She had a French accent that under normal circumstances I’d think was cute. But I was frustrated and tried…and when that happens I turn into a teenager again so any older woman in an accent is my mom. Ugh, go away and leave me alone! I told she could do what she wanted, but I was taking the left.
After about a quarter mile of nothing but blue, I got scared. Maybe mom was right? I always hated that feeling when I was 15….realizing maybe my parents weren’t full of it. I turned around and went back, under the tape, which popped me back onto a road. A volunteer told me to just follow the road and I’ll come up to the trail again. Apparently we were supposed to follow blue for a little bit. Approaching the trail head, I saw Frenchie again. She was way up the road, so I yelled at her to get her attention. She blazed by me a little later..and even though all evidence pointed towards her having no freakin idea what she was doing I followed her.
And then the most awful realization…I started recognizing the area from Captain Hottie’s race last year. I saw the road I parked on... Yes. I had wasted 30 min getting back to the 12 mile finish.
I wanted to cry. I’d had nightmares about this. I didnt know if turning around would get me more lost so I kept going until I saw a race offical talking to another lost 50k guy. Forget crying, their convo almost made me quit.
Up until then, I had only thought of the extra miles and time on my feet. I hadnt thought about a possible cut off. Apparently we were at 4 hours (I went through the 15.5 checkpoint at 3:36). The cut off was 8. I had 4 hours to cover 15.5 miles of some pretty tough trails. Knowing I had taken the first 7 miles too fast with Melissa…there was no way I could make it back in 4 hours. No Way! It would have been so easy to quit. I could tell an offical and get a ride to my car.
Most of the way back looked like this…only the hills were scarier in 3d…and with more tree roots.
But the other lost guy said he was finishing no matter what, even if he didnt get a time. Really, dude, Why you gotta be a hero?
If insanity is contagious, so is manning up.
You knew this already, but I manned up. We were together most of the way, sometimes there’d be gaps and we’d lose each other, but we always seemed to meet back up. The way back wasn’t all that memorable. I really zoned out….running, walking, hiking…pretty much on autopilot. The only thing I remember was seeing some guys fishin on a boat near the trail if they had any beer. They said no. I think they were lying (not that I could have made the catch without falling into the lake). My friend said I was trouble.
You cant see the stingy non-beer sharing a-holes…but they’re out there!
Waves of DNF panic motivated and pushed me the rest of the way. I remember hitting my right heel hard on some rocks more than once*. I rolled my ankles countless times. I fell again and again but was up before the guy coud ask if I was ok. I was finishing this sucker.
Despite my fears. I made it across in 7:47:38. My slowest 50k time by far but I will consider it a 33 miler PR 🙂 We got a pint glass and a water bottle instead of a medal. Ultras are so dang cool…and practical!
Post race party had died down a lot by the time I came through…but it still had that happy trail race atmosphere of a picnic in the park. The spread was awesome, although I never feel like eating after such a long run.
Why eat when I can check out bruises and see my dirt “tan” line?
The most awesome part talking to one of the maniacs, who happened to be waiting for another lady to finish so they could take a maniac race pic. When I mentioned I was one, she said “Are you Jen?” and knew some of the races I’ve both done (Maniacs have a calendar in you can see who else is running the certain races and their bio/race history). I knew who she was too. I love runners….I’ve never met her and it’s totally ok that we’ve stalked each other!
With the maniacs. Turned out Bon Jovi from that morning was a brand new maniac too!
Ovbiously I’m very glad I didnt quit. I’m kind of ashamed how close I was to letting the possiblility of a forced DNF take me down. As if choosing to quit was so much better? Part of me doesnt think I was ever in danger of quitting…but it was stoopid close.
I recently read that DNF actually stands for Did Nothing Foolish. I like that meaning a lot better 🙂