Monday, August 19, 2013

Moose on the Loose 10 Miler

Yesterday I ran the Moose on the Loose 10 Miler.  It is a 10 mile trail race through Mine Falls in Nashua, NH.  It was my very first trail race and it did not disappoint one bit.  The course was four 2.5 mile loops through some of the trails in Mine Falls.  The race also had a 2 and 4 person relay option, which is why the course was done that way.  There are so many trails throughout Mine Falls.  It would have been nice to be able to run through more of them, but the four loops had its perks too.  The weather was warm and humid, but the trails offered some welcomed shade for most of the race.

on my way to the race
race day hair done the same way every time!
I guess we were supposed to be moose
I missed the memo

My friends Monica and Kevin were also running the race.  They are currently training for the New York City Marathon after missing out on it last year.  They had 12 miles on their schedule for yesterday and I had 16.  So we all went out for 2 miles together before the start of the race.  I felt good during those 2 miles and was ready for the race to start.

The race was relatively small.  We lined up at the starting line around 9am and were ready to go...or so I thought.  We started out on to the course.  Almost immediately I could tell this was not going to be a good race for me.  The first mile was ok and I ran it at a good pace, although in hind site, probably a little too fast.  After that mile everything began to quickly fall apart.  I just felt off.  I was breathing heavy, sweating a lot, and over all felt crappy.  I kept running, but slowed way down.  I'm pretty sure each mile grew increasingly slower.  I refused to look at my Garmin.  I was approaching the end of the first 2.5 mile loop and for the first time ever considered not going back out on the course and finishing the race.  There was a water stop at the end of loop, so I walked, grabbed a couple of cups, slowly drank them and tried to gather myself.  Then I slowly started back out on to the course.  I switched the screen of my Garmin so I couldn't see my pace, and decided to run at an easy pace and just try my best to finish the race.  

SPOTTED: a moose (or two) on the course!

I continued on for the second loop.  I tried to focus on the river that was along the trail, and the other people running, walking, biking through the trails, while also not looking too far from the ground for fear of falling.  My one goal for this race was not to fall multiple times.  At least I could still try to make that happen.  I shuffled along slowly and got through the second 2.5 miles.

still smiling.
how could you not, with views like that?

As I began the decent back on the trail for the third loop, I saw my friends running towards me who were just finishing the second.  I decided to slow way down and let them catch up to me.  I needed the support and decided if I was going to get through this, I wasn't going to do it alone.  The third and fourth loops were rough.  I continued to walk through both water stops in the course, double fisting at each one.  The race itself was beautiful, but my personal race was very ugly.  However, I made the choice to finish it, no matter how slowly, and that's what I did.  I don't know my time, I turned off my Garmin, and refused to look at the clock when I finished.  I didn't care.  Some how I got through it, and that's all that mattered to me.  

We hung out after the race for a bit.  I lost count of how many bottles of water I drank.  I tried to eat a banana, but it was hard to stomach.  I began to feel much better though after drinking as much water as I could.  Dehydration is a bitch.  I had planned to run 4 miles after the race to make 16 for the day.  However, immediately after the race I wasn't sure that was going to happen.  After hanging out for a bit and rehydrating, I decided to give it a try.  I changed my sweaty shirt, grabbed some Gu from my car and a full water bottle and ventured back out on to the trails.  I didn't run fast, and I stopped at one point to stretch on a rock and enjoy the views.  

16 dirty miles for the day done.  Most of them were a struggle, but I loved every one of them.  

dirty hokas as a result

...and a nice pint glass to take home

Another race.  Another learning experience.  I know very well what went wrong with this race.  This time it wasn't anything I did on the day of the race, it was what I did the days leading up to it, which I fully understand now are just as important.  I'm not going to go in to it, because I don't like to make excuses.  What happened, happened, and I will become a stronger runner and much smarter runner because of it.  I think that's what is most important, and really what this is all about.  I am learning, growing, improving, and enjoying every step along the way.

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