Happy Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday of the year, although our plans this year to celebrate have been pretty low-key. Saturday I went to a Halloween party at a friends house and Sunday I spent most of the day watching scary movies (more on why later), and tonight I’m making pumpkin spice bread for dessert and we will hope for trick or treaters.
On the training front, last week I got most of my workouts in, but due to how the trail race went on Saturday, it doesn’t look like this week is going to go as planned.
Wednesday – 1hr Trainer Ride
Thursday – 5 mi treadmill run
Friday – 1900y missedd swim from Monday
Saturday – 13.1k trail race
Sunday – Rest Day
I’m not even going to tally total training hours because it’s so darn small! Ok, the trail race. First things first, I’ve never done a trail run before, other than cross country in highschool which is pretty much only on grass/mud. No rocks or hidden tree roots. So I had no idea what to expect really, other than my pace would be considerably slower than my road race pace. I arrived around 8:30 (my wave was at 9:30), and once I walked to the start I waited in the porta potty line for 30 minutes. I kid you not. They had two park restrooms and three porta potties. The line was ridiculous. However since I arrived by myself and didn’t know or recognize anyone else racing, I didn’t mind killing time waiting in line. Soon it was getting close to my wave and I walked up near the start to line up. I hadn’t been very nervous earlier in the morning but then I started to get pretty nervous. Two of my bigger fears were 1. Getting lost 2. Running into a snake. I hoped neither one of those things would happen. I also set one other goal 3. Not to fall.
Once we lined up for the 9:30 wave the race director gave us a brief summary of the course, that the course markings were in green, and if we did get lost, the majority of the trail went clockwise around the lake, so if anything, go clockwise. Oh boy. Then it was 9:30 and we were off. I started off on a conserevative 10min pace until we hit the trail about .5 miles from the start and then I started passing people from the previous wave, which fired my competitive side and I pushed the pace a bit more. Mile 1 ticked by at a 9:40 pace and mile 2 was just about the same.
Then after grabbing water and starting the part of the course that goes along the lake, I landed on a loose rock and bam. I was down. My hands caught my fall for the most part so at least I didn’t land on my face (dammit, 2 miles in and already broke goal #3). Slowly I got up, fighting back tears. The girl in front of me stopped to ask if I was ok…other than a cut up right hand I was ok, and told her that I was ok. I slowly started walking and then eventually was able to start running again. No more than .5-.75 miles farther I did the same thing and fell again, and hard. This time my left hand took most of the brunt (although I hit my right knee both times) and blood started gushing out of that hand, worse than the right. I had several people stop to ask if I was ok, and I said yes, but this time I had a burning feeling in my throat as I tried to hold back tears. It hadn’t even been 3 miles yet and I had already fallen twice. I was frustrated and in pain, and sad I had so much father to go.
Once I pulled myself together I started walking and every now and then did a slow jog. I kept blotting my left hand on my shorts as the blood kept dripping (thank goodness I wore black shorts) while trying to keep moving forward. Soon I ran into a point on the trail that went to the right and where two volunteers were stationed. I asked if they had a band-aid, which they said they didn’t, but they poured water on both hands and gave me toilet paper to use to try to clot the cut on the left hand. As soon as the lady started pouring the water I started crying. I had tried to hold it back but my hands hurt (that water stung!), I was frustrated and I was not even halfway done with the run. I was feeling defeated. However, after just a few short wimpers (and being embarassed that I broke down), I collected myself, thanked them, and then hobbled on.
From them on I just took the rest of the course REALLY conservatively, mostly walking with some jogging where I felt comfortable. Around mile 4 I noticed my knee and hip started to get tight and were hurting, so I did much more walking than running. Meanwhile I kept on with the negative talk (tsk, tsk) about how I regretted signing up for a trail run when I knew I was a complete klutz and how I would explain to my coach why this race was a massive failure. Not exactly the positive self-talk needed to keep pushing onward. Finally with a little over a mile to go I picked up the pace and did more slow jogging than running (which still at times I was holding back tears, why so emotional!?!? It’s just a race?!?!). Once I hit the big hill which meant I was .25 miles from the finish, I managed to actually run up the hill (but it was mostly grassy and not many rocks, making it safer/easier).
As soon as I ran through the finish line I immediately went to pavillion to try to find first aid. No such luck. Then I saw an ambulance and thought maybe they would have some antibacterial wipes and bandaids. I was right, the guy had a little set up with rubbing alcohol, wipes and tape/gauze. When he checked out my cuts and started putting the rubbing alcohol on them, I asked if I was one of the few people that had come to get cleaned up and he said ‘no, probably 1:3 finishers had stopped by’, which made me feel much better. After I was bandaged up I grabbed a gatorade and headed to the car. I wanted to cry, it was just such an awful race and along with feeling mentally beaten up (from being so competitive) I was also physically from my cut up hands, hip and right knee starting to hurt.
When I got to the car I texted JMR that I was alive and he texted, ‘you finished in under 2 hours!’, and I wanted to punch him. My goal was around 1:20, 2 hours felt embarassing …although I’m not sure how I could have really thought that given I’ve never run the course and really had no time to beat, so finishing at all should have just been enough. I drove the 1 hour back home, and when I got home I texted my coach ‘I don’t think trail running is my thing. Way too clumsy. Fell twice and cut up both hands pretty bad and did something to my right knee. And I thought I had to worry about snakes, screw that, it was the hidden rocks and roots. I think I’ll just stick to running on even pavement’ Yeah, I’m dramatic, and responded that he was so glad that I liked it so much and had been considering adding more races to my calendar. I freaked out for a moment and then realized he was kidding. Sigh.
That afternoon I iced my quickly swelling right knee, but after being in pain for several hours I caved and went to urgent care. Turns out nothing was broken, which I assumed was the case since I could walk but was a little worried something was fractured, my knee was just badly bruised (which I’m still not sure about, I wish they did MRI’s there). So for now I’m resting my knee, sticking to limited activity (dammit…I hate swimming…but that’s all I can do for the majority of this week), and seeing how things feel by Friday. Fingers crossed it was just badly bruised.
So… that was my trail running adventure, the first and only one. I spent the rest of the weekend (other than the Halloween party) parked on the couch with an ice pack. Also after that experience I have now also officially put ‘mountain biking on the do-not-ever-try list.
On that note, here’s a much cuter picture of Patrick. Happy Halloween! 🙂