September 06, 2011

4 Days and Counting Down!

My normal countdown leading to Marine Corps Marathon has been temporarily put on hold while I have my mild panic attack about the Women's Trail Half Marathon THIS SATURDAY (Not that I don't know that the MCM is 54 days away)!

I don't think I've ever had more anxiety for a race before, including the looming MCM. I guess it has a LOT to do with the cut-off time of four hours. Normally, I would not scoff at a 4 hour cut-off time for a half marathon...I know I am completely capable of that on a road race, but for the trail race, it has me in shambles. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that I've only ever run on this challenging trail one other time, and not for the full 13 miles. Or maybe it's that I consider myself very, very inexperienced in trail running. Or maybe it's because I know after the miles add up, my feet like to shuffle, increasing my chance of tripping/hurting myself. Or maybe it's that I know how draining this will be on my legs, and I know I have a half marathon road race the next weekend (running just as a training run). Or maybe I'm just plain scared.

The race will start at 8:30am, everyone heading out at the same time. Just 240 women, all out to reach the finish line before getting kicked off. I recently looked at my practice run time, searching for some glimmer of hope to ease my growing nerves...but alas, all I found was more anxiety. I stopped clocking the run after 7.2 miles, at the cross over for the other part of the trail. We hit the 7.2 in 1:51...not very promising. Granted, I am trying to remember that I had a completely bum toe, and was following a very slow someone for most of that run, but it still isn't doing much to reassure me. Even the fact that I completed 18 very painful and mentally draining miles this past Saturday is not enough to ease my mind. I've decided, I'm going to just make sure there is always someone with in my eye sight. I DO NOT want to get left behind to navigate alone, and possibly get lost....especially in the Do Loop...that part was really confusing for me.

I am confident in my mental strength to get through the run, I just hope that 18 miler left enough juice in my legs for the trail! This isn't to say I'm not completely over the moon that I am even racing in it. I am extremely excited! I think part of me really enjoys the after part of a run/race when your legs are completely spent, ponytail dripping in sweat, salt crusted face, sense of accomplishment pulsing through you. Knowing you left everything out there. Knowing you deserve that beer. :)

And apparently, they call your name as you come into the finish. How fun is that?! You don't get that with the big races!

I really commend the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club for putting on this Women's Trail Half every year to encourage women to take up trail running. It's a cheap registration, fun quality shirt, and really great people. Stumbling upon this race and participating in the practice run totally opened me up to trail running and has brought me to sign up for two other trail races this year.

Here's to hoping the weather and my legs hold up!

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