Sunday, September 7, 2014

Running to Hell and back! Michigan that is! Running Woodstock

I had the most awesome experience this weekend!  Ran my first ever trail and it was a Half Marathon.

Been quite lax in blogging.  I fell, which running, almost a month ago now and broke my left wrist.  Not fun, but it is healing nicely.  Surgery to put in a plate to hold everything together, so I have no cast, which is great, all I wear is a brace that I can remove when I want.  The last Dr's appointment I had, I asked the Dr. if I could run and he said " I guess so, as long as you aren't running a marathon or something!"  He didn't say Half Marathon!  Broken wrist has slowed me down even more and threw me off my training schedule, but about a week after the incident I started running/walking, more walking than running, but I am improving again.  Still a little fearful of falling again, hopefully I will get over that.
Anyway, I was registered for this trail race before and I really wanted to do it, as I have never run a trail before.  My running friend in Detroit loves trails and she has been after me to run a race with her.  So I packed my bags and traveled to Detroit on Friday.  We drove to near Hell, Mi to pick up our packets.  The race is Run Woodstock and including a 100K, 100 miler, 50 miler, marathon, half marathon and a 5k ( I think I got that right).  It really was a big field, people camp for the entire weekend if they want.  Families are there for their 100k, 100 and 50 mile runners ( I can't even imagine).  60's music being played by live bands, it was great.  Headed back to Detroit and kept hearing dire messages of really bad weather rolling in.  It started raining some before were arrived back to the house.  It did storm, but not too badly where we were, but power was out in a lot of Detroit that night.  Went to bed early, but kept waking up and hearing rain, ugh!  Got up for good about 4:30 a.m. and it was still raining,although not too badly.  Left for the race at 5:30, race start was 7:30.  Arrived and it had stopped raining and it didn't seem like they had been hit too badly by the storm, temps were probably in the upper 50's and overcast..  As usual, I was getting apprehensive as I always do before a race, thinkng this is going to be the race that I DNF.  I don't have trail shoes and I was a little afraid of falling.  The atmosphere was much different that that of a big city race, everyone seemed so laid back and friendly.  Not that runners aren't friendly at all races, this was just different.  I began to relax, feeling absolutely no pressure to run for a PR , just to have a good time and experience the trail.  We started
right on time and Lisa predicted our time to be 4 hours ( I told you we were going to go slow)  The first 5 1/2 miles were on like crushed stone and like a road, but no traffic and out in the country, not woods yet, but definitely not city, no mile markers, I didn't wear my garmin to check time or anything.  Did a lot of walking in the early stages, I wasn't "feelin it"  just felt draggy and had trouble getting my breathing right, no idea why.  So glad that I was running with a friend, nice to have someone to talk with and she is a seasoned trail runner.  Lisa was convinced that I have not been fueling or hydrating correctly, so she was going to remind me when to take a drink and when to have a snack!  GU every hour, other snack on the half hour and sips of gatorade whenever.  I admit that I am not consistent during my long runs with the fueling. It really didn't seem to be too long before we came to the turn around.

On the trail they just trust that you will obey the rules, to to the turn around and turn around!  There is not one there to surpervise.  Not too long after we turned around we were directed to the right, not by a human, but by a blue flag, and into the woods.  At first, it was just so different for me, single file, dirt path, so quiet, there really was no one around us running, just Lisa and me.  Out there all you can really hear is your breathing and the sound of your feet hitting the path.  I was a little leery, trying not to think about falling again, but Lisa was running ahead of me and warning me of rocks or roots that might trip me up.  I think we really started running more on the path then we were out on the "road", You could hear if a runner was coming up behind you so you could move and let them pass....every single person who passed yelled out " good job" or something similar, even though they had probably been out running for hours before we were.  Eventually we came to my first fallen tree across the path, one of many to follow.
 Not difficult to get over, just something else I was not used to doing.  Hills followed, walked all the hills and sometimes going down was more difficult than going up!  It felt like I was going to topple over on the way down some of the hills, besides being a little slippery.  The hills did not tire me as much as I thought that they would though. Then came the mud:
Now this was a  little more difficult to maneuver!  So afraid of slipping and falling.  Pretty much we tried to skirt the edges.  One time I had to grab onto a tree trunk and kind of swing myself over.  At time it felt like the mud was going to suck the shoes right off your feet!  We made it though.  All the while though you just had to take in how beautiful and quiet it was out there..  I noticed a runner ahead of us on the path and though it looked so neat, that I had Lisa take this picture of me
.  A lot more trees to get over.  At one point, I guess I was getting tired, we came to another tree to climb over and I just stopped and started laughing, like I just can't go over another tree!  I wasn't discouraged or anything, it just struck me funny.  I have to add here that Lisa has been making me take my GU and snacks on schedule and , I have to admit, I believe it helped.  You know what else was great for me?  Having no idea how fast I was going or how many miles I had run!

We did come to a small clearing and it was a shock to see the sunshine and realize how really bright it was out after being in the woods for so long.  I asked Lisa if we would ever get back on the road during the race and she said No.  I was so glad, loved being in there!  We were getting closer to the end at this point and entered an area of tall pines!  It was breathtaking!  These huge, pines all together.  Lisa kept mentioning the pines and I didn't understand her fascination until that point.  Now I know.  It was like being in Church, but better, much better.  The floor of the woods was just covered in pine needles and it was so soft.  We ran there for quite a while and kind of circled around to come back through.  We could hear music now so we were getting near the end and, I have to say, until that point I wasn't really anxious for it to come to an end.  Once I heard the music it was like my body said, ok you are getting tired.  We came out of the pine woods and there was a volunteer there and said we had less than a mile to go!  Finally we came out of the woods and approached the finish line.
Started running a little fast, so fast that our friend waiting at the finish took this picture
Lisa said we were going so fast the picture is blurred!  Yeah, right!  But notice I have a smile on my face.  We finished in 4:01!  Almost exactly what Lisa predicted!  I have to say that I have never felt so good throughout a full race and at the end.  Of course it is because I did a lot of walking, but I still felt like I had accomplished another feat....a trail!    In fact, now I feel pretty badass, or as a friend of mine posted on facebook, you are a tough old bird!  I think that it is a compliment!


No comments:

Post a Comment