Well, today didn’t go as well as I had planned but the weather was not ideal. I finished a marathon (26.2 miles) and decided to stop there. It was miserable out. 39 degrees and raining.
We started at 5 am and it had been raining for several hours by that time. My headlamp strap decided right after the start to randomly change sizes on me. It was dark out and I couldn’t figure out how to get it back. It took forever for me to figure it out and I was already way behind at that point. There weren’t a lot of us at the start so I tried to catch up with some people. I did manage to catch some people but later found out they were deciding to only run the half (which the actual start time for the half marathon was at 9, but because of injury they were doing that instead of the full they signed up for). I then realized that once they turned around I was going to be by myself. I have a huge fear of running by myself on trails, especially in the dark. During the day, I am still afraid but it’s more manageable, I can see the flags for the course easier and such.
I took off on my own and was kind of freaking out (I’ll get back to that in a second). Around mile 8ish I was running through horrible, slippery, heavy, thick mud that just caked your shoes. My shoes felt like they weighed 30 lbs. That was without a doubt the worst part of the course and I knew I had to do it again on the way back. I get past that and am right by where I used to run all the time when I lived here, right by Szalay’s Farm Market and the Towpath. I get onto the towpath and start running. I keep running and notice I’m not seeing any course markings. I think maybe they just didn’t put any here since you can’t really turn anywhere so I keep going. Then I realize that I had to have missed a turn since I had gone over a half mile without seeing any markers. I head back and see where I missed my turn (it was still dark out). I head that way, still pretty freaked out to be running by myself.
I get to the Covered Bridge Aid Station and see Steven and start to have a panic attack. I was so far behind and scared out there by myself. My anxiety is pretty bad and it got the best of me. I wanted to drop there but Steven told me that the covered bridge loop was 5 miles and came back to that same aid station and to give that a try. I was still crying when I left the aid station but took off. By that time it was starting to get lighter out (3 hours after I started the race). I did the loop and got back to the aid station and decided to keep going after Steven refilled my water and I changed gloves (my hands were freezing and my first pair of gloves soaked). By that time I was pretty sure I was going to stop at the marathon. My legs were shot. My quads and several other muscles that I probably don’t use that often were not working too well. This was most likely because I was having to try and not slide/fall in the mud when going down hills or even just running flat grounds/up hill in really muddy areas, of which there were a lot. I kept going and nothing too crazy happened the rest of the way. It sucked. My legs hurt. I was miserable. And the last mile was basically all up hill with a ton of huge rocks to “climb”. I get back to the start area and called it a day. There was no way I was doing that again. I felt fine, stamina wise I could have easily done it but my legs couldn’t handle anymore. I did negative split by like 20 minutes. And I only truly fell once. It now hurts.