running != kissing the ground…

I did my first trail race Saturday. Damn.

started going off at 3:30ish in the morning. After rolling out of bed,
I pulled on race clothes and warmups, filled some water bottles, and
headed out to the car. Drove a nice 1.25 hours up to the site. From the
view I got driving, I had no idea how gorgeous the course would be.

arrived at 5:45… plenty of time with a 6am check in and 7am start.
Got checked in, got my age group corrected (they had me in 30-39 at
first), and chilled in the car for a bit. Got shoes and sunscreen on,
picked what water bottle to carry (it was required since there were few
aid stations) and headed to the start, which was fairly crowded. I was
the first (I'm pretty sure) but definitely not the last to wipe out. It
was still somewhat crowded at .9 miles, and in avoiding the arms of a
fellow runner, I didn't see a rock and tripped on it. I caught myself
with my left hand and right knee. As I got up, thoughts rushed through
my head… "only .92 miles… I should just give up now" "only .92
miles… I can make it farther…" "another thing to add on… I'm
really not feeling this race" "aid station… keep moving… I don't
want to have to stop"

I didn't even want to see my knee. I knew
it hurt. I saw the hand… thought there was a small leaf stuck to it
and tried to wipe it off until I realized it was in fact part of my
hand. However, the hand wasn't too bad… looked kinda like a few large
blisters had popped. Part of me figured the knee couldn't be much
worse, so just keep going… don't take the time to look. Part of me
thought it hurt way more than the hand. And part of me was curious. But
I didn't want to stop. So I kept going… up hills, over rocks, around
people, letting people around me.

Over the course of the race,
we climbed about 3500 feet. 2000 of which was in miles 3-6. Those were
some tough miles of jogging/walking as possible. I was trying not to
push so hard I'd have nothing left for the downhill and then flatter
sections of the end of the course (and have some left for the big hill
climb near the end). I think I did pretty well as far as pacing —
ended up around people I felt I should be around. One scary part — a
coral snake was watching us all run by. I didn't know it was a coral
snake, but the lady next to me was nervous about it and told me how
poisonous they are, so that was somewhat nerve-wracking (Andy later
told me that they are really poisonous but not too dangerous for humans
since they can't open wide enough to bite most spots on the body. I
told him that next time I will be more careful not to french any that I
see). I did finally see my knee around 5.5 miles while climbing up a
steep section of the hill. Well, not so much my knee, but the blood
running down my shin. It wasn't really hurting any more (yay numbness!)
so I kept going.

Made it to the top of the main climb at right
about 6 miles, and then it was downhill time. I probably should have
ran them with a bit more caution, but at that point I was pretty tired
and still wasn't really all the way in the race, and part of me was
ready to just be done. There were rolling hills (with more dropping
than climbing) over the next 6 or so miles, and some flat sections.
This part had great views — at one point I could see no one on the
trail, and to the side was just green, natural terrain all the way down
to the ocean. Beautiful! There was a pair of guys who'd run for a bit,
stop and take some pictures, and then keep running. Great idea!

last 2 miles were really tough. At about 12.5 miles we started climbing
again, like the steep kind. At this point it was hot, dusty, and brush
was across parts of the trail. However, it only lasted til 13.5, and
then it was just the final stretch. Since the start and finish were
different locations, I wasn't sure how far I had to go until I could
see the finish. I made it in at 2:40:58…. (8/19 in F20-29, 37/101 F,
and 176/296 finishers… I'm not sure how many started).

Made it
to the first aid tent after a walk to get my heart rate down a bit, and
got my hand and knee cleaned (and gravel pulled out of my leg… mmm…
I wasn't the only one there… there were blisters that had bleed
*through shoes*, and plenty of other scrapped and cut knees and
elbows). They were out of ice… got more about 15 minutes later so I
started icing my knee a bit. It's pretty sore and swollen where one of
the tendons I landed on goes, so I'm being careful for a bit to make
sure it didn't get torn at all. The drive home was sooooo long. About
2.5 hours. With stop and go traffic. Sometimes driving a manual is not
as much fun…

The knee is still sore, and still bleeding some. However, it wasn't too bad for swimming this morning.

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