Saturday, September 1, 2012

mountain chili cha cha

Last weekend I ran a 10k (6.2 mile) trail race in Pagosa, a cute town about 40 miles away.  I got up early and went all by myself. I considered just staying home and sleeping in.  I was trying to get over a nasty sore throat. (Does any one else get them all the time? Have you had your tonsils out? Did it help?!?!)  Someone asked me why I signed up and went to something all by myself.  It really is unlike me. Or unlike how I used to always be. I am still a social butterfly, but am finding that I actually do enjoy doing things alone.  Plus, I bombard people with my friendship and chatty nature, probably making everyone annoyed and thinking I'm crazy.  Luckily for me (maybe not so much for them), I usually walk away feeling like I have new friends ;)
The trail was quite hilly.  Like, up a mountain and back.  There were some rolling parts, but it was steep. I guess this is how these things work.  Despite the way slower pace and the pounding heart rate and near hyperventilation, I am thinking that trail races are WAY fun.  It's so laid back and it seems like people are all just out there to have fun.  No one is really trying to prove anything.  I stopped at aid stations and just hung out (had to catch my breath!). I talked to people, cheered for people, ate snacks, and headed on my way again. 
I ran with two girls most of the way.  I started out with the girl in pink and about half way through the race the one in yellow caught up.  They both ended up losing me a little on a hill that was a mile (a mile!) long.  I am just not super mentally tough.  My thought process: okay, I will stay behind them...well they aren't dying like I am, so I will just make sure I can keep them in my sights.  I came up to a fork in the road and it wasn't clear which way to go.  Well, since I can't see them I should just wait for that man behind me.  Yeah, I will wait so I don't get lost.  I tell myself this; however, the truth is that I was so tired and pretty excited for the excuse to stand around for a minute.  The man came running up and pointed me in the right direction.  He was about 50 and so cool.  We ran together most of the 2nd half of the race.  We came to the last aid station at the top of the, mountain.  Thank goodness; the rest of the race was down.  I stopped in the shade again.  The man got a little ahead of me.  By this time those girls were nowhere in sight.  It's cool.  I'll just keep up with green shirt man.  Okay, well maybe I won't run with him, but I'll keep him in my sights...  He finished about 20 seconds ahead of me.  The other two girls were about a minute ahead.
The girl's names were Sara (pink) and Jessica (yellow).  See? New friends.  We hung out a long time after the race.  There were so many forks in the road, and despite some parts of the course being ridiculously obviously marked, others were tricky.  People were getting lost all over the place.  Some people finished the 10k in 30 minutes.  NOT possible.  At one point, when I had about a mile left, a girl asked "are you 10k?".  After I said yes she said, "well crap, I'm running the half!" I felt bad for her.  She lost nearly 9 miles somewhere!!  I was so glad I wasn't running the half marathon.  I loved the 6 miles, but might have hated going twice as far.
My new BFFs and I didn't do too shabby.  Jessica was first, Sara second, and I came in third for women.  We all got first in our age divisions.  Kind of fun!  Too bad we didn't get prizes for that, because how cool are those running chili's made from nails and railroad spikes? I have no idea what you would do with it, but coolest prize ever.  Maybe a lawn or garden ornament?
I'm pretty sure I am now a convert to trail races, obstacle courses and relays.  Seriously, 100 times more fun.  I'm all about the fun, remember?

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