My favorite and defeat

One of my favorite things to read on blogs are race recaps.  They capture the raw emotion every runner has during and after a race.  You see triumphs, troubles, tears, laughter, unpredicted success and outright shitty moments.  You can learn, grow and support the running community just a little easier knowing what others go through.  What we are all willing to put out there.  In honor of that I want to share a recap of a race that was a mix of everything.  The hardest, shittiest, happiest, most depressing, put my big girl panties on and just keep going race I have ever participated in.  The Waterfall 10k in Lagro, IN.  Be warned this may be long but I can’t explain this race in short.
June 22, 2014 was a day I will not soon forget and one that has made me stronger.  I had only been running for a month but wanted to conquer my first 10k.  I knew I was capable of running the distance, I would just be slow.  I wanted to finish around 1:05:00.  I found that reasonable.  I knew what I could do and 10:27/mile was in that range, or so I thought.
D and I headed out early Sunday morning toward Lagro which by what I had found was approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes away.  We talked about our plans and how I knew he was going to seriously kick my butt!!  We were both 10k virgins but determined we were going to have a good day!  When we arrived we scoped out the area, chatted with some folks about the course.  The weather was beautiful but, it had rained a lot recently and they had to make a last minute decision to make the 10k a double loop of their 5k course.  This was ok with me!  I liked knowing I would be aware of how much further I had in that second loop (didn’t yet have a Garmin).
This was a trail race.  D and I are both experienced with cross country running so this was no big deal!  They explained the course and I knew I could just follow the others and be ok!  We lined up, they explained that they would have water at the 5k finish, which was also our turn around and off we went! 
The course started on the road going uphill, then we went downhill and then back up hill.  Not even a half mile in and we were already running crazy hills!!!!  Oh, boy!  We then took a left onto a flat stretch of road until finally moving into the woods at about the 3/4 mile mark.  When we got on the trail I felt alive!!  I was loving it!  Happy to be running, happy to be feeling good and enjoying the scenery.  Then the course got…well…interesting. 

We had a couple of slight turns and started downhill, then a hairpin turn to a path about 2 feet wide!  Ok I could handle that.  Then the hills started again.  They were steep!  Down was ok, not too steep but up, that was another story!  They were about 30 feet tall so not too big right?  But they were steep, like fall on my ass if I am not careful kind of steep!  There were blocks stuck in the hills as makeshift steps.  This wasn’t just once or twice.  Several times there were hills like this.  The land would level off and then BOOM, a hill.  I counted a total of 7 that hurt…BAD.  There were others that weren’t so bad that I was thrilled to see.  The really cool part though was about halfway through the woods there was a waterfall and we ran right across the top of it!  The water was only a couple of inches deep so our feet didn’t get wet!!  It was GORGEOUS!!!
The course flattened out and we headed back out of the road toward the start/finish.  We went back down the road to the hills….again!  Oh joy!  At this point I was already tired and wanted to stop!  But I knew the runners ahead of us were going to be turning around and coming back at us.  I was going to be able to see D!!  When I saw him we met in the middle of the road for a quick high five and smile!  Another running caught up to me and we ran together through the turn around.  I grabbed a cup of desperately needed water and we discussed how we thought the course was long.  We hit the “5k” mark at around 38 minutes????  What!?!  Too slow!!  But I can’t speed up!  Too tired.
Again with the hills on the road, and the sun was now showing its ugly head!  Ugh!!  The flat road was great except the sun was just draining!!  I couldn’t wait to get in the woods. 
The woods were nice for like 5 minutes.  Then the humidity hit!  I couldn’t catch a break!!  By now I had succumbed to walking every so often and didn’t know if I could even finish.  One foot in front of the other I trudged on.  And I mean trudged.  Barely faster than a walk if at all.  I needed water, and to stop moving.  I was too hot, too thirsty, too tired.  I was too embarrassed to walk and have people see so I kept looking around, there was nobody in sight!  I was exhausted and alone.  Completely defeated.   
Water!!!!!!  I got to the waterfall to cross it and I had to drink!  I didn’t care if it was safe, it was clear and that was good enough for me!  I looked over my shoulder so I didn’t make an ass out of myself, coast clear!  I knelt down and drank!!  So cold, so good.  I made it quick and headed off up the treacherous hill that went up from the waterfall.  My right calf cramped!  Great add this to the already shitty run and now I am just in tip top shape!!  I just had to keep telling myself to keep moving.  That’s all I had to do was move.  The second time through the woods I walked up almost all the hills.  I just couldn’t run them anymore.  I didn’t have enough left. 
I made it to the road…FINALLY, almost done!!!!!!!  I started to be a little happier. The thought of almost being done was thrilling!  I still couldn’t go any faster but I was excited!!  As I made the final turn toward the finish I knew I had 2 large hills to contest with.  I also knew I couldn’t do it.  I was going to have to walk them.  The first I walked up, I made my best effort to run down it but I was barely moving…until he was there cheering for me!  My 11 year old boy that had totally just kicked my ass was there at the bottom of the last monstrous hill waiting for me!  He cheered me on and ran me up the last hill all the way to the finish!  While running he told me he had finished right at an hour, let me know I was almost there and that I could do it!  I could see the clock and it was pushing 1:20:00…I told him I wasn’t going to let him beat me by 20 minutes and gave it everything I had.  1:19:19.  Not what I wanted but I vowed when done with this race, if they have it again next year I am out for blood.  I will not let it beat me like that again.  D got 2nd in his age group 19 and under so we got his award before leaving.  While doing this a women with a Garmin on mention the race was long and was actually 6.7 miles!  What!?!  I was tortured for over a half mile longer than I should have been!  The bonus in finding this out was I could take a couple minutes away for that last half mile and my time would not have been so bad.  Not good but not that bad!! 
I took a lot away from this race:
-Some trail races are no joke, train properly or pay dearly…I paid
-Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…I drank out of a river for petes sake!
-I am a salty runner…main reason my calf tightened up
-My son is a BEAST!…finished his own race then ran a super hard hill with me to finish!
-I am capable of more than I think…I was broken and kept going
-Pre-race fuel…not half a piece of toast!
Have you even been in a race that completely defeated you?
Did you have to take hard learned lessons about fuel/hydration?
Biggest takeaway from a race you have?    

8 thoughts on “My favorite and defeat

  1. He is the coolest! Every time we race together he does that! He is just so much faster than me!!! I told him someday he won't have time to come back to cheer me on!

    I read your recap to Portland and can completely relate to how you felt. But we are stronger than that and we WILL conquer!!!

    Still holding on those results?!?!?!?!


  2. I love reading race recaps too 🙂 I would be very proud of yourself for this. I have never done a trail race, but from my cross country days, all those extra uneven surfaces definitely make it harder to run when you are tired. I love that you ran with your son! i hope one day my kids will want to run with me….well, when I have them 🙂

    I have definitely been in races that defeated me, in fact I would say Chicago could have been considered one of them, but those are the races that make you stronger, and give you extra determination. Just like I said in my post today, you WILL be glad this race happened 🙂


  3. oh man, that does not sound like a fun race. I'm glad you were able to learn from it, and it sounds like you're in pretty good spirits about it now. I literally lol'd when I got to the part where you talk about drinking from the river!


  4. Your son is awesome! Not because he finished so fast which is cool, but because he went back to run his mom in. I love that!

    The Portland Marathon really left me feeling defeated like this race did for you. SO many unexpected hills and the sun was just relentless. It was 80+ degrees with no shade whatsoever. I am a salty runner too but I don't think I cramped up… then again I was hurting so much the last five miles I don't think I could have told you what hurt because of what thing, haha. The finish line always helps to wipe away some of the pain and as competitive people of course we want our redemption runs! You will get yours next year!


  5. Pretty awesome that you ran with your son (I'm guessing he is your son and not some random 11 year old kid haha sorry if I'm wrong) 😀 He sounds like the sweetest kid in the world, running with you at the end and everything 🙂

    My first half marathon felt like hell. After just 5 km I was so angry and sad and told my mom I would never ever run again after I was done with that race. Then I got to the finish line, didn't even realize it before my mom and dad stopped running haha, then this random first aid person took me with her to the first aid tent thing because I was so pale and wasn't really able to stand on my own hahah. Drank what they gave me and ate a banana, then walked back out to my parents and told them I wanted to do it again. All pain forgotten. Can't wait to run it again in March haha 😀 this time I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have to be taken to the first aid place xD
    I learned sooo much from that race, and my second half marathon felt like a 5K compared to my first haha 🙂

    Some lessons I've learned is that drinking sports drinks while running will make me puke and that it's really hard to chew anything after 15km haha.


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