Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sulphur Springs 25K Trail Run 2011 - Done!

I did it!  Yesterday I ran the Sulphur Springs 25K trail race.  The only other 25K I have done was last year's Run For the Toad (see earlier post).  It was raining for that race, and the conditions were extremely muddy.  The only thing I wanted for this year's Sulphur Springs was that it not be muddy.  Well - so much for that.  With all the rain we've been having and the cold weather, there were some very muddy parts.  It looked like the race organizers had tried to help by putting some gravel down in certain patches, but they couldn't cover all of the patches.  At least it didn't rain hard during the run - it was more of a light mist to start off with, which eventually disappeared.  The mist actually felt very good as I ran.  And it wasn't as muddy as the Toad, because there were lots of long sections which were perfectly fine to run.  But there were some long patches where the mud was so deep you were afraid you would lose your shoe to it, and then the mud would build up on the bottom of your shoes and you would be skating instead of running.  I saw one guy slide backward at least three feet and then fall on one hill.

Anyway, at the beginning of the race I came up with a slogan for the day: 'Embrace the Mud'.  So that's what I tried to do.  I just ran right through it.

Initially I was worried I wouldn't even be able to run the race, because my shins had started getting sore about 10 days prior, and they seemed to keep getting worse.  I was resting them from running, but I was still doing other things like boot camp.  Anyway, luckily my MMA and runner friend showed me how to tape up my calves and told me to get some Tiger Balm, and that felt so good - I highly recommend it.  The tape really helped and I ran the whole race feeling great.  My goal was not to get a fast time (which, okay, I probably couldn't get even if I wanted to - I'm not there yet!), but just to finish the race and not be injured afterward.  I like the idea of crossing the finish line feeling good and strong and still smiling.  I wanted to feel good and be able to dance at Lobsterfest that night and that's what happened.  I finished in 3:19 hrs.

I have some great memories from the race.  At the beginning of the race, the whole forest was very quiet except for the sound of runners breathing and the different noises our feet made when we would go from running on the hard-packed trail, to the mud, and then on to the gravel.

All the rain had made the forest very lush and green, and there was dark green moss and light green ferns everywhere, and huge blankets of blue and pink flowers around all the trees that were beautiful.

The mist made it feel like I was running through a rainforest, and it darkened all the bark on the tree trunks and etched out the lines on the green dripping leaves.

I really like how runners are so kind to each other; many of them yell to others as they pass: "Good job," or "Well done!"

We met one man who said he had run the trail previously as a blind runner but had just received a bionic eye and could see the trail well for the first time.  He said the trail was beautiful.  He was almost 70!

I met another man who was beside me as we ran/walked up Martin Road hill.  He puffed, "We're almost done.  We'll feel normal again in a week!"

I said nonchalantly, "Oh, a week - is that all? Pffft!"

The best remark came from another woman (who I can only assume was a mother) as we huffed and puffed, sweaty and muddy, up an incline.  She muttered, "There's got to be a better way to get some time for ourselves!"

I mean, some women go shopping.  And I guess some would compare the thrill of achievement of finding a great pair of shoes on sale to a 25K.  But although everyone can buy a pair of shoes, not everyone can run a 25K.

So I'll take my second 25K.  It was a great race!

1 comment:

Tara Hamilton said...

It was a great race! And we survived to tell the tale. The mud only adds more character to the story. It wasn't just a race, but a muddy challenge. And we not only survived, but felt good enough to celebrate until late into the night. It really was an amazing accomplishment! Way to go!