Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seriously...that's how I'm gonna go out???

Feeling good BEFORE the 50K
Tracy, Corina, Me, and Libby
Well, we went down to the happening town of Warda, Texas this weekend to hit up the Wild Hare 50K trail run.  I was excited because I loved the last 50K a couple of weeks ago and I was ready to try a new one.  I had great runs all week - not too much- just enough.  So Friday afternoon, Libby picks me up and we head down. We ate dinner and got to the race site to check out how far is was from the hotel.  It was 15 minutes away so it was perfect.   We got checked in and laid all the race stuff out for in the morning.  Corina and Tracy had left D/FW later than we had, so they arrived about 9 or so.  We stayed up giggling and talking til about 10:30 and then hit the sack.  All alarms were set for 4:40 and the hotel wake up call also came in about that time.  So up and at 'em bright and early Saturday morning.  We threw on our stuff, loaded up the cars and headed out to the race.  When we got there, it was still fairly dark, but  the 50k started at 7 so we knew it would be light enough that we wouldn't need headlamps. We got our packets and went to the car to bring all our stuff to the drop site and eventually made our way to the starting line.  At 7:00 we were on our way.  It was already a balmy 65 degrees and we all knew that it was only going to be getting hotter. (I think it wound up topping at about 80 with HORRIBLE humidity all day.)  Off we go, Corina, Libby, and I.  We get about a mile and a half into the run and I felt like I was going way too fast and Libby asked me if I saw Corina behind us.  I stepped off the trail so I wouldn't get run over and I turned around.  The thing is - my knee apparently turned, but my foot didn't and immediately I had a sharp, excrutiating pain shoot down through my knee.  I couldn't straighten it or put any weight on it.  Libby made me stretch and we tried to walk it out - it hurt like hell...I decided to try and run on it.  It felt better if I ran for some reason, so we ran - although I could already tell I was overcompensating with my right leg because I didn't want to put full weight on my left.  At our scheduled walk breaks, it slowly was getting a little better...the first walk break was brutal but after that it got a little better.  Almost like it needed to just be worked I was thinking okay, I can do this.  Libby and I finish our first loop right at 2 hours, which was good.  We just needed to keep that pace up and we would be fine.  I got into camp, Vaselined my feet again, went to the bathroom and refilled my water bottle and off we go.  Over the next 3 miles of the second loop, I lost Libby.  She was going good, nice and strong...I could keep that pace for a while but for some reason I was needing more walk breaks.  I had told her not to wait on me and I am so glad she didn't because I would have just weighed her down.  I made it to the halfway aid station on loop 2 and was a little pain, but okay.  I was at about mile 12 at that point.  Once I hit the back half of the loop, I hit the super hilly, crazy, crazy switchback areas.  I had to walk anything like that because of my knee.  I was still overcompensating and was very nervous about it.  I must have given it too much of walk break because of the hills and the terrain because when I started to run again - I couldn't do it.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I had promised Libby on loop 1 that if it got worse I would pull out and that if it remained the same, I told her I wanted to finish.  She was worried about me doing more damage to my knee.  As I walked, I had such a hard time mentally.  I started thinking things like "Maybe this is all in my head." I stepped off to the side to let another runner pass and almost fell to the ground.  There it was again - that sharp pain.  That made me really nervous.  I felt like at any minute or step, my whole knee could go out on me.  It wasn't consistent at all so I couldn't do anything to avoid it.  So at that point, I finally decided that I would just walk the last 3 miles in and call it quits.  Those were the longest 3 miles of my life!  I had no one to talk to, no one to tell me - yes you need to quit, or no, you will be okay.  I had to figure it out for myself and I hated that.  I was limping and I'm sure looked like an old woman.  I finally told myself I would rather pull out now and rest my knee over the next few days and make sure it was okay because I want to do well in the Isle Du Bois 50K on December 10th.  I had just signed up for that race this week with my friend Shannon who wanted to do it to celebrate her birthday.  I reached the end of the second loop with 16 miles and 4 hours 35 minutes.  Those last 3.5 miles took me an hour and a half to walk!!!

So I turn in my chip and get ice for my knee.  Then I just sit...and watch everyone come in for the 25k, then eventually 50kers start coming in and even some 50 milers...My friend Corina wound up DNF'ing also after loop 2.  She had planned on doing the 50K but the weather and her knee were not a good combo and she was feeling it.  We sat for a little bit and then she headed down to a camping area with other friends to cheer the racers on about a mile before the finish line.  I wanted to go, but A) I didn't feel like walking anymore B) I wanted to be there when Libby came in if she needed anything.  I wound up meeting some people from the San Antonio runners group and they were super nice.  One of them gave me some ibuprofen and some water after I got up and tried to walk to my cooler.  After sitting for so long, my knee had stiffened up very badly so getting up from my chair was hard, but once I got moving it was much better.  I sat and texted my friend Catherine and pouted the whole time about the stupid knee.  I didn't even have a good story for hurting it.  I didn't overtrain, I didn't fall, nothing...I freakin' turned around!  Are you kidding me?  I talked to my husband and let him know what happened and he asked if I had talked to my parents at all and I told him no, that I just wanted to pout for a bit.  (Can you tell I was in a really great mood at this point?)  Eventually Libby came through the start/finish ready to start loop 4 - her final loop.  She was looking tired, but she was good.  I got her anything she needed and she was off.  I sat and talked to some people around me for a while and a few minutes later I got a tweet from Libby saying she was probably going to DNF the race when she got to the next aid station.  WHAT????  She can't do that!  She will be at mile 27!  She only has 4 more to go!  Luckily the halfway aid station is about 500 feet from where I was, so I hobbled over there to meet her when she came through.  About 5 minutes later she came in, looking like she was ready to give in the towel.  I have never seen her look so worn out and just physically and mentally exhausted. At this point it was 2:30 in the afternoon and she had been going for 7 1/2 hours and the sun was out and it was hot!  So she came in and I asked her how she was...She told me it was just a "death march at this point".  We had the conversation about how she could just walk the last 4 miles at which point she told me it would take 2 hours.  I told her we had no where to go.  I offered to walk it with her but she told me no because I didn't need to be out there.  So I told her to let the aid station guy pour water over her head because I had just seen him do that for another guy and it looked like it would feel good.  I wasn't sure if she would go for that or not, but at that point it was all I could think of... As soon as I mentioned it, she bent over and I told him to pour some water on her.  He did and she perked up a little.  He made her eat a banana, take 2 salt caps, and drink some coke.  She has never tried any of those things, but she did whatever he told her to do.  At that point, we could have told her jump around in circle and click her heels and she probably would have done it.  She was kind of on autopilot.  After she got some fuel in her and cooled off a little, she went on down the trail to finish her 50K.  I was so incredibly proud of her.  She had been on her own for 21 miles, on a trail she had to do 4 times over, and over, and over.  She saw her other 2 friends drop the race and still kept going.  I went down to the campsite with Corina and the others to wait on her.  She came through with about a mile left, looking strong so then I ran  (yes, ran...) up to the finish line because no one was up there and I wanted to get a picture of her finishing and just be there.  I think I was living vicariously through her at that point.  She came through the finish line and she teared up and I did too!  What a tough girl!  I was so bummed that I couldn't finish, but honestly at that point, I wouldn't have traded my spot for anything in the world.
So when Libby got her medal, she was ready to get outta there!  So we packed our stuff up, headed to the car, and waved at our friends Fawn and Tony as they started on their last 7.5 mile loop of their 50 miler!!!!  Wow!!!!
We had a good ride home and talked the whole way and got home about 8:30 pm.  I know Libby was tired because I was and I only had done 16 miles!
I got in bed last night and was so glad to be in my bed.  I turned on the tv to watch some Private Practice that I had tivo'ed.  As I watched, something sad happened and I started crying like a baby!  I think Brian thought I was crazy, but I knew it wasn't because of the characters on tv.  It was so much more than that.  It was about me...that I had failed, that I thought I could do this and I couldn't...I didn't live up to my own expectations...I was mad at how it all went down and embarrassed...But deep down, I know I made the right decision.  I don't think walking 15 more miles and finishing the race in 12 hours would have done anything for my self confidence and only injured my knee more.
That's okay though...this isn't the end...there is still Isle Du Bois and I can't wait!


  1. You made the right choice. You have to live to run another day. And you will. Rest up and get that knee looked at! Hugs.

  2. Great report. Seriously. It isnt always sunshine and roses, and I'm always refreshed by an honest report on how hard it is some days. And by time I got to Libby crossing the finish, I was weeping like a small child. Hugs and chin up. You're a strong ultra-runner. There will be another race on another day. You made the right choice.

  3. Hey lady, your reason for being out there was clear: Libby needed a true friend to encourage her over that line! U did fabulous! Ur next race--all urs! :)