The night before the Hawk Hundred, I dreamt that Sherrie, who was running the 100, and I were running late, and we had to wade through a waste-deep swamp full of crocodiles to get to a cabin to call someone to get us and take us to the race. In my dream, as a crocodile swam toward us, I remember thinking, “Oh shit, here comes a crocodile… Or is it an alligator? I always forget the difference.” When we reached the cabin, everyone spoke Spanish and I don’t know how to say “Take us to the race” in español.
Morning of September 8, 2012
In real life, I arrived on time and was ready to rock my run as my coach Coleen offered everyone her final bit of running advice before we started: “Don’t go out like an asshole.” In coach-speak, that translates to, “Don’t take off too fast and be sure to pace yourself.”
The weather was cool and sunny in the morning, and my legs felt awesome. Other than a couple of dogs running along the trail trying to trip me, the first half of the race felt easy, peasy, and I ran most of it with my long-time friend Dan.
Somewhere around mile 18ish, I stumbled, but I caught myself. That near-fall, however, really did a number on my left foot and hips, and they grumbled for the rest of the run and slowed me down a little. I changed my stride to super short steps so I could keep up the pace while minimizing my hip pain and chances of another stumble.
At about mile 22, Dan left me in the dust. Now I’m calling him my long-time former friend. (I kid, I kid!) I actually enjoyed having that last leg to myself, my awesome running mix, and my emotions. I even cried a little around mile 24 as I thought about how far I’ve come these past few months and what a huge role all this running silliness has played in improving me and my life.
These ultra runners really mess with your head, though. I used to think running a marathon was a huge feat, whereas now I think it’s the gateway, short run for us newbies. Last night, I celebrated my first trail marathon with a date and some fancy cocktails (and one birthday shot with a stranger). Now it’s back to training for my first ultra, a 50k in 48 days.
Thank you to the Trail Hawks, the Hawk Hundred organizers and volunteers who made our run so fun and fabulous, my fellow Tramps and Hawk Hundred runners, my friend Lori and my daughter Cleo for surprising me at the finish line, and especially to my coach, Coleen, for helping me be a better me.