace. Man that's slow. Wow...it it WET out here. Finally a section I can RUN. I'm running fast. I am a runner. I can't wait to race this next year...Katie, it's ON next year. I can run fast on trails. I wonder how much faster I could do it if I were racing? HOLY SMOKE...that sounds like a water fall...where is it? OH MY GOSH...THAT IS GORGEOUS. I have to take
|The waterfall at the end puts this one to shame!|
Mile 13(ish). Ah...that's SOB ditch...I've hiked that before....but it didn't look like THIS. Okay...look at me walking a tree trunk! Heehee. I wish I could take pictures of this. STINKING FART WEEDS!!! THAT HURT LIKE A BAD WORD!!! MAMACITA, OUCHYWAWA. ((I had just tripped over a big limb and it smacked the back of my right calf-hard.)) That's going to hurt for a while. Dad gum. No, I didn't fall, I tripped over a stinking stick. What MASOCHIST put this course together? This is freaking crazy. I still have two AND A HALF miles left to run. Run? Who am I kidding? This is insane. How long would it take for Dwayne to realize I haven't called him to tell him I'm done and call rescuers? How long would it take them to find me? I don't have enough water. This was crazy. This was stupid. I don't ever want to see mud or water again. Ever. This really is madness. No. I don't HEART the madness. I hate it. Those people are crazy. I'm crazy for thinking I wanted to do this. Slush mile? No, more like slush 15 miles. This sucks. I'll never make Rosies now. There's no way. I might as well stop. Hey...look at that...a DEAD SNAIL. (Here I had to stop and laugh like a truly crazy person.) That's the funniest thing I think I've ever seen. The snail just quit. Wow..look, there's a section I can run. Downhill.....run baby run. WOW. I'M FLYING. HOLY SMOKES. I'M RUNNING FAST. How do I still have energy to run this freaking fast?? WOW....don't look at the Garmin, you'll fall...WOW...I AM DAVID O'KEEFE!!! Next year I'm going to run the whole course this fast. This is GREAT. This is a great course. I can do it. I love my life. It's so pretty out here. How blessed I've been to have been able to see the woods like this. I know you aren't supposed to run on muddy trails....but if it had been a race we'd have done it. It's okay. I'll make Rosies. I won't be able to shower though. I bet I STINK. I'm not as muddy as I thought I would be but that's because of all the water. I wish I had some way to video the whole course. The waterfalls, the streams, the rocks....how fast I just ran down that hill. That was fast. I can't imagine how those fast people feel running like that (okay, faster than that even) ALL the time!! I want to do speed work and hills. I want to be faster. I love running fast. I love running trails. I'm so happy I got to do this.
Mile 14(ish)...Here it is. This is it. I have to hurry up if I want to make it to Rosies. I bet they are wondering. I have 30 minutes, about a mile to go. No prob...oh, stink...that's mud. Where's a rock I can grab? Oh my...I'm slipping....WHAT FREAKING MASOCHIST PUT THIS CLIMB AT THE END OF A 15 MILE RACE??? Wait, is it masochist or sadist. A masochist hurts themselves...a sadist likes to hurt other people. Wait, no one is making me do this. Am I the masochist?? I am so glad I didn't bring the hand held water bottle. I'd never make it up this thing. No, I'd throw it away. I could come back when it's dry and hike down to get it, but I wouldn't make it without my hands here. Holy smoke...am I going to make it? It's almost 1:00 now. How much farther. If I don't see that water fall soon I'm going to stop and cry. I don't remember this being so hard when we were going down. Wait...that's the TREE I took a picture of...that's the TREE!!!! THAT'S THE TREE!!! It's not far now...it's right around.
OH SWEET JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I REALLY DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, stop crying...you still have to climb up just a little more. Man, I'm glad this isn't the race....people would be able to see me here and there's no way I could go any faster than this. I'm not going to be able to run across the imaginary finish line. There's no way. Lord, thank you...and please let me get up this last little climb. (((Note: there's a BEAUTIFUL waterfall at the end and even though I glanced at it...I don't think I even really took it in I was so relieved to have reached the end!)))
Okay...there's the little bridge...I can run. If this were a race I would run. I CAN RUN. WOW!!! REALLY?? I'm seriously running. (I ended with a pace of 8:47!!) Okay...that's enough...walk to the car. It's 12:57. I really did it!! I made it!! I'm starving to death, allergies or not, Mexican food here I come. Recharge the battery. PLEASE tell me you guys waited and can still meet me there to celebrate. I DID IT. I JUST RAN MCKAY HOLLOW MADNESS. I loved every minute of it. That was the best run I've ever had. I FEEL GREAT. Man, am I muddy. I wish there were people here. Won't that be cool next year to have Dwayne there at the finish--or better still if he runs with me!! I'm going to train HARD for next year. I can be a contender! I can. I can do it. I wonder how fast Katie finished this year?
....Okay....sorry for taking you on a trip through my mind, but it was so much easier to write it that way. Other than the bruise and big ole bump on the back of my right calf and a little soreness, I feel great. Tuesday I just ran a mile (walk run with NOBO), and then did yoga. Wednesday I ran 3.5 miles. Thursday I ran 4. Friday I did another yoga class. I think I have a stomach virus because I started feeling really sick Thursday evening...I thought I was feeling better Friday but then it got much worse. I haven't made it out of bed yet this morning other than to the bathroom...but I'm sure hoping it's better today...I would love to go hit the trails again!! ....But I know I need to get on the bike and in the pool. I have my first TRI in just TWO WEEKS!!!
Thanks for stopping in. Come again soon.