Several months ago, a (really friggin' fast) buddy running and graphic artists/printing couple announced their debut of a half marathon race - in a newly-opened and never-used section of park on the Southwest side of San Antonio. Nevermind that I had no time to train in July at all and never on trails, I registered. So, I prepared my un-trained self for the race by retrieving my spider-webbed, muddy trail shoes from the porch on Friday, where they have remained muddy and unused since the IAAP trail run in April, and washed them. Yes, April. Do not try this at home - this is VERY poor preparation for a trail half marathon.
When I tried to describe the location to non-runners I know - "near Lackland AFB," they replied "oh, the landfill?" Hmmm. In Wisconsin, we cover landfills with snow or fake snow and ski on them. With rope tows and chairlifts. Thoughts of impending doom set in. In between not running much and not running trails, I also did not run hills.
So, raceday, I put on my brave-ist face and thought "I've gutted out trail runs and half marathons before, I can do this" and posed like a goofball.
So, at least it was overcast and only hot, humid, hilly, and trail for the first lap. I was leap-frogging with another running gal, Lyza, and we kind of chatted intermittently through miles 3-5 about quitting after the first loop (mind you, she ran ~18 miles the day before). And, I really thought about it from miles 5-6.5. But, then, there was not a "half half marathon/10k" category, so dropping out was a DNF (did not finish). I have never DNF'd a race. So, I waited to see what Lyza would do (hoping she'd quit - maybe we could be a virtual relay team that ran at the same time?? Weird things go through your head at this point)...
Yes, that is 1:31, 6.5 miles in - it only got worse. The sun came out. Around mile 10, after arguing with the voices in my head, I decided it was better to hike it in than risk falling with my clumsy trail running - in week 1 of marathon training. Don't forget - I had to face this again (I even thought about cheating and running through the field, instead of down/up the hill - I wasn't going to place anyway)
And I made it in - as a crazy running chicken DFL (Dead F***ing Last - for the individual HM - there was one relay team after me).
But, DFL beats DNF (did not finish), beats DNS (did not start). I did not die, and it was a cool (NOT temperature-wise, Fonzie-wise), different race. And it is in my top 3 toughest races (both self-imposed obstacles and the conditions/terrain - somewhere around mile 11ish along the run, I was rating them, trying to distract myself: Tapatio Springs 5k after dislocating my patella http://www.sallysuglyracepics.blogspot.com/2012/04/more-back-to-back-and-more-owww.html
and the icy Spicewood HM last December http://www.sallysuglyracepics.blogspot.com/2013/12/catching-up.html.) Even after the race, I'm making it a 3-way tie for the toughest races I've run, including 6 marathons and 20ish? HMs and 3 200+ mile relays.
And Edragon did a really great job on this inaugural race - there were plenty of water stops, staffed by cute boys, medical support, and post race chow/beer, as well as cool shirts and finisher tiles. Now, they just need to add a chair lift on that HELL hill and a rope tow on a few others...
Actually, a day later, my toes/toenails hurt from the downhills, but I'm okay. I hope this doesn't imprint in my mind that I should still run untrained races, because I have to be smarter in the future...oooo shiny things/race medals and new crazy races that I have not trained for...
Thank you to Robert Parker, Karen Rahlf - spelled right!, Scottydog, MicheleD, and LauraC for the pics and the support!