Capt’n Karl’s Pedernales Falls 60k

Last week I moved to Texas. Thursday, June 21st to be exact. I loaded down the bed to my pick up and drove me and my 3 kids from Denver to San Antonio. It took exactly 14hrs and 0 mins this time…and my first speeding ticket in the 16 years I’ve been driving. Guess I earned it. :-/

The day before I left, Wednesday, I called my coach Joe and told him I was indeed moving back to Texas. I told him my broken foot as 100% healed, and that, while I was not in close to top form or 100 mile shape, I was feeling strong. Joe suggested I run the 60k at Pedernales, being Western States was out, and I happily agreed.

I spent lots of Saturday working in my house in Austin, TX. Pulling out carpet and taking inventory of all that I need to do to that house to sell it. Goodness, I hate that house…

When I got to the race Saturday evening, I was feeling tired and sore. But mentally, I was ready to run this night race. All the Capt’n Karl’s 60k’s start at 7pm. This one is a 30k loop down twice for the 60k runner’s. It’s light at the start, but by 9pm it is very much night. This means carrying lights is a must! And being there is no place to pick up lights on the course, carrying them from the start is the only way to go…if you want to run twisty, rolly trails with some rocks. At night.

At 7pm, we were off! Right away I took 2end to Steven Moore. But when we got to the river for the 1st time, I got lost! I kept climbing up onto these rocks. And then I (and all the guys behind me) had to jump (literally) down rock beds back to the river. We wasted a good minute or more due to my funny desire to run UP…finally, I gave up the lead, happily, to one of the guys…who lead us on to the course, and up the right path. My trail blazing probable cost us all a minute. And for me, a hole in my shirt and cactus in my leg.

Most of the first loop I ran with Jeremy Shlachter. We talked about tattoos and family, taking turns leading up and down the trails. Somewhere around mile 13, I took the lead and didn’t see Jeremy again until the finish line.

As I came in to the 30k aid-station, I saw the 2end place guy leaving. I decided to try and catch up with him on the river part in order to keep from getting lost again. 🙂 I followed him down the river bed and safely up the other side before asking to step by.

We played back-and-forth until about mile 27. Coming into that water station, I decided I would pick it up a LOT for a few miles and see what he (Stephen) did. I said something to him about giving a tempo effort and took off…I also decided to think of Steven Moore as a girl. My goal was to motivate myself to push. I knew I could have run the whole 27miles faster then I had, and I felt good. But it is hard for me to push past the “I feel good” point when I’m running. I run because I love to run. Don’t get me wrong. I am highly competitive and love to push my limits. But so often I have a very hard time figuring out how to dig deep and give it that little extra that is, in fact, my best. I am working on this. I want very much to race a race some day and think, “yep. THAT was the best I could give.” Hasn’t happened yet.

When I came in to the last aid station, about 5 or 6 miles (not sure, actually) from the finish, I was told that Steven had left about 2 minutes before. Being I took maybe 2 mins in that aid station, I figured Steve had a 4 minute lead on me. Run run run.

I should say, in order to motivate myself to run harder, I was thinking of Steven as a girl, “Stevette”. I always enjoy racing guys and giving them a bit of a tease, being I’m a little girl in pigtails and pink, but racing guys is just not as motivating as racing girls. If 5 guys beat me, I might be bummed. But one? Who cares…I’m a girl…. So, I tried my best to think of myself as racing Stevette, a girl. Not sure if that worked for me. 🙂

About 3 miles before the finish there is a road crossing. My legs were tired. I was trying to push and run fastER anyways. As I came to the crossing, I saw car headlights. Before I could decide if I should put on the breaks or not, I tripped. SO SCAREY!!!!!!!! I waved my light towards the car beams as I stumbled (closer and closer to the ground, still on my feet) into the road. I thought I was going to be hit. But some how I beat the car across the street. My knees never hit the road. I stumbled my way in front of the fast moving car, and was so freaked out I had to walk. Maybe for 2 minutes I walked. Telling myself to breath and run. But my adrenalin was so high it took a minute or so to get my legs running again. Finally, I was running. Again. I tried hard to focus. To think of giving my all. Finish hard. But my mental game was shattered. Still, after another mile, I was running fairly fast again.

I crossed the finish line in 5:14:42. 9 minutes after Steven. Going into this race, I had no clue as to the course or records or anything- I didn’t look because I didn’t care. I just showed up to run, and wanted to run my best. Nothing else. I’ve been injured most of the past 2.5 moths, and am not in any shape to run my best times. But I am UNinjured. And I do love running. I love pushing my personal limits best of all. Hearing that I set a new course record for females that was only 2 mins of the old male course record is very fun. Holding records and winning races is, of course, thrilling. But these things don’t drive me to race. Or even run. I run because I love running, and I feel like I was made to run. Running with no watch, all by myself, where no one ever can know I have been, and running until my lungs hurt and my legs cramp is something I will do until I am unable. No one needs to know the distance I cover or the time it takes me- not even me. I run, really, because it is something inborn in me to do.

I race because I love being the best me that I can be at all that I do. And I hope I grow the guts to race races I have no chance of winning, regardless of age or sex-  and still give them more of my all then I have given in any race to date.