I love running. I love the feeling of moving over the ground, rocks and dirt underfoot, wind on my belly and sweat dripping down my cheeks (face). I love feeling my legs work and filling my lungs with the smell of tress as my heart beat quickens. I love seeing the sunset (or rise). Sometimes, when I run, it feels like I’m transported to another world and some how, the harder I run, the more energy I am filled with. My legs get stronger from pushing off the earth. I can run faster even though I am worn out. It’s magic. And happy love.
Saturday, was not one of those days. There was no magical transport. The rocks under my feet were slippery and annoying. I could feel sweat dripping down my arms, and the wind would dry it and boy did that chafe. The harder my legs worked, the more I hurt and the slower I got. My heart rate quickened, and my bronchial tubs would spasm. I couldn’t even smell the trees. Not happy. Struggling to love.
But, I ran. I pushed. I worked. I knew going into this I might not have a good day. I’ve been sick. And I wanted to run anyway. The weather was perfect (almost). I figured I could just see what happened if I stuck it out. Worst case, this could count as a long run in altitude, due to lack of oxygen from improperly functioning bronchial tubs.
Lucky for me, I met Olli around mile 10. Olli is likely the most encouraging soul on earth. And being I wasn’t being transported to my magical happy running land, a real running friend proved invaluable. Olli ran with me thru all my hard miles, offering words of encouragement the whole way. When I would drag the pace too much, he would lead me up the hill, only to hop behind me for the downs. Guess he could tell I always love the downs. 😉 When I was mad that I couldn’t run some ups, he reminded me that not many people could at this point in this race. When my stomach was giving me problems and I had to make a run to the port-o-potty, Olli said, “I’ll go too, then.” He reminded me to keep drinking, when I was annoyed at needing to pee. If I could design and creat a running friend, I think it might be Olli.
That told, not only did I hang in there and finish, I feel like I raced well given the condition I was in on that day. I have no regrets. I’ll be the first to admit, my brain regular gets in my way when I race. I have yet to conquer myself thoroughly enough to feel spent at the finish line. And that sucks. I want to learn how to dig deeper…and DANG! I’m getting there. I learned a lot about myself Saturday. I’m learning what motivates and discourages me in a race. I’m learning how to get my brain on my side when I race. And I have Olli to thank for that!
I finished in 7:31:58, 2nd female and 9th person across the line…
So thank you Olli. And thank you Joe and Joyce, for always putting on amazing races. Thank you to Chris, Rachael, Jazzy and ALL the volunteers out there who made racing 50 miles more doable and fun.
Top picutre by JoAnna Lynn Hestilow Brand
Bottoom photo, Michele Yates (1st female in middle), Melanie Fryar (2nd) on left, Pam Smith (3rd) on right. Photo by David Hanenburg from endurancebuzz.com.