Stephanie and Mike both wanted to join in for this one, so it was nice to have some enthusiastic partners. Mike volunteered to help cook post race fajitas, and Stephanie wanted to run the 50K.
We started at 700 in the dark, and it was very cool. It was hard to believe we would be finishing in 90 + degrees because it felt so pleasant out. Nothing real eventful the first loop. I followed a huge group down and wrong way, and thankfully listened to another runner who said it was the wrong way, so it made it a 32.5 mile run. Stephanie wanted to run with me on loop 1, so she added the extra distance too. we also both noted the course had changed since the park had lost some tree and cactus filled trails to softball fields, so there were several sections of running a treeless, mostly dirt field. The was fine in 60 degrees, but later in the day in 90 degrees, it was not ideal.
Started loop 2 and I remembered this race does not have gatorade, but Heed. I think Heed tastes EXACTLY like mylanta…lemon-y and chalk-y, so it is pretty much undrinkable. I tried one cup of the stuff and realized I would have to just stick to plain water for this race. Heed is just terrible. Not good for a 90 degree day, but better than throwing up Heed half way in. stephanie still wanted to run with me, and I’m not sure why, since I was running about as slow as a walk pace….but I guess she had written off placing in the top 3. We rambled on, and had a fun day. 3 loops actually goes by pretty quick. we came in at the end of loop 2 and saw all the folks who had done the 10 mile run enjoying post race fajitas and beer. mike thought we were done, but I sadly informed him we had another 2-2.5 hours of running.
I knew loop 3 would slow. It was now hot, and you can’t really get faster in 90 degrees. it wouldn’t have been so bad had we acclimated a little, but this was the first 90 degree day this year. I discovered it was much better to power walk the open field stretches with the very intense sun. Plus, my running muscles were starting to hurt. One nice thing was there was a kite festival going on too, so everytime we passed one the fields we were treated an impressive array of giant, colorful kites. It made up for the lack of trees, or even grass. About half way through this loop I think Stephanie finally realized I was just too slow for her and took off. I was thankful to have my ipod, and I had enough time left to listen to a whole album, and I figured that would take me to the finish. It was somewhat of a sufferfest…..I was happy to be running, and happy to have Mike and Stephanie there with me, but it’s hard to find a way to say a hot, intensely sunny day won’t be at least a little painful…plus I had to remind myself I spend half the week completley hobbled from Waco.
Finally hit that finish, and was ready for the fajitas. Although having chugged plain water and coke all day, my stomach didn’t really quite feel up to it yet. Bummer. Stephanie and I were also informed the awards were long over, and we headed home under the impression we were amongst the very last finishers. I had a lot of fun, but felt a little bad about being so slow, and slowing Stephanie down so much. I wondered how in the heck I even managed to take that long.
I was pretty tired when I got home. I think it was more the sun than anything else. I took a nap at 530 or so, and woke up starving. Mike and I went to Kim Phung, convinced spring rolls and vermichelli would revive me. At the end of dinner I got a fortune cookie that said “If you can’t excel with talent, triumph with effort.” I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Boy, doesn’t this describe most of my running efforts.
Later that night I was checking the race results, and found out we were far from the end, and had actually both placed, winning the highly desired beer mugs that are prizes. Damn! Wish I had known that before we left. This race is one of the few I really want to place in since it has the best, and most usable awards. I felt much better after I realzied a lot of runners had fairly slow times due to the heat.
So, the end result is I will keep trying to triumph with my efforts. I am slowly accepting I am not as fast as most of my friends. It’s ok, as long as I can go home saying I gave every effort I could.
New stuff on the horizon. Gotta change gears and get ready for Boston. it is 5 weeks away, so I have some work to do. time to up the effort!