Friday, June 29, 2012

National Running Day --June 6, 2012--Cancun

Happy National Running Day!

I am excited that I get to run this day in beautiful Cancun, Mexico while on vacation.  My plan is to run 6.66 miles on 6/6/12 on the beach barefoot which will be a first for me.  I do not want to mess up my pretty feet, but I also do not want to mess up my Nike's with sand either! 

I start this run at 6:04 am Cancun time just as the sun is starting to rise.  I love early morning sunrise.  It is humid and hot already but off I go running along the beach as my plan is to run 3.33 miles out and then turn around and come back. 

It is absolutely gorgeous.  As I am running, I see a graduation ceremony and there is a photographer taking pictures with the beach and sunrise in the background.  What a neat idea!  On the way back from my run I see them throwing all their caps into the air as the photographer snaps away!  I'm sure she did not catch me in the background in their picture.  At least I hope not!

I run down towards the end of the beach and I come up on some type of protective animal park from what I can read in my limited Spanish.  There are a ton of rocks like a dam and everytime the water comes in it makes a huge splash.  It's like something out of a movie.  There is also an old seagull just sitting there on the beach not moving.  He is alive but not moving.  I keep going closer but finally decide to stop running and take a picture of him.  I am afraid to get too close because he isn't flying away and does not act scared, so I am afraid to get close in fear that he will attack me..hahaha  I am much closer to the bird than the picture suggests :-D

When I stopped to take pictures, I accidentally stop my Nike +GPS at 2.12 miles! I am in a quandry as I really want it to say 6.66 mi.  Silly, I know.  I am only about 2 miles out on the beach and cannot run past this park, so I turn around and head back.  It's here I realize that the padding on big toes is hurting and I am forming blisters....ughh!  I run down the beach just past my hotel and after about 4 total miles I decide just to head in and get my socks and shoes to finish this run either on the treadmill or on the roof.

I get to the roof gym and the treadmills are taken.  I wait for a few minutes and lift weights, but then I really need to get this run done! So, I head out on the roof to get it finished.  I go around and around of what must be about .15 mile loops.  I was loopy for about 4.5 miles.  Everytime I passed the gym the treadmills were in use!  WEll, good for them, but better for me!  LOL I'm sure they thought I was crazy as the gym is enclosed in glass and I can see them and they can see me.

While on the roof, there was a Mexican cook doing his prep work at the outside bar/grill.  When he was pushing this big cart, he caught my eye and started running with it.  It was so funny that I laughed and started clapping my hands to show my support of his run with his cart! 

I finished my part 2 run with my 6.66 miles on my gps but in total I actually ran 8.78 miles.  Every strand of hair on my head was drenched.  I drank the rest of the day!  It was a memorable National Running Day and a beautiful run to boot.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Warrior Dash 5K---May 20, 2012

Back track to Warrior Dash May 2011:

Lee and I ran this race last May 2011.  We really had a blast on this 3.2 mile race with 11 obstacles and plenty of mud to boot.  This race reminds me of what I can only describe as the "Woodstock of Running".  The costumes and the themes are just all so interesting in a Woodstock kind of way.  This race is also a total physical challenge as it tests total body strength as well as your cardio endurance with a mix of beer and fun! 

In 2011, Lee and I run at least the first mile together and then Lee tells me to go ahead.  This was the hardest decision I have ever made as Lee and I were debating before the race if we should stick together or not.  On the one hand, I've been signed up for 10 months ahead of the time for this race, and I wanted to murder this race.  I am aiming to kill it.  It's all I can think about for 10 months as it's the only race I have planned because Lee works every weekend.  But, this particular weekend, Lee is taking off to run with me.  The funny thing is is that I didn't even know he was signed up for the race until about 3 months prior to the race date!  He wants me to run a great time, but at the same time we both want to run it together.  I was in a quandry.

Long story short, I finish at 30:30 minutes on this race.  Out of nearly 7,000 runners that day, I place 349th and that's the top 5% of the total folks running.  I ran it hard and temporarily conquered my fear of heights when I climbed that 15 foot wall like a little monkey and took my sweet ole' time at the top.  I didn't care that there was a gal waiting on me to cross over that little board at the top.  I am scared by God, and I am taking my time.  But, over that wall I went eventually.  The 2nd half of the race, I passed this guy on all the running sections and then he passed me on the obstacles.  I did come ahead of him at the end by maybe 2 minutes?  He told me after the race that he was trying so hard to out run me.  He laughed because he could not believe how fast I was.  I laughed too, because what I lacked in strength, I made up for in speed. 

I had so muh fun at this race, that I ran it a second time with my high school track mate Tommy.  Tommy ran in the same heat that Lee and I did initially,  and won his age group for the day!  He also placed very high in the standings.  Tommy is by far the fastest 5k guy I know, and it's the first race we've run together since our track and cross-country days. 

Lee came in about 4 minutes behind me.  I am so exceedingly proud of him!  He finished alot faster than I thought he would given how little he actually trained for this.  This is the thing about guys..they are stronger and with just a little training they can be as fast as I am.  They cannot be as fast as I am and be competitive with guys in their own age group.  To be competitive with their age group they must run faster than me!  haha  But, I am getting off track here.  What I want to say is that Lee is so excited and pumped after this race that I am really so happy for him.  We had so much fun, and I am excited to hear that he wants to do it again next year!  We also go back and forth about running it together this year, after the fact.  On the one hand, we are both glad that I set out to do what I wanted and needed to do for myself.  I am so proud of myself for having run this race as well as I did and better than I thought I would.  And, on the other hand, I really really wished that I would have run it with Lee.


Warrior Dash Training 2012:

So, now here comes the fall of 2011 and Lee signs us both up for Warrior Dash May 2012!!  This time our friend Russell decides along about Jan 2012 that he wants to run it with us, and he wants to get in shape.  Lee needs to get in shape for it too, so we decide that the three of us will train for it.  We start training for it slightly before my Hostelity race, but get more serious after that, and it helps me in my recovery from 38.5 miles...hehehe

So, Lee and Russell just crack me up.  They are hilarious together.  Here I am so serious about running and neither one of them take me seriously at all.  They do not care about running technique, form, strategy, training,  a set schedule.  They don't even care and are not the least bit intimidated that I can run them to the ground which makes it even more fun.    They are everything that runners are NOT.   Russell has the motivation but lacks cardio endurance.  Lee has slightly more cardio endurance but lacks motivation.  I have to pull teeth and need a big boot to kick Lee out the door whereas Russell is willing to go out the door but just can't catch his breath. 

So, imagine our training program.  Lee and Russell are side by side walking and running and I am behind them cracking my imaginary whip.  I am timing them on my watch/phone and making them run 2 minutes and then walk1 minutes.  I am a drill seargent.  After about 5 minutes of the walking and jogging repeats, they are done with the running and are happy to just walk.  I am like oh no..this is going to take awhile, and I am thankful we have time on our hands.  The guys are not the least bit worried.  It's ok, as I am worried for them.

We get outside a few times a week and keep trying.  The guys are getting better as they start to run longer periods of time and walk a little less until they get to the point that they just stop and walk the rest of the way.  They surprise me sometimes because they start running fast and even though they do not last long, they are getting faster and they are starting to last longer before they have to stop.  Sometimes they even run uphill...imagine that! 

One memorable day, they thought they were done running for the day and they planned to walk the rest of the time, but as we are going downhill, I shout "BONUS ROUND, RUN".  To my surprise, they actually start running, and Lee is like, "DAMN, I am going to bonus round you at 3am"!!  We laugh so hard at this that even I can barely run.  But, damn if those 2 sorry excuses for runners didn't run all the way down to the cul de sac!  They made me proud!  It's with this training exercise that I begin to have hope that they might just survive Warrior Dash afterall!  LOL

A week or two before Warrior Dash, I actually turn the guys loose a few times on their own so that I can catch my own run and they are doing well on their own and actually last a long time.  They have made decent progress in a short period of time.  Russell has lost 20 pounds up until this point and the three of us are excited about that!


Warrior Dash May 20, 2012

The day has arrived!  Lee and I are again in a quandry as to whether I should run it with them both or should I run it on my own.  On the one hand, I don't know if the guys just want to stick together or do they want me to join them?  Lee is riding the fence.  Finally, on the drive down there I decide to run it with them since by God, I've put up with their shit for 4 months now...I should at least see my efforts pay off! hahahaha  But, seriously, it might be really fun to run it at a slower pace and just enjoy the race.  It's not really a "race" but more of an "event".

So, Russell's wife and our friend Felicia comes along with their 2 children, and we have our kids.  Felicia and the kids are going to watch the race and take pics. 

We do all the pre-race stuff and line up for the race.  The costumes are awesome again this year.  People are there to have fun.  We are lined up like sardines, as there are 500 people to a heat and there is a new heat every 30 minutes.  It's a hard race to run for time, so I am glad that I am doing it with the guys.

We start running, and we run almost all the way to the lake before Russell needs to take a brief walk break.  I am so proud of him for making it this far!  I am even more amazed with Lee.  In fact, where is my husband?  This man I am running with has as much motivation if not more than I do....where did this guy come from and can he stay awhile??  LOL  Lee is encouraging and pushing Russell.  He is excited, and I can tell he wants to GO.  We hit the lake, and I don't know why except that I do have a protective nature, but I take Russell's hand and kind of lead him through the water when it gets deep.  I'm sure he didn't need that I just felt compelled to help if I could.

We cross the lake and then have to crawl on our hands and knees under barb wire.  This crap is hurting our knees, but here we go.  Then we get to walk stooped over under chicken wire.  Then we get to the hurdles and after climbing over the first one I feel a little pull in my groin that hasn't healed from where I tripped on a rock at my March DRT training run.  It's always these small little pulls that hurt the longest. And, then I feel a shakiness in my legs and worry about my blood sugar that drops at times, but I somehow move past it. 

Next we come to that stupid 15 foot wall.  I have told the guys to run ahead on the obstacles as I know they are physically stronger than I am, and I'll catch up on the running sections.  The guys do go ahead and here again I struggle getting across the top.  It's scary trying to swing one leg at a time across a thin board 15 feet high! OMG...I want to die as I think I am more scared of this than I was last year.  But, I do manage to get my 2nd leg over it and then I get down just fine.  I run through some tires and catch up to the guys.

We run some trail for awhile, and I find my happy place.  We are laughing and just enjoying the run and the mud and trying to becareful as there are still alot of people.  I do not particularly enjoy crowded races!  Anyways, we come across this lake and it's a new obstacle from last year.  We jump in and the water is really over our heads.  We get to this floating obstacle whereby we have to completly pull ourselves up by a rope but my feet are dangling in the water and I have nothing to push off of.  Lee makes it onto the float and it's not steady and he is standing there like it's nothing.  I forget how strong Lee really is.  He pulls Russell up like he's a toy block, and then he reaches down for me and pulls me by the waist of my shorts right on that float.  Lee walks fast across that float like it's nothing while I am holding onto the back of Russell.  It's a wonder we don't both just fall in like dominoes as we are both unsteady on this float!  We were glad when we get the hell off of it!

Then we run up on this 15 foot wall that's like a rock climbing wall.  The blocks to brace our feet are really wide.  Now, I am 5'9" and mostly all legs.  Lee is already at the top of this, Russell makes it to the top, and here I am stuck.  I cannot get my 2nd foot up high enough to step on.  Lee is telling me to "Come ON", and I am telling him I can't get my foot up there.  He is telling me to "REACH"...well, WTF..I am reaching...then this guy behind me pushes my foot up to the block and up I pull with my fingers.  I get to the top of this thing and OH HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, I have to step about 3 feet away into nothingness and grab ahold of a fire pole and slide down to the bottom.  Meanwhile the volunteer is shouting, not to use the first 3 poles as people have slid down so hard that there have been BROKEN ANKLES that morning! 

When he said that, I thought this shit isn't worth it.  WTF...I didn't sign up for this..I do not do HEIGHTS.  I am really really scared.  I cannot go down it.  In fact, I am NOT going to go down it.  I am soaking wet.  Lee is yelling at me to just grip the pole and squeeze my legs together to slow me down so I don't land too fast.  I am thinking if I break my fucking ankle there goes my running...and I already paid for about 5 races not to mention all the runnig I have in me left to do.  I am trying to dry my hands the best I can, and they are not getting dry my clothes are wet.  I see some girls going down a side wall.  It's not meant for that but hell fire if they can get down the side of that wall I can.  Russell already slid down that pole, and I am happy for him, but I am not doing it.  But, I get to the side wall, and OH FUCK..I don't really think I can get down it.  Lee is at the bottom trying to tell me  how to get down it.  Finally, I manage to get down it.  I really apologize to the guys and tell them I was really really scared and I was really freaked out by the broken ankle comments from the volunteer as he was warning the runners about those poles!  I feel really bad for not facing my fear but at the same time I weighed the risks vs. benifits ratio , and for me the risk outweighed the benefit.

We keep moving forward and get to the big slide.  The guys go down in front of me, and I slam right into Russell but there is no stopping, and I was worried that it was going to hurt him, but he just laughed it off.  We then get to the cars and jump over the cars.  I stop briefly as I see a guy limping about...turns out he slid too hard down that stupid pole, but his friend that's with him says he's ok so I keep going.  We then get to the end of this race and have to go face first and crawl through a big mud pit under barbed wire and we are drenched with mud.  We then emerge from the mud and the three of us finish the race!  WE are done! 

It's my slowest 5k to date but who cares?  We had so much fun, and I couldn't have been more proud of Lee and Russell as they both really surprised me and did so well.  I felt like I was the one that crapped out with my fear of the poles.  That obstacle was also not there last year!  Lee and Russell both want to do this race again next year.  I am not so sure that I want to do this race again next year as it may just have to be a guy thing.  The verdict is still out for me, but I am more than happy to crack the whip on them anytime to train for it!  I think I'd rather run 50 miles instead ... hahaha

But then at the end of the race, we see a blind mind jumping the fire pit.  Here to find out he did the entire race and he was completly blind!  I am always amazed when I see people with such physical limitations do some really amazing things.  And, I must agree with Lee when he said, " if a blind man can do it then anyone can!"

The pics below I borrowed from the Warrior Dash Facebook post of the blind man on the obstacle course.  I thought he was just amazingly brave.

16th Annual Ranger Run- 15k--May 5, 2012

The title of this blog should be : What NOT to do Before and During a Race, because everything I shouldn't do I did.  I was mentally and physically not prepared for this race.  I can't ever remember feeling more underwhelmed about a race before.  This was very unfortunate because this is a race that I have been wanting to do for years, but never did. I was a Mom at home with my kids every weekend while my husband worked.  The reason I have not raced until this past year was because I never wanted to ask friends to babysit just so I could run, and I never wanted to pay a babysitter just so I could run a race.  When my husband finally got off of weekends that's when I decided to compete again.  I have been dying to for years, but just didn't feel the timing was right with very young children at home.  So, now that I have the opportunity, I have raced in over 12 races in less than a year, and this is the one time that I am NOT feeling excited about this particular race when the time comes!  UGHH 

What led to my downfall?  One:  Running 30 miles on trails that took 10 hours just 6 days prior was not a good idea.  Not only that, this particular trail training run was a terrible run for me physically.  For the first time, I am profoundly exhausted and my insomnia is at an all time high.  When I don't run well, mentally I am drained and frustrated.  I realize that I am in a slump that I do not know how to get out of.  None of my runs this week have gone well.  I feel slow, I am beyond exhausted.  Two:  I am having a terrible week.  Nothing seems to be going right in my little world which is very unusual wth my life.   It's just a bad week.

In fact, the night before this race I tell Lee that I don't think I am going to run this race the next morning.  I am going to bag it.  I have never ever not one time ever felt like bagging a race the night before.  In fact, it takes me a good week to mentally prepare myself for an upcoming race.  I have not found my mental motivation for this race.  I have no plan for this race.  I have not done the math and there are no numbers.  I have no time goal.  Lee tells me that I should go to the race even though I am not feeling it.  Finally, I decide that I'll just use it as a training run and as my long run for the week.  I've already read the race description and only the top 3 are going to place.  So, I am not thinking about actually placing as I know from previous years this is a pretty competitive race and there will be 3 women faster than me at least.   So, with my training run goal in mind, I pack my race stuff up for the next morning.

I finally arrive at the race site about 5 or so minutes before the 5k start time.  I see my friends Sue and Gayle lining up.  Funny, as I didn't know Sue was running this race! lol  I wave at them, but I am not sure if they see me.  Dave and Alan see me, and we watch the start of the 5k race and chit chat.  Alan asks me how fast I am planning to do this race, and I respond that I do not know and it's the truth.  He is trying to get a number out of me, and I cannot find the number so when he presses and asks me to guess, I just say an 1 hr and 40 min. with no real committment to that number on my part!  He jokingly says it will take him 2 1/2 hours.  Dave isn't running the 15k as he planned to because of his neck pain and Sue is taking his place and the race officials are allowing her to run the 5k.  That was so nice of the Ranger Run to allow a subsititution for this race as there are so many races that do not allow this.  Damn, why didn't I think to give my race entry to someone?!  LOL

Soon we start talking to Jessica and Mitchel.  This is the first real conversation that I have ever had with Jessica, and I am glad to finally be able to have time to talk to her at a race.  I realize that she has been at every ultra that I have participtated in since last Nov. either as a volunteer or as a runner.  I am glad to finally have the opportunity as she is also a Mom and a runner. 

Now to the race!  I line up towards the front with Jessica and the canyon blasts off which I already have my ears plugged with my fingers as that thing is loud!  But, it kick starts my heart and feet into gear.  I am notoriously horrible for fast starts but since this is a training run (in my mind), I tell myself over and over and over again do not go fast, do not go fast you have just over 9 miles to run.  Jessica runs ahead, and I figure she is going for a faster run than I am, and I am good with that.  It's not long before I see the 5k runners returning on their race, and I wave to Gayle and Sue as they head toward their finish. 

This race starts out on a road and then ends up on some back roads in the mountains that reminds me of forrest service roads.  It's pretty much like a rough back road that's unpaved with a lot of rocks.  But, it's not a trail and for whatever reason I thought this was a "trail" run, but it's not.  There isn't really anything "technical or trail" about this race it's just back service roads.  That's fine as it's a good training run.  I am listening to my music but it's not really working for me, so I start to pay attention to the other runners around mile 3 and well after the crowd has filtered out.  It's a good distraction.

There is this one big guy who is running a slower but very consistent pace.  We pass each other so many times it's ridiculous.  But, then it's really me who is ridiculous.  This route has a lot of ups and downs...I am not a consistent uphill runner.  He passes me on the uphills and I pass him on the flats.  We do this throughout the last 6 miles of the race.  What I lack in uphill strength and power, I can make up with speed generally on the downhills and flats.

There is an older gentelman who I am also playing tortise and the hare with.  He is not running consistently but rather probably running like I do...goes faster when he is able and slows down when he needs to.  We pass each other maybe around 4 times during the last 6 miles of the race. 

Then there is the guy who is dressed in this royal blue outfit.  He is not hard to miss.  When I finally catch up to him, I see his running style.  His particular running style almost never works.  I've seen this style of running before and this makes the third time in the last year during a race.  This is the guy who sprints ahead like a demon in heat and then slows down to a crawl and walks.  The funny thing is is that everytime I catch up to him he sprints ahead.  I am not worried as I already know that he is going to burn out fast, but I have to grin to myself as I think he just can't stand a gal to pass him because he starts sprinting everytime I catch up to him.  After about 2 miles of this, he can no longer out run me. 

I get in mile 7 and DAMN for the first time in this race, I actually start to feel better and I really pick up the pace.  This is the part whereby I have the devil and angel on each shoulder.  I have the one side telling me that I am running too fast, slow it down, you are gonna crash and burn at the end.  I have the other side that says "run run've been dragging ass for 7 miles or feel good now...go now..worry about the crash and burn later"!  So, against my better judgment I just run as hard as I can as fast as I can.

Then along about mile 8 or so I run up on this very nice older fellow who has to be in his 60's who see's my GPS and asks me how much further.  I tell him just over a mile now.  We run together for a tad and then we run up on the older guy that I've passed a few times except now this time he is ahead...then a funny thing and these two guys actually run upon a female runner who is walking!  I can't believe that I have caught up to a runner that I haven't seen thus far.  She says that she left her watch at home and this is the first race she has run in since she had her baby!  Ok, now the Mom in me comes out, and I am congratulating her on being a new Mom.  This poor gal thought she was only 4 miles into this race, and I tell her only have about less than a mile!  She is so relieved!  I really encourage her to keep going. 

It's about this time that there is a water stop, and I keep going as I am glad I decided to bring my camelbak as this was only the 2nd water stop I've come across.  The other runners that I am caught up with are talking about the last mile and how terrible it's going to be as there is supposedly a huge hill and it's very difficult.  I know that the worse hill is at the end, but I have not put any thought into it before now.  But, now that I just finished running with that stupid devil on my shoulder and caught up with these folks, I realize that I am tired.  I don't want to hear about this hill and finally decide well if it's too hard, I'll just walk up it.  I really don't want to deal with it right now.  LOL

Sure enough, I come upon this hill and it's tough.  The two older fella's get a little ahead of me and so does the new Mom.  I really don't care as this is a training run.  I run a little ways and walk a little ways and repeat.  I have my music back in my ears, but it's not making anything any easier.  I see Mitchel running down the hill, and I figure he is going to catch up to Jessica and finish her race with her which I think is so nice!  I am past mile 9 and don't have much farther to go. 

All of a sudden, I feel this tap on my shoulder and it's Alan!  I am completly taken by surprise as I never expected to see him  He says, something to the effect, "What are you doing walking up this hill, COME ON".  So, he is running uphill, and so I start running uphill.  This isn't so bad..damn why was I walking up that stupid hill?  It's then that I realize when I was tired back in mile 8 or so, I let those other runners totally sike me out about this hill!  OMG, I've been siked out.  For the first time ever in my entire running life ..I got siked!  This is why I never allow myself to get to that mental "I don't give a shit about this run, attitude".  But, here I am stuck right in the middle of this line of thinking and have been stuck here for about 5 days now. 

At about the same time, I am very excited that Alan at least seems to be having a great run.  He is really running well, and I am not sure if he is keeping up with me or if I am keeping up with him, but I do notice that we pass the one older fella and the new Mom.  We end up finishing the race at the same time.  It's the first time I have ever finished a race with someone I know.  I am really thankful for the push.  It's always intersting to see how things come full circle as a few years ago, I told Alan to run on the downhills (rather than walking) when he first started running, and here he is pushing me up on the uphill.  I just have to laugh at myself, but also gratefull for the push because I am in such a slump that I needed a reminder of what kind of runner I am.  I was perfectly capable of making it up that hill, I was just not mentally into this run.  Surprisingly, we finish at 1hr 37 minutes and below my made up guess of 1:40 hrs!  LOL 

Gayle meets us at the finish and shows me her first place 5k medal which looks sort of like a rail road tie and tells me that she won first in her age group!  She also informs me that Sue won first in her age group as well!  I am so excited for them both!  Then, I'm like age groups???  Because I read that only the first 3 overall winners place.  She says, "yes, they have age groups".  I ask her if she thinks they will have age group prizes for the 15k and she says yes and tells me to stick around because my plan was to grab some after race fuel and go home. But then,  I was thinking, "OH SHIT"...I am not even going to place because I didn't even try!  Not only did I have a shitty week, shitty runs, now..I am not even going to place because I didn't try.  I'd rather run my absolute best and not win because I will go home feeling great about MY race i.e. The GA Jewel 50k.  But, if I go home because I didn't at least try to place then in my book that's a failure.  I stick around for the awards and quite honestly, I am shocked to find out that I actually won my age group and there were at least 3 runners in my age  But, then I really didn't feel especially great about placing or winning my AG because I felt that it was somehow not deserved after I treated this like a training run and not a race.  I know this is faulty thinking, but I am just that hard on myself.  My best is never good enough and my worst is never good enough.  It's really hard at the end of the day.

I really did enjoy this run though.  It was a challenging run on hills although not on trail and not technical, it didn't need to be.  I will definitely run this race again.  If anything, I had fun watching the Rangers pass me by early on in the race :-D.  There were a lot of good runners on this course and a lot of good running times.  I learned so much about what NOT to do on a race and learned so much about myself that next year I am determined to do my absolute very best on this course.  The most inspiring thing on this race for me was when I looked at the race results and saw that the last place finisher was Mr McClellan who is 80 years old.  That gave me hope and inspiration to keep trying.

I hope....I hope....I hope....that when I am 80... that I am running...still....

Friday, June 15, 2012

Longst Training Run---April 29, 2012

I meet Margaret, Laura, and Paul at Amicalola Falls.  Our plan is to run to the Hike Inn and fill up with water on the way out and then head to Three Forks.  Then on the way back we will return to the Hike Inn and refill our water there.  The total planned run is 28 miles.

It is a beautiful morning on the trails today and the grass is really starting to grow and everything looks oddly different since my last run here.  I am also feeling sluggish and slower than usual.  After the Jewel 50k, I had to take some days off due to my huge blister that later got infected.   So, I'm kind of feeling slow although I am trying really hard!

We make it to the Hike Inn and then to Springer.  Laura and Margaret decide we should take the BMT (Benton McKaye Trail) to Three Forks and then take the AT (Appalachian Trial) back.  I love this idea as I've been dying to run this portion of the BMT. 

We aren't on the BMT too long when Laura and Margaret get ahead of Paul and I.  We are perfectly ok with that.  Laura and Margaret are both training for 100 mile races and are faster runners than we are.  The last thing I ever want to do is hold up another runner from their training plan.  Not only that, I am not feeling my best.  I am tripping and stumbling more than I ever have.  It's aggravating.

Paul is running ahead of me and we are about 10.5 miles into this trail when I cross a creek and fall right in on my left side.  I can't believe how fast this happened!  My foot just completely slipped on a rock and went right out from under me.  I am completely submerged in water on my left side.  I hit my left arm/wrist/elbow and the side of my left foot was kind of twisted in between a rock.  My first thought was my elbow because I broke this elbow just last May when I fell off my bike.  My second thought was my foot. 

I stand up and by this time, Paul has realized that I have fallen.  He says I don't look so good.   I think I was more surprised than anything but also trying to make sure that I was just ok and nothing seriously hurt.  I tell Paul that I just need a few minutes to stand there and get my bearings.  I also drown my Motoactv watch which makes me mad since I haven't had it that long.  The stupid thing isn't even waterproof!  Who makes a sports watch that is not waterproofed? 

I am ok, so off we go.  I am really enjoying this section of the BMT. It is very runnable and a very beautiful trail.  We have never run to Three Forks before so we are not sure what we will see when we get there.  But, we eventually come up on it, and it's just quite a beautiful area.   We don't see Laura or Margaret anywhere, so we figure that by now they must be miles ahead of us and that we probably won't see them again today.

So, I say to Paul. We've made it this far and it's ONLY 0.9 miles to Long Creek Falls....Do you want to go?"  Paul says, "No, but I will."  I am reminded of why I like to run with Paul!  I'm sure he cannot see the huge grin that's on my face as I'm finally going to make my goal to get to Long Creek Falls! I just think that if I don't get down there today that it's not going to happen for a very long time because of the heat and the fact that I will run out of water on a warmer day.  I won't be able to make it there again till the fall when it cools down. 

I really want to see Long Creek Falls and my feet already hurt and my healing blister is already re-blistered, but it's just 0.9 miles which means it will add another 2 miles total to our run.  We get to the falls and boy does that cheer the both of us up!  I am so happy to wash my face as it's covered in old and new sweaty salt!  We stop and take some pics.  Paul is happy too once he gets there to cool off.  We are both really glad that we went the extra mile to see it.  It's a for sure do not miss spot!

On the way back, I feel mentally energized for awhile from the pit stop at Long Creek Falls, but I'm still tripping way more than usual.  It's just an off run for me today.  Meanwhile, Paul is having his strongest training run to date!  I am so thrilled for him as this is my worst training run to date!  I just have to laugh because we can't get in sync with having the worst days and best days at the same time!  It doesn't matter though, I'm going to get past this, and I am enjoying the run so much even if I am not feeling particularly fast.

I am also excited as on the way back we are climbing this one tricky section of the AT and the white blazes are vague and really spread apart and there isn't really a discernible trail.  But, us two directionally challenged trail runners figure it out and continue our run. I am so proud of us!  We have come a long way in navigating our route!

We make it back to Springer and then head back to the Hike Inn.  It's sometime after Springer and after about 24 miles that I am realizing just how tired I am.  In fact, I do not ever recall feeling this "tired" on a run before.  I'm talking about not the tired of running feeling, but the kind of tired where I can lay down and take a nap tired.  Paul has commented several times that I act/look tired and about my tripping, and he has never seen me like that.  Well, welcome to the club because I've never seen me like that either!  HaHa!  I'm not really sure what attributed to this off run unless it was my lack of running while I let my blister heal.    Meanwhile, Paul is really running strong and runs ahead of me for awhile on our way to the Hike Inn.

We get to the Hike Inn, and I am happy to go to the bathroom finally after about 8 hours or so!  I swear I think I have a steel bladder.  I am surprised to learn that the Hike Inn has composting toilets!  And, there is a nice sign that says something to the effect that if you drop your phone or keys they will be happy to show you where you may retrieve it from.  It cracks me up to read that while I am on the pot!  AT the Hike Inn, I eat a very rich but yummy cookie and several glasses of lemonade.  This place is awesome to host such treats for a donation.

At the Hike Inn, I ask the staff if two ladies who were running came in, and they replied yes, that they were here 20 to 30 min ago and that they were there for awhile.   So, I was glad to know that Laura and Margaret made it back just fine and did not wait on us.

We leave the Hike Inn,  and by this time I am ready to be done with this run!  Luckily, there are only about 4 miles left.  Although, I am still enjoying it, I am ready to be done. Now, I feel even more sluggish after stopping to eat and drink at the Hike Inn.  We get back to the parking lot and Paul says that we've run 30 miles and it's taken us 10 hours!  Ten hours, Good Grief!

The good news is.... is that it does raise my confidence that even on and off run day, that I can run the DRT 50k within the time frame allotted next November!  Bear in mind that the DRT is actually about 2 miles longer and a little tougher elevation gain.  But, still I know that on "race day", I've got a good shot at conquering the DRT 50k even though it's going to take me the entire 10 hours to do it!  I know I can!