Sunday, November 20, 2016

Highlights of Wild Hare 50M

Rather than a full race recap, here are a few highlights from yesterday's Wild Hare 50-mile race:

1. Getting to run with Edward and share all my Gordy Ansleigh stories from the Texas Trail Camp a few weeks ago, as well as my stories of hilarious conversations with Rob Goyen.  My favorite story: As we're filling the sinks to wash breakfast dishes on Saturday, Rob comes in and tells me, "We ain't got sponges, but f*** it."  We washed all the dishes with paper napkins instead.  I want to be more like Rob.

2. Edward asking me, at mile 10.5, in all seriousness, "This race is three loops, right?" Me: "No, it's seven.  Seven loops."  The horrified look on his face was accompanied by an incredulous, "What?! You're kidding. . . . f*** me!"  Throughout the rest of the race, I kept bursting out laughing as I recalled that conversation.

3. The field portions of the course were dotted with little mini-bridges, consisting of a board across the top, and slanted boards acting as ramps.  At one of these crossings, I was approaching a 10k or 25k runner; the timing was such that if I kept at my pace, I'd pass her right on top of the bridge.  I didn't want to crowd her by doing that, and it didn't cross my mind to lag behind her a few beats until we had both crossed the bridge safely and then pass her (an option that would have cost me only a few seconds, as Joe later pointed out).  The first option that came to my mind was to just skip the bridge and pass her while she was on the bridge. 

Unfortunately, there turned out to be wire beside the bridge -- wire which I didn't see until it had tripped me and I was sprawled on the ground.  I popped back up, with fresh blood from cuts, from the barbs on the wire, and bruises where the wire itself had dug into my legs.  Since there are very few places where one could trip on this course, and lots of soft ground to land on if one did trip, I think I can safely claim "Best Blood" for this race.  (i.e., You can try your hardest to prevent me from falling on my face, but I will make it happen every time.)

4. It was so fun seeing Chris Russell at his usual spot on the back half of the course.  I got to see him at least twice each loop.  (If you crane your neck a bit, you can also see him from afar at a third location as well, since the trail twists and turns so much.)  Early on, Chris assured me that there was nothing to worry about; I had safely locked in first female.  So I took my time, letting Chris lure me into carelessly chatting, as if we weren't in the middle of a race.  When he told me during a later loop that the second female was only 4 minutes back, I was astounded, and totally blamed him (rightly so).  "And you're sitting here, making me talk to you!"  

5. Joe and I had reviewed my times from last year's race, and planned to see each other when I came through the start/finish around 10:10am, which was when I came through last year.  This year, I came through at 10:00am instead, and I missed seeing Joe.  I was hoping he'd show up at the midway aid station or where Chris had stationed himself, so I was so happy to see him the next time I saw Chris.  I forced Joe to give me a hug every time I saw him from then on -- except the time I was startled into realizing that the second lady was only 4 minutes back.  

6. I've been living in sleep deficit this whole week, stressing over my qualifying exam, traveling for work, dealing with a cold, and feeling unfit due to a lack of consistent running and a total absence from the gym for weeks.  So it felt like useful practice in mental toughness during the race, when I was tired and felt like walking, but forced myself to keep going, remembering how blessed I am to be able to spend time in nature, doing what I love, and to have a body capable of running long distances.  I was ambivalent about running the 50 -- I didn't sign up until a few days before the race, because I thought I might want to do the 50k instead and not go through the amount of time and effort it takes to run 50 miles.  But in the end, I'm glad I had the chance to push myself and feel the accomplishment of a good race on a beautiful day.  (Thanks for convincing me, Joe.)

7. Last highlight: the fries at Buccee's on the way home.  Amazing.

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