As I set out from A-town yesterday afternoon I had several things weighing on my mind.
- When I left the office on Friday at 3:00pm I just got off of working an 11 hour day and a 70 hour week.
- Why do I still have this stupid cough from my cold I got 3 weeks ago?
- Damn, my run on Wednesday was freakin' rockin' I sould have run forever!
- This weekend is going to be a hell of a lot of fun staying in Chattanooga and running a trail race I got talked into a couple of weeks ago.
- How far should I run?
I got to Rock/Creek and stood in line to pick up mine and Kim P's numbers and thought again to myself 'How far should I run?' Currently, my training is at the low-end of an ultramarathon level. If you asked me to run a marathon I could do it, 50K, sure, but beyond that it gets iffy... So, as I got my number I asked if it was possible to transfer over to the full marathon and the kid said that I would have to talk to someone at the race tomorrow to see if it was possible.
|The GUTS peeps after dinner at Lupi's.|
At some point that evening, perhaps after I had a beer or two, I must have mentioned that I was considering this because one of the first things John M said to me before the race was that I should check to see if I could transfer to the full from the half. Taking this as a 'semi-dare' / 'semi-test' I was totally game. Not two weeks ago I rocked out 21 miles on the trail and had NO problems at all. So, I did it. I transferred. I was game for it and knew I could do it.
|Sunrise over the reservoir.|
I stood in line with Amanda T and Kim P at about the 10m/m pace group and then the gun went off. Actually, we were like, 'Really, did the race just start?' No one moved, but then slowly we got started. My goal was long and slow as it should be for this type of race, and that was what I did. I ran with AT over the road section at about a 9:30 pace and then entered the single track.
I remember running. Running pretty good. Chatting with people about the 'Rapture This' marking on my left calf. THEN before I knew it I was at mile 5. Wow! I had no idea that I was that far in! AND THEN 2 more miles down the trail I happened. I started feeling light headed to the point that I had to stop running. I kept looking behind me and every time I did my vision started to diminish and I couldn't focus. CRAP! My legs were good, but I had no wind and I felt like I was going to faint.
AT eventually caught up with me at about mile 7.5 and I was hurting pretty bad, but it was nice to have a familiar face to run with, so I did until the mile 8.3 aid station where she took off. I was not game at this point. Infact, I turned around and she had vanished! Did she get taken up in the rapture?
So, on I plodded for another mile until I hear a friendly voice call from behind me 'Hey Jesus Hair!' It was KP. Shit, I thought to myself. What is going on? AND like that, she was gone.
So, here I am...semi-alone...feeling like crap...and then it hits. Here comes the Heed. Now, I've run 25 or so races and NEVER felt like this at all. But, for some reason, this was my day to hurl, and hurl I did. Several people actually stopped to ask me if I was OK and each time I said, 'I will be as soon as I stop hurling!' Might I add here that I love trail runners. What an encouraging and supportive bunch of people.
Fast forward to mile 10. Another friendly voice, 'Aaron, is that you? Are you OK? What the hell man?' Jason R caught up with me and was having a hell of an awesome race. At mile 10 he was running strong and chatting away with the people he was running with. Me, I was BEAT DOWN! JR said that i could run with him and he would take me to the finish of the full, and I know he would have, but I had ZERO left. I hung with him for about ¼ mile but that was it. I let him run on with him still talking to me. (I feel kind of bad about that.)
Three miles to go, and these were the longest three miles of my running career. I walked about all of it and knew at the full/half split that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to come close to finishing the full, so I swallowed my pride and marched on. Along the way I did get to see a cool view of the reservoir that made me think of something from like outer space or something. Check it out.
|Is this Mars?|
3:05 after I started I finally crossed the finish. Ugh. My WORST race ever, but overall a FANTASTIC experience. I have to say congrats to the whole crew that I ran with this weekend. It was awesome to run with some truly amazing athletes. I can't wait until next year...or maybe even The Stage Races,,,hmmmmm...