Sometimes, I surprise myself.
Trail running isn't for the faint of heart, the untrained or those without Clif Shot Bloks (the nectar of the gods and probably the only reason I'm still alive).
This past Sunday I "ran" in my first 25k trail race, Conquer the Cove, held at the breathtakingly beautiful Carvins Cove Natural Reserve. It still sounds funny, even to me. I'm not a runner. No seriously, I'm not. I CrossFit four times a week and usually sprinkle in some yoga, long walks, and recently (like in the last couple years) some runs. These "runs" are more social and we usually split walking/running time. I've only run in one other race, the Richmond Half-Marathon, two years ago. I would say that I was equally ill prepared for that one. I'm fit but trail running is different and as I learned Sunday requires equal parts mental and physical fitness and a healthy dose of crazy. It's a personal challenge to me, that's it. Sure, I'm competitive and if I was to do it again I'd want a better time but who said I was going to do it again. Bitch, please...
One of the coaches at my gym is an ultra runner. He's a total badass. Lets just say he runs marathons as warm ups. I decided to pick his brain a little when we finally signed up to run this thing. We didn't actually commit until a week and half out. A "fly by the seat of your pants" kind of thing. Leaving very little time to prep or change my mind. He was super helpful and was a wealth of runner knowledge. I'm so glad he shared his tips with me, literal game changers. He shared SO much but the most golden of all his knowledge nuggets were these: 1) use Body Glide on any friction points (think inner thighs and arms), 2) stay hydrated, AND the best of the best 3) get some fuel aka Clif Shot Bloks- think Starburst sized Gummi Bears with a kick. Holy hell, he has no idea but I'm alive because of these. No chaffing, no dehydration and so much fuel I could've kept going (bullshit).
It was by far the most challenging thing I have EVER done. I cussed like a sailor, the whole time. It was such a test for me and running across the finish line was me passing. I watched a woman, maybe 3 feet in front of me, trip and crash hard. She stood up bloody and dazed but kept going (not like she had a choice). She and her bloody knee later passed me... Bitch. She'd clearly done this before. This was not a nature walk. It was exhausting and at times humiliating (like when I realized that the marathoners who were 10 miles further along began to pass us... ). I shit you not, my ego is still a little bruised.
Here's where that surprising myself comes in... It was SO incredibly hard but for some reason, I've got to do it again. Actually, I can not wait to do it again. Woah. Who am I? I don't know, maybe a runner? Maybe a trail runner? Nothing like making your debut trail run a 25k. Boom.
So this year "conquering the cove" was more about taking it all in. Checking out the views. Lots of hearing heavy footsteps behind you and panting, "Feel free to pass, I'm just #herefortheviews." It is outrageously beautiful there, you should go! Getting my feet wet, figuratively and literally. And enjoying the ride. I loved it, what an amazing experience.
What have you done lately that surprised even you?!