The last time I ran a race was April 2009. It was the Go! St. Louis Half, my seventh half marathon and it rained and rained and rained. I stopped at mile six, asked a spectator to use his phone and decided I was ready to go home. See, I had started racing my bike, and I had finished six halves and had nothing left to prove. When I was debating whether to do the Go! or to blow it off and do Tour of Hermann, Coach asked me, "Are you a runner or a bike racers?" I didn't even have to think about it.Now, it'simportant to know that I was supposed to race Godzilla last December, but a last minute tripto
caused me to skip it. While I wasdown there, Coach took me on a trail run, AKA put the needle in my arm onceagain. I was in heaven. I loved running the trails so much morethan the road. I was hooked. Still, I'm a bike racer (at least awanna be bike racer). DallasLet's jump aheadto September. One too many pitchers of margaritas and I'm again signed upfor Godzilla. I've got a bit of a competitive streak in me, so if I'mreally going to do this race I need to get my happy butt out on the trails. I was looking at the St. Louis Track Club website and found the IllinoisOzark 10K Trail Run. How effing cool! So close, I ride my bike bythere weekly, I was in! I even decided to skip a time trial today to runthis race. Wowza! You know I'm hooked!Iwas so nervous about the race this morning. Since it's been so long sinceI've run one, I felt like I forgot my pre-race routine. I did oatmeal andcoffee about two hours before and got to the park in plenty of time. Iwas so cold when I got there, I was worried I had dressed wrong. I got mynumber and went back to the car and pinned it on. I sat in the car tostay warm until about 20 minutes before the race. I watched other runnersget there and I remembered how I never felt like I belonged to the"runner" group. I still feel like I'm a poser. I only startedrunning five years ago. It's a past time I had to work very hard at whichto become mediocre.Imade a last minute restroom trip and took my GU and some water before headingout to warm up. I did a little seven minute run and went back to thestart line. I saw Tom Hootselle in the back, so I stood back there andchatted with him before we started. He finished IMKY, his first, inAugust and is trying to get me to the tri side.They gave a fewinstructions and blew the horn--off we went. Because I started in thevery back, it was slow getting started. Tom took off ahead of me and Ifigured I should start moving my way forward. I worked my way through thecrowd, trying to find my pace and rhythm. We were still on the pavementwhen I felt like I was able to open up and hit my stride. I passed Tomand heard him tell me to go get 'em.We turned on tothe trail and it was all uphill. I kept moving up, passing people andrunning. The grade finally got too steep and I had to walk. I waspacing against a girl right in front of me, and for a few minutes, I thought Icould pass her. She found a little kick and put some ground in betweenus. We kept going up and up and up. It was about a mile and half inbefore the trail leveled out into some good rollers. The girl was out ofmy sight by then. I was running on my own. The first major descentbegan and it was steep. I took it a bit slower than I would have liked. I could hear someone behind me, but I focused on the trail ahead. Ihit the base of the trail and was able to add a little speed again. I sawthe three mile mark and knew my pacing was good, my legs felt good and mybreathing was fine. I also knew it was about time to head back up.I finished thatsection of trail and was heading back to Salt Lick. I walked the waterstop and the lady there told me I was the second woman overall. In myhead I thought that couldn't be. She must be lying to get me to pushharder. The trail headed back up the bluff from there. This sectionwas very steep and had logs laid in as steps. I walked most of theuphill. I could feel my heart rate was high and I was trying to keep itsomewhat in control. When it would level out, I would run again. Somewhere in there I saw the four mile mark and a volunteer who told meit was only a tenth of mile more uphill. He did lie. It was morethan that and there were some short steep parts. I finally crested andsaw the water stop that was at 4.5 miles. I started running again and wasdetermined I wouldn't stop. The next mile and a half was all descending. I could hear someone behind me again, making up ground. I amdefinitely timid on the downhill!, M2--, M3--, M4--, M5--, M6-- plus the change for the .2. You candefinitely tell where I was going uphill! That effort got me1st in my agegroup, 2nd overall. I'll take it! Bring on Godzilla!