Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another tough half marathon under my belt

They called this race a gnarly trail run over tough uneven steep terrain. It was strongly recommended that we carry at least 20 ounces of water/fluids with us even though there were 5 aid stations spread throughout the course.

I knew it was going to be a difficult run.
 (They slated it as tougher than last year's course).

I knew going in there was going to be a lot of miles of single track trails through meadows and up forested hills reaching to 1480 feet in elevation for most of the course. But what I couldn't dream up was that I would be able to run the race with very little pain in the quicker pace I had hoped for.

But I did. I really did it!

I finished feeling really happy with the results.
After taking an 11-day stretch off from running in the latter part of March for a much needed vacation and then...after four days of being home, i underwent surgery that would affect another 13 days off of running... (or any form of exercise), so you can imagine panic and fear setting in once I realized I didn't have many days in the last month to fully prepare for this race. 

I became increasingly worried. "How will this affect me!?"  Well. I figured. "NOT GOOD!"


Around the 3 mile mark... we were running on single lane trails. No way anyone could pass on them. You just settle in and run the course. Attempting to pass on the left could result in a serious fall... and it was impossible to pass on the right. So there we were ... running as though in traffic... keeping a five foot cushion between us as we ran, hoping no one stumbles and falls.. because that could leave for a dreadful result.

Once we got to a more clearer terrain, we fell into our comfortable running speed and spaced ourselves more appropriately.

I caught up to Wendy who is a nurse and my sister's friend and now a friend of mine. 
I started singing behind her...

"Who's peeking out
from under a stairway  .....
Calling a name that's lighter than air .....
Who's bending down to give me a rainbow .....
Everyone knows it's Windy .....

I don't think she heard me sing but glanced at me as I tapped her on her shoulder as I passed.. just as the steep climb turned downward... the gravity suddenly turned our run into a downhill race ...  and ... as she raced downward,  her foot stumbled over a rock and she flew. I mean ... FLLLLEEWWW ... through the air and skidded on the grass.

I stopped to ask if she was alright.

"I'm fine! Keep running!"
she said.

And so I did.

Little did we both realize the next words to the song went on to say...

"Who's tripping down the streets of the city
Smiling at everybody she sees
Who's reaching out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it's Windy..."

And she did. She sorely tripped.. but she also got back up and continued to run and finished the race not all that much further than I did...  smiling at everybody she sees ....  She is TRULY that song!
  Notice Wendy's bloody knees from her downhill fall

I felt in a zone.

I kept looking up thinking, "where am I?" I didn't recognize most of the course. It was gorgeous.. running down Buick Meadow was bonus reward for me.

I found my pace and kept passing slower runners on their left. It was a rocky, treacherous fire road that took it's toll this winter with the heavy rains. Deep crests. Large boulders towering up. It was tiresome.... lifting my legs to jump the rugged rocks... that were already tired doing their time earlier on the steeper grades.

The weather was mild, yet felt extra humid to me. I drank most of my water bottle the first 3 miles. I kept stopping at the AID stations that weren't out of water to grab a cup full. I was surprised I went through my water so quickly.

I kept looking back for a glimpse of Angie or Heidi. They were behind me and out of my sight.  It didn't make any sense to me. Maybe it was the break I had and I gave my legs a chance to rest. I thought for sure I would be running behind them...

At one point, a runner asked me, "where do we think we are?"
"I shouted between breaths.. "At the 8th or 9th mile..."
She was surprised and said she felt it was more like 10 miles. 

I hoped she was right.  And thinking back... I believe she was.

Running just before the finish line, a team of 10-15 runners from the Jeff Galloway Group screamed my name, "GO SHAWWWN!" as i started to pace toward the finish. I looked up, waving my hands at them when I saw my brother, my nephew and niece and my cousin from Long Island visiting and Heidi's husband and kids standing next to them.  Clapping and cheering me on. 

I LOVED IT and it pushed me to sprint forward!!!

I ran it in 2:41:58 or was it 2:42:02....

No matter what.. i beat my time last year. And this felt different. This year, I finished without any aches and pains. And that alone felt great!!!!

(Of course tomorrow holds the secrets to how I will really feel...) 

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Bethany Hissong said...

Wow, what a story! I had to laugh at that song because I used to sing it all the time when I was little! (It was in my piano book). Congratulations on the great time! I think you were right... sometimes rest is just what we need. I think that's why when I haven't worked out in a while, the first workout always feels easy... though I suffer two days later!

Bethany Hissong said...

Shawn-- I just read your comment about Santa Rosa!!! OOooh how jealous am I?! I do seriously love that town. Lancaster is pretty but I just like the more laid back attitude and the sunny weather of the West coast. My best friend from childhood moved out there when we were in elementary school and I think it's been my dream since then! Maybe someday we'll run into each other, running a half marathon! (I will have to train hard for that though!!!) :)

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Sounds like a tough course. That's a great finishing time!

doodlegirl said...

Oh Bethany, I can so relate to your "that's why when I haven't worked out in a while, the first workout always feels easy... though I suffer two days later!.." But it's a GOOD HURT, yes!??! haha

Thanks Tina! It was a tough course, but what made it fun was that it was never ever boring. And the miles passed by so quickly! Who can't love that!

Dan said...

Wow what a wonderful narration! You are truly becoming a seasoned runner with the science of it all...the pacing and the terrain, etc...and I LOVED that you sang 'Windy' :o)
Keep up the great work Shawn! You are getting better all the time.

bren said...

Inspiring Shawn!

Jen said...

See what a little rest can do for you? Great story, gorgeous course. I can hear the song "Windy" in my head. Love that song! How's the hand?

Christine said...

Congratulations. I knew you'd rock it! :D