Sunday, November 1, 2009
I cannot resist the day as I look outside and sun is rising. I know it will be a great day. Halloween has ended and I am pretty sure I am in only person on campus at Kent State University that is awake let alone glad and ready for the day.
The Race: Autumn Leave Trail Run. The name does not do this course justice. I picture an inviting, slightly winding trail through some majestic oak and maple trees dropping their leaves. Well it was quite different than that. So much better.
Before the race starts, I run out for some last minute pick-ups, trying to keep my legs loose. Couple deep breaths. Feel the cold air. Shake out my legs. All is quiet, lean down hand on my watch. The gun is fired.
There was a pavement small loop that led into a treacherous grass field section that was practically wet from the rain the day prior to the race. Imagine your feet feel increasingly heavier with every step sinking into mud and attempting to dodge the worst of the holes and puddles. Out of the grass section 1, comes mile marker 1. I went out like a was running a flat 5k-5mi and ran a 6:45mi clip. Needless to say I backed off a little bit till the second mile. The terrain kicked my butt with small but aggressive rolling hills, running through barns, running on an actual trail back to the oddly fun but painful grass field with plenty of holes to roll your ankle.
I have not been tested so much in a race, especially not a 5 miler, since I was in high school. By mile 3, I ran with a younger girl and an older women. We locked into our pace with each other (running roughly 845mi pace in mud, 715 on pavement). It took me back to HS XC. Good times. My competitive edge started to show as I worked for my position. Settling in at 4/5Th female overall. After 4.25mi the effects of the race started to take its toll on me. I wanted the win I wanted to prove that I can come out wait on your tail and out kick right on the last 50 yards. That last 3/4mi might be the hardest I have ran all season. I felt the lactic acid building up in the quads as we worked are way up a winding paved hill at an increasingly pace of sum 7:10 mi. (According to my Garmin Forerunner 305). I was finished. There was nothing left. Then the next song started to play. It was Van Halen's Panama. As the beat began at the fast tempo, so did my legs begin to turn over at an increasing rate.
It was exactly what I needed. I turned my legs over faster than I thought I could. I closed the gap on 4Th, and on the final turn, I gave it everything I had. Literally everything I had, including some of my oatmeal from the morning breakfast. So if you liked to be tortured, dodging holes in foot long grass, weaving in and out of cornfields, well this is the race for you. This evening I will ice down my legs, stretch a few times, elevated and down some Advil knowing that I got my endurance fix.
At the race I got to meet most the Grunt Girl Race crew. They are extraordinary women. They run for the same reasons I run and go through the same things I do during a race. To have that support, knowing that they will be there cheering each other on makes waking up early on a cool morning that much more inviting.
I getting asked the same question, "Why Do I Run?" time again and again.
I got some more answers.
I RUN BECAUSE: I love the race-I need a reason to eat-I want a reason to get all muddy-I secretly love the cold weather-I love short shorts-stress reliever-I am an addict-There are worse addictions-I live for the runner's high-Theres no better way to start out an early morning-I was born for it-It gives me a reason to buy high-tech gear-I like to torture myself-Pain is good-I can.