I went anyway and decided I would take it easy, do my best, whatever that meant, and handle it... because I knew it'd be hard for me to not be out in front pushing myself for a good time. And sneak preview... it was SO hard.
Race morning I got to the lot early, dark, quite chilly and very dewy out. I was so glad I'd brought extra socks to change into between check in and the Start.
I am someone who struggles with Raynaud's and generally warms up slow, especially on long runs, but I've also, more often than not been at risk for over heating because I dress to be able to start without being totally uncomfortable. I've learned since that I need to stay warm as long as possible and then start frozen. So I did this and shivering, stiff and painfully cold at that start we finally got moving. I did not feel good. Unlike my memory of GA Jewel 6 weeks prior, where I started and felt really good, my legs were heavy, I felt slow, cold and tired.
I tried to ignore how crappy I felt and push up in front like I do, like I always have done, but as I went on, this was just really not working. I didn't have it, I wasn't "warming up" to the run. I felt the same, heavy, slow and now my bladder was already telling me I need to stop. Around 4 miles in, I must have let 15 people pass, which was so hard for me. I finally "broke the seal" and then I just felt worse. I had to stop to pee 4 times in the first hour, and I wasn't drinking much because I was cold, and frustrated. I kept on reminding myself of my WHY.
"I am out here to be outside, to be in the woods, to be around other runners"
This was what I held on to. I don't know how I even did it. The 9 mile water crossing was more like 4.5 miles in, I was already wet, but I despite remembering how much frustration I had, I was having a blast out there. I was just happy to keep moving. By mile 12 my hips and pelvic stuff ached, my pace was sad, but one foot in front of the next. I kept it going.
At the 18mile AS I was feeling okay with how things were going, I thought we were at 22+ miles, so when I heard this AS was the 18 mile marker I had to swallow a large lump of frustration... yet again. I was committed to completing. I knew the next AS would be passing through the start and I prayed it was still miles out. Nope, it was mile 20!! I had 11 more miles?!?! I trudged on, trying to move faster but it was like my muscles could go no faster and I had to appreciate what they were doing as it was. So I went back to settling in and just committing to the ride. The course went on and on. More and more people running passed. It was just so different, looking at my watch, knowing usually I would be finished by now but still have an hour to go. Thank God it was the most beautiful day and it had warmed up to a gorgeous low 60s sunny colorful day.
Finally, I was within a few miles, getting there, struggling, but moving. I wish I could be more positive, but it really was hard the whole time. The very last downhill, I knew I was done, I was on my way to sitting on my butt with my family..... so close, and then *FWAP* I tripped and fell landing on my hands and rolling onto my side on the very gravelly path. I laid there in pain for a solid 40 seconds, much longer than seemed necessary but I'd gone all day without a fall and now less than a quarter mile from the finish on all rocks... ugh my mind was done, but my body was able to get back up and jog and then run through the Finish Line with my son. I'd done it, and my milestone pod said 35 miles again!!