|Photo courtesy @KeithK|
Part of the adventure in running is pushing your body. Being depleted of everything.
For me it is very spiritual. I feel God, I hear God, I feel weak, vulnerable, fragile, feeble and so humbled.
It is the moment that lets me be reminded of how small I am. It is a welcomed humbling moment. To be modest and lowly.
To feel fear, to be diluted of security and self confidence.
Being in the elements of Gods canvas makes me feel so minuscule, a beautiful picture of Gods love for me. I look around and see everything HE created not polluted by man and in my mortal self I have nothing to aid me through His raw masterpiece.
MOHICAN Trail 50.
Date: June 16-1-2018
Where: Ohio, Mohican State Park.
Start Time: 6am
Distances: 100, 50 and marathon. I registered for the 50.
Temperature: Starting temps 62' and HUMID
My alarm chimed at 3:30 am. 5 hours of sleep. I took one of Laceys "PM.s" to give me a little nudge to sleep the night before.
With only 1- 3minute snooze I snuck out of bed trying not to wake Lacey and Claudia.
Our 50 mile crew were heading out at 4:35am.
With an less than an hour I was able to get dressed, grab my drop bag and hydration pack. I enjoyed some of Paula's homemade banana bread and coffee for breakfast.
Paula, Lacey and Claudia got to sleep in, the marathon didn't start until 12.
I met Keith and Doug on Friday. Those two are running partners and stayed at our hotel too. I was in another league with Matt, Keith and Doug. I was hanging with the BIG DOGS. I was so nervous. I am just a pipsqueak in comparison.
MY GOAL: To get to Lacey and Claudia by NOON. At that point, I would drop my pace, take photos and have fun with the girls. So I thought.
1. 12 hour 50.
2. Sub 13.
It was still dark out when we arrived at the park. Time went by fast. We dropped off our drop bags, I had extra shoes, chaffing cream and clothes in mine.
I didn't know these guys very well, I took a chance and asked if I could say a quick prayer before we started. I could have prayed by myself but I wanted them to know that I was praying for them as well.
As we lined up with about 150 other runners the sun began peaking out. We were scheduled to have 90' weather but the morning temps were very pleasant resting at 62 degrees.
The four of us headed out together.
I felt great. I tucked in the middle of the guys hoping I could keep up and not destroy myself. Mohican is made up of loops. I would be doing 2 loops. I needed to get through the first loop in under 6hours and I was concerned.
THE FIRST LOOP:
It was just a few minutes of running and the inclines began. About a mile in, I see runners snaking up a very large incline. The runners closer to the top looked smaller, making the lush structure more measurable and me more panicked!
The woods were beautiful with green foliage scattered on the foundation of the woods. Tall looming trees shaded us from the morning sun.
The four of us took off at a steady pace. I tried to look around when I could but the trail was entangled with so many tripping hazards.
The temperatures allowed us to run freely, joyfully even. We all conversed and joked with one another distracting ourselves from the never ending hills. The inclines and descents were NO JOKE. Roots creeped across a lot of the trail inviting each of us to a good tripping session. I had to keep reminding myself to "PICK your FEET up".
The forest offered many different landscapes. From sections of towering pines to a dense forest, lush and saturated with vegetation it was stunning. We ran across a ridge that collapsed on both sides of you, this section was sobering. At one point, we were face to face with the tree tops, I took a second to walk to the edge and look at nothing less than beautiful.
Because the Mohican trail is tucked so deep in this dense forest the humidity was unavoidable.
Within just a few hours we were all drenched in sweat. My skin was a slick, my tank top was saturated and the beginning stages of chaffing was inevitable.
The aid stations were set up about every 3-5 miles. The volunteers did a fabulous job taking care of you. Each aid station recited your bib number to another volunteer who wrote it all down.
I never had to ask for anything, the volunteers would take my hydration vest off me and fill my bladder, then place it back on me as I was grabbing food to eat. We didn't spend much more than a few minutes in each of the rest areas, eat, drink, and GO!
I nibbled on pickled beets, potato chips, pretzels and ICE. I drank water at each of the aid stations. I held Gatorade in my pack.
At about 4 hours of running I knew we were crushing it. I was giddy but realized I was WAY ahead of schedule to get to the second loop by 12. The last 2 miles of the loop the humidity was brewing. The trail finished through the camping area with steep hills and the downhills were wicked, deep crevices and large loose rocks threatened to break your ankles with no remorse.
And just when you think you have made it out unscathed you are spit out into the camp ground back up a deathly long hill made of gravel with the sun beating on you. My body quickly shut DOWN. "WALKING" I yelped more than once through this mile stretch.
When we arrived at the aid station, finishing out our first loop my time said 5:22. I had almost 40 minutes to kill.
Lacey was waiting for me at the picnic table with the rest of the guys. She looked at me and knew. Like she was part of me. She quickly took my hydration pack off. She was assessing me and taking care of me in ways I didn't know I needed.
My back was chaffed from my sweat soaked tank. Shamelessly, I removed it and went with only my sports bra.
I guzzled water and chewed on my ice cubes. The ice was getting really low and was getting hard to find. Most of us runners were so overheated that the ice was being put in our pack, our handhelds and wrapped in towels to cool us off.
The guys took off with the clock ticking. I was still trying to work on my plan. I had 20 minutes. I decided I would grab food and take it with me. I would leave before the girls and get a head start on them. I knew that if I stopped too long I would start cramping up and the girls would be running on fresh legs and catch up to me soon.
The problem with the second loop is I remembered the impending sufferfest just ahead of me.
I looked up at that first massive hill, said a couple choice words and dug my heals in, another 6hours to go.
We laughed, enjoying the sights, the sounds, the smells and the emotion of it all.
We came into a aid station only to discover that our company was to be split up again. The marathoners seperated into a 5 mile loop and I went to the right to run a 2 1/2 mile loop solo. I told Lacey I would meet her at the next aid station. That was my hopes.
In the next 2 1/2 miles, I wouldn't see ANOTHER person. The forest got very dark and treacherous. It was as if I was running in the middle of a dried up river bank that cut deeply into the earth. Sharp rocks made footing very difficult.
My quads were FIRING hatred at me. I took my time and took in the wonderous canvas surrounding me. A small river ran along side me with fallen trees and multiple bridge crossing. The river bed had massive stones scattered across mixed with thick vegetation and soaring trees.
Magnificent. My physical was was so trivial. THIS is what I run for. THIS Anita. This is worth all the pain, all the sweat, this is a treasure chest available to those who want to suffer.
I ran across the covered bridge down into the aid station. I knew I would be here a while waiting for the girls. It was a opportunity to regroup. Each of the girls came in separately.
As soon as Claudia and Lacey arrived and refreshed we took off again together.
The three of us were all struggling in our own way but cruising at a good steady pace.
Suddenly, with about 9 miles to go Lacey dropped off to the side of the trail.
Her sugar suddenly dropped.
Claudia didn't know we had dropped back but I could hear her "MARCO". I responded "POLO" hoping she would continue on.
She was running great and I was so excited for her. She kept moving.
It took Lacey about 40 minutes to recover. She is a tough cookie.
With about 5 miles to go, we were moving steady again. My strengths were her weaknesses and vise versa. We really challenged and supported each other.
I already knew how this trail would finish. It was not going to be pretty. My stomach was turned inside out. Every pounding of my foot, my belly churned.
We came out of the woods into the camp ground and took a wrong turn. I missed the turn. Thankfully a runner had enough energy to scream loud enough to get us turned back around!
We could see the finish, the sun beat down on us, the heat of the evening was almost suffocating but we moved forward together.
We crossed that finish line together.
LOVE you all.
|My back chaffed and only healed worse.|