Finished #HonestAbeTrailMarathon, 6:02ish. Was “supposedly” gentle hills? Umm… I may need to buy the RD a dictionary. Felt like I was climbing the Summit of Mt Everest.
The course was 3 loops thru the Abraham Lincoln National Forest. It was a really beautiful trail. But, the hills were killing me. And, I haven’t been doing any hill training…my bad.
The race had a “strict” 7 hour cutoff. Apparently the RD was not kidding about this because he reminded us runners of it twice by email, and he mentioned it again at the pre-race meeting. He said if we didn’t think we could make the 7-hr cutoff, we needed to drop down to the 14K race option. So, needless to say, I was stressed from the start of the race. Cos y’all know me – I’ll take a DNF trying to finish before I’ll let somebody tell me to back down.
Except for the steep climbs, the course wasn’t really too bad – not overly technical, but technical enough to cause me to slow my pace. I rolled my ankles several times and tripped several times on the tree roots.
I finished the 1st loop in 1:45 – I was VERY happy about that! That gave me a “cushion” & took some pressure off me for the remaining loops. But the first loop also did a fairly decent job of trashing my hamstrings & calves.
Needless to say my 2nd loop came in a bit slower – about the 2 hr mark or so. I was seriously fatigued. I could barely make it up the last huge climb. Met a guy named Pascal. Bless his heart, he had JUST run the Air Force Marathon YESTERDAY!!! WHAT THE?????? Anyway… He and I pretty much ran together for the 2nd & 3rd loops. He was having a worse time on the hill climbs than I was. We kind of went back & forth – at times he was several yards in front of me & vice versa. He was justifiably tired – toward the end of loop 3, he told me to go on ahead. And, I actually ended up finishing the race about a minute before him.
So, the 2nd loop did a superior job of trashing my hamstrings and calves. On the 3rd loop I was forced to stop and stretch often to keep from going into full blown charley horses. I also had to stop twice to empty the dirt & pebbles from my shoes. Guess I was so tired I couldn’t pick my feet up. I was getting all kinds of garbage in my shoes. Had to keep emptying my shoes to keep from getting blisters and cuts.
Finishing loop 2 in 2 hrs gave me plenty of time to do loop 3!! I had over 3 hrs to get loop 3 done. But I had a personal goal of finishing Sub-6, so I gave loop 3 my best effort.
Umm, just so you know, my “best effort” was pretty much crap. I had NOTHING left in the tank…nothing. But I didn’t give up trying to come in Sub-6. I slogged when I could, and walked when I had to.
I was so tired in loop 3 that I was tripping over EVERYTHING. I could NOT pick my feet up. To the onlooker, it may have appeared that I was cross country skiing. I couldn’t walk/run a straight line – I was staggering. I was having trouble focusing. There were times I didn’t even know if I took the right turns on the trail. At one point I thought I was lost. (By this time Pascal was behind me.) Then I saw another runner!!! Yay! I wasn’t lost!! By the way, other than Pascal, this guy was the ONLY other runner I saw the entire day! I kid you not. And I only saw him in loop 3 – about 4 mi before the finish. I mean, I finished in almost last place – you would’ve thought that SOMEONE would’ve lapped me or something!! I can’t understand why I saw no one. That’s blowing my mind.
BUT, anyway, I made it! Didn’t have the strength to finish Sub-6, but 6:02 is pretty darn close!! So, I’m happy!!
They gave me a very nice wooden award with the name of the race carved in – I love it!!
Oh, and there was this:
After I got my finisher award, I may have turned around and walked “face first” into this big-ass wooden sign post… didn’t see it at all. I think my brain was giving me “paybacks” for this race???