Monday, March 17, 2014

Instant Classic Trail Marathon

Best. Day. Ever. !!

After a giant and amazing meal Friday night (sweet potatoes, guacamole and salad, accompanying a very tall and juicy veggie burger), I attempted to go to bed early. Nice try, champ. I finally told my brain to shut it! around 12am. 5 hours later, my friendly iPhone alarm told me it was go-time. The herd of butterflies that had been residing in my belly the day before were surprisingly MIA. Deep breath, a little prayer to The Man upstairs, and up and 'at-em. Its Marathon Day.  

My first sign that it was going to be a great day came when I pulled on my sneakers. Sliding my foot in, I felt a weird something in my shoe. Flipped the shoe upside down, gave it a little shake shake. Looks like Lucy left me a couple of little good-luck charms: some of my sparkly earrings; one in each shoe. Hard to take yourself too seriously when you've got a little toddler bandit leaving you tiny surprises in the most unexpected places. Thanks, Lu  ;) 

I got to Pocahontas around 7am, just in time to see this gorgeous sunrise.

As my good friend Dr. McDreamy might say, "Its a beautiful day to run 26.2 miles."

8am came around quickly. Here we go! Here's a quick play-by-play.

Miles 0-5: Ran alongside a couple of super nice chicks from Northern Va. Kept ourselves entertained and semi-distracted by chatting about our husbands, kids and an upcoming Costa Rican vacation. No, of course I'm not the one going on vacation. As if!

Miles 5-11: Nice (and wonderfully familiar) rolling terrain. Had to ditch my NorVA friends. I really do better going solo when the mileage starts racking up. But, it was awesome to have so much company out on the course; I've gotten pretty used to those trails being basically deserted during the winter months. For once, I wasn't worried about getting ambushed by a pack of coyotes or stumbling upon a hibernating bear. Stay in your cave, Smokey!

Mile 11- Hit the turn-around point for this portion of the course at the Swift Creek Dam. I was pleasantly surprised at how great I was feeling; took a minute to soak it in and enjoy the scenery. Pocahontas really feels like "home" to me; I said a little prayer, thanking God for blessing me with the ability to even attempt this feat and for the incredible weather. You The Man!

Miles 12-17- At this point, I was heading back toward the Start-Finish, where the course led over to the other side of the park for a loopy-modified out & back. I made mile 17 my immediate goal and trekked back up Fendley Station, unable to wipe a goofy grin off my face. This is awesome! 

Marathon Map

Miles 18-20- Now here's where things got a little ugly. As I crossed the bridge and the Start-Finish area, heading to the other side of the park, it hits me: I still have to run 7 more miles. At that moment, 7 miles felt like 17. My legs were starting to fatigue, I knew the next few miles would be some challenging terrain and I had to pee. Goofy grin= poof! I got myself together, took a quick potty break, sucked down a Gu gel and gave myself a quick pep-talk. I miss my music! 

Miles 20-23- On the 20-mile marker, someone had written "The hardest miles are behind you." That little reminder was very well-timed, indeed. Since I didn't have my music with me, I started thinking of songs that I could sing in my head. Katy Perry's California Gurls. That'll do. I'm still singing that song today (I can NOT get it out of my head!), but it kept me company on those crucial miles.

Miles 23-26- Holy crap, I'm actually gonna do this.

My sweet niece at the Finish Line
Hubby's view from the sideline. Running away from him, as usual. HAHA!

Mile 26.2

 I had quite a cheering section at the finish line, which meant more to me than they all know. I could not have completed this marathon or the hours of training that led up to it without the support of my family. Having them there to celebrate with me was priceless.


Instant Classic Trail Marathon
Time: 4:40:03
Average Pace: 10:41 min/mile

Place: 40/94 overall, 7/24 for the women, 3rd in my age group

My favorite cheerleader