After working all day Friday and Saturday, I was hoping my legs and feet would forgive me for Saturday evenings 25k race in Midland.
I had everything waiting for me when I got home from work. It was not possible to speed down I75 when Mother nature decided to follow through with her plan of snow dumping.
With only 10 minutes, I changed, brushed my teeth and threw MORE stuff in my 3 bags. I had enough gear for a weekend of running. Claudia and Matt arrived to pick me up and I was still scrambling around the house.
We still had to pick up Rachel and head to Kris's house to meet the rest of Team Squishy Toes, (our unofficial name we gave ourselves as a joke).
We all hopped in Kris's 15 passenger van with gratitude to her and her husband for driving us all to Midland, especially in really bad weather conditions.
We arrived about an hour early. This gave us time to relax, get our bibs, and get layered and lighted up.
With a little light left, I was still able to spot a sweet acquaintance of mine, Dale D. I was already hyped, seeing her bright smile nudged more into outrageous Anita mode.
After gathering our bibs, I located another runner friend of mine, Jeanette B.
The problem with being a extrovert is you can not stay focused with so many distractions. I was like the Tasmanian Devil spinning from one thing to the next. Laughing, jumping around, hollering at strangers "MARCO" and just having a good time.
Play time came to an end at 7pm when we all lined up.
I started out with Claudia down the wide path through tall pine trees. The sky was red and eerie, sharing enough light that made me wish I could see my surroundings better.
I would be running 15.5 miles-ish. They would be accounted for in 5-5k loops.
Claudia and I ran side by side, having fun and maintaining a even pace.
The aid stations were a riot. Everytime I went through them they kept trying to get me to drink a shot of Fireball. I would yell "NOOO WATER" and they would yell back, "FIREBALL?!"
I don't drink but I think by the party like behavior we showed everytime we saw them they thought I did.
The volunteers were all stoked and made it fun to see them each time. I looked forward to seeing them to help break up my miles.
The path was NOT technical at all. It was relatively flat. It was wide, mostly smooth with only one rooty area. However, there was one section that was solid ice. My Katoolas sounded like tap shoes landing as I tried to get some grip.
They had the course marked very well. The volunteers were alert keeping a close eye on us so we didn't take a wrong turn...Hmm, I wonder who may have almost done that....
Because it was a 5k loop race I would go through the finishing area 5 times. The announcer was awesome. You could hear the him about a quarter mile away. Hearing the cheers and the announcer got my adrenaline going each loop as I came through. I would head into the tent handing out high fives and yelling "MARCO". All 5 TIMES he announced "ANITA HARLESS...."
Its the little things that get you going and keep you going.
The first 3 loops I ran steady but not hard core. I lollygagged through the aid stations and I hung with my friends.
I realized that everyone was running their own race and decided that I should do the same. I was getting cold and fatigued and was ready to focus on finishing.
I didn't pick up my pace rather I maintained my pace. This was enough effort for me. My back was hurting, a pain that I am not familiar with.
I slowly started passing runners. This surprised me because I didn't think I was going fast enough. What was happening was, all those runners that went out too fast were pooping out and dropping their pace.
I was actually kicking myself for not being a little more serious the first 3 loops. But I was having fun, and it was supposed to be a fun run.
I heard the cheers in the darkness of the trail and got excited more to be warm than anything. My clothing was all soaked and I was beginning to tremble.
It was fun coming through the finishing line and seeing my friends.
The Race was well done and a lot of fun until it wasn't. The hardest part was the finish. My entire body was convulsing. I was shivering so bad that my back began to tighten up. It was horrible. I couldn't think, speak or communicate. I never looked up my time, heard them announce the awards, got a cupcake or got a cup of Starbucks coffee.
LAP 1: 30:29
LAP 2: 30:35
LAP 3: 31:19
LAP 4: 30:46
But it sure was fun. It was a great race but a rough ending. But then not everything has a happy ending...
The clothing was all very nice with not just a great design but also good fabric.