5-5-13 – Great Western Trail Race recap

This recap will be different from my last few…for this recap isn’t about PR’s, kicking butt, or finding my speed at the end.  Nope…the race unfolded quite differently in fact. 

It starts with the fact that the last two weeks I have BARELY been able to run.  I made myself get a couple miles in here and there, but after running in a pair of ‘test’ Newtons two weeks ago-my knee went downhill fast.  It constantly gave me aches and pains that made me nervous in all honestly.  I was worried last night that I may not even finish today’s race…

Sometimes we lose ourselves in life, and getting your head in the game can be a treacherous battle we don’t have the energy to fight.  I put my energy into laying my race outfit out last night, making sure my Garmin was charged, and my fuel belt packed. 

Janel showed up at 7:15 promptly, and my husband dropped us off at the start due to absolutely NO parking and us not wanting to take the shuttle.  We walked the almost ½ mile to the start, said a quick hello to friends and got in line for the porta potties for one last pit stop.  While in line, we chatted with fellow runners and I was quickly reminded of reason #538 why I love this community.  You are instant friends, comrades decked out in various colors, and you are there for one simple reason ultimately.  WE ALL ARE IN LOVE WITH THE RUN. 

The start went off quickly, and we found ourselves in the second wave.  We ran at a steady pace, but both agreed a PR probably wasn’t in the cards.  So we agreed to enjoy this run and if one of us wanted to take off we’d wait until after the ten mile mark. 

Off we went, laughing, talking, and finding our solace in the run.  Our first real hill came up, and it was such a beautiful bridge I stopped to take a picture…yup, sure did.  This race was a mental release for me, but NOT a true “race.”  The path seemed to hug us in, with the newly budded trees giving us just enough shade.  I felt like I was running on marshmallows as we steadily ran on the crushed limestone path, and can see why some prefer this type of terrain.   

We were feeling pretty darn good the first half, although we did stop to fuel at the 5 mile mark.  Funny, in my splits you can see the two times I slowed were taking pics and fueling for those were my only 10 min miles. 

We got to see Rob as he was FLYING by, and got a quick hand slap in.  He rocked his race with a 1:40 PR.  SO beyond proud of him…he’s always been a true inspiration and supporter, and I couldn’t be happier for him. 

Lesson number 1.

At the halfway mark I really started to swell.  I had gotten spoiled with winter running (wait, did I just say spoiled in regards to freezing my butt off? LOL) and didn’t pack my salt tabs in my fuel belt.  Fail.  I had true SNAUSAGES for fingers when we finished, and it was actually quite painful. 

But we settled in regardless, and noticed the trees seemed to have bloomed even more since the start of the race.  WHAT A GORGEOUS TRAIL…I was in sheer bliss being on the trails with such an awesome friend. 
I promise, I was running, although wth is this?  LOL

We decided we’d go for a PR for Janel…we were on point with pace, and just needed to step it up a touch.  We were steady at the 9:30-9:40 mile pace, so we dropped it down to 9:15.

Lesson number 2.

DO NOT pick it up at the 8.75 mile mark if you want to have enough gas to finish out those last 4 miles strong.  I held pace for a couple miles, and realized quick there was NO way I could hold it.  I gave her the blessing to take off around mile 10-11, and even got a quick picture in of the trail. 
A little piece of heaven, just 3 miles from my house

She took off, but was only about a quarter mile ahead of me, which helped my spirits seeing her running so strong.  I lost myself the last couple miles, and found it literally gut wrenching to hold a strong pace.  I nearly lost my breakfast twice, but I wanted to at least give it my all. Swallowed it back down (sorry gang, being real here) and kept running.  It was getting hot, and I could feel myself fading…But I refused to fade, and kicked it up the best I could. 

And I did…I came around the last bend and killed it…passing people left and right and running with ALL I had.  Finish time was unofficially 2:09, and I am pleased.  But this was one of my toughest finishes to date, and I found myself falling into Janel’s embrace after getting my medal and water bottle.  We kicked butt today, neither of us getting a PR, but BOTH of us falling in love again with the run.  I always get choked up when I finish a race, and I could feel her hug me just a little bit tighter as she felt me hold back a sob.  Man I love this girl. 
Awesome medal, another GREAT point to this race!

My neighbor Katie, me, and Janel after finishing

Me and Janel, with ROCKSTAR Rob!

Race High points:

GREAT community support.  WOW…I can’t say enough what it means to have people cheering you on…it seemed nearly every few miles there were spectators with cowbells, signs, and claps…

Sufficient water stops.  This is SO vital especially as the weather starts to get warmer.  I could have used one more those last few miles, but that was just me being a wimp. 

Awesome that they had a local chiropractic clinic set up to stretch us out afterwards.  It helped tremendously. 

GREAT volunteers.  What more can I say…those people ROCKED this race.

Lastly…I fell back in love with running, and found peace on the trails amongst 1000 other runners…I learned more about myself today even at the age of 40 than I could ever hope for in life.  I learned-do what you love, and do it well.  Remember always, to make yourself happy first, and the rest will follow.  I learned that loving your passions is so much more important that just finding things to fill your time. 

I re-found my smile today…although it wasn’t completely lost, it was admittedly hidden behind some unneeded stress.  But it’s all good, and I feel like a kid in a candy store…PR, nope.  Successful race?  HECK YEAH!!!
Yup…this says it all. 

25 thoughts on “5-5-13 – Great Western Trail Race recap”

  1. Thanks! I think you are awesome though. I read your Facebook page all the time for motivation. You make me remember why running should be fun. Great job today!


  2. Love the photos- especially the last one 🙂 the trail looks so beautiful and I can see why you would fall in love with running there. I wish a nice quiet trail like that was near me- I do have the lakefront but it gets busy and quite aggressive in the summer. Congrats on another awesome finish!


  3. Fun a fun race (mostly) with a friend! Ugh. I hate the stupid warm weather swollen fingers. That happens to me too and it hurts so much!


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