Hello again. Guess I’m not much good at blogging. But I feel like writing, so here goes. A little over a year ago, I was depressed and defeated after an unexpectedly poor marathon in Chicago. I never blogged about it because it was just too much mentally. Long story short, dehydrated, major leg cramps, death march, 6:05. That was after a training period of much struggle with the Texas summer heat.
I may be smiling here but I had just finished bawling on the phone to my husband. “It hurt so much!”, I cried. And it did. It was only because I had spent so much money to get to that race, it was my 50th birthday after all, and I was not going to be defeated, that I trudged through mile after mile with leg cramps, giving myself the option to quit at the next mile if necessary. But I kept going. I actually revived a bit and ran the last couple miles very slowly.
So, I was supposed to run two more marathons after Chicago. Bryan/College Station in December and Houston Chevron in January. I couldn’t do it. I cut back to the half. I felt pretty good at both of them and had fun. Then I ran a fun trail half marathon in February and another one in March. And so on and so on. I earned all these medals just in 2015! Some are actually Age Group awards. Turning 50 means it’s easier to place! Woohoo! I slowly healed and regained my confidence in my ability to run. I increased my strength training and worked on my health. I gained 5 lbs, some muscle, some fat.
My training changed and my attitude toward racing changed. I’m still a little bit competitive, but I also just want to enjoy the experience. I know what I can do and I’m okay with it. My training buddies also went through some changes so that meant more solo running for me for awhile. Then I started training with a slower friend who wanted me to help her get ready for a marathon ( She ran it yesterday!). I had to adjust to all these changes which is not easy for me. I get comfortable with a routine and don’t like for it to change without my control. I started sleeping later which was nice. I ran where I wanted to run. I began doing a lot of hilly runs which no one else liked doing and got stronger mentally and physically. Eventually I accepted that life is constantly changing.
My greatest take away from all these races is this: I prefer trail races. After running nearly 100 races, I’ve refined my race/run preferences. Not only do trails hurt my body less, they are just more fun, more scenic, more social and more intense. Road racing seems a bit dull after doing a technical, hilly, muddy, rocky, root-covered trail race. But not only that, the community of trail runners, even if you don’t know them, just seems more down to earth. I like the vibes, the energy, the beards and the colors. I’ve never seen so many tattoos in a road races. The features I once sought in a road race, like the medal and the after-party and extra swag and just any kind of gimmick, I no longer care that much about. Sure it’s fun to get those things, but I don’t choose the race based on that. Trail races are usually pretty simple, with less fanfare. In fact, I didn’t understand that at first. I’m good with it now.
See one colorful runner here. http://fitandfeminist.com/2011/10/18/the-girl-crush-chronicles-ultrarunner-catra-corbett/
My longest trail race so far has been Wild Hare 50K three weeks ago. It was somewhat a spur of the moment idea. The race course had some super muddy/wet areas but I really enjoyed it. Yesterday I ran a trail marathon (26.2 miles) at Brazos Bend State Park. I had a blast despite horrible humidity and warm December temps. I even placed 2nd Masters Female. This is what I like to do now. For 2016, I’m planning to run mostly trails. Planning to run another 50K in February. Still have one more road marathon I’ve already paid for in January 2016 and a 10K. But for now, I gotta let my toes and blisters heal. Oh yeah, I’ve also become a run streaker. I run a mile or more EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m on Day 227.