The weather forecast was promising...colder temps and light snow is preferable to the soul and foot sucking mud that we had the last couple of runs. The only problem is that all those muddy footprint dents in the ground froze into torturous little stalagmites which is not so easy on the feet or the joints, it turns out.
George and I got to Boston Store around 6:15 am where I got my bib (which by the way, no offense to the fantastic race director and coordinators but come on, electronic timing in the bibs that prevented us from keeping them kinda stunk...I keep every one of those from all races; they belong on my wall not reset and plastered to the front of another runner in another race somewhere down the road). The store was buzzing with people and the few of my running friends who hadn't met George before got to...I think Don and also my trainer, Sean, had way too much fun asking him how the hell he lived with me. Very funny guys, very funny.
Before you knew it, the whistle was blown and we were off on our way through 3 loops of Brandywine and 2 loops of Pine Lane. Just like in the summer 50k Red, Debi and I stuck together for the majority of the way. I saw Don at the very early 2.5 mile marker and I could see the expectant look in his eye like I should be picking it up and running with him but like I've said before, I wasn't planning on shootin' my wad early, so to speak, so I told him to go ahead. He ran a fantastic race and I'm so happy for him that he felt good and strong the whole way...after two DNF's on this course he deserved to make this thing his bitch and that he did-way to go Don!
Red and I were perfectly matched in the race. We stayed together the entire time and I think we both felt great until about mile 18 where it just became more labored. I think we kept our complaining to a minimum. Red's back was hurting her and my joints seemed to be screaming in protest to the prolonged exposure to the cold. The weather felt like it seeped in to my ankles, knees and hips and put a death grip on them. Regardless of the discomfort though, having Red with me helped tremendously...suffering in silence up the hills (well except for our train-like sounding breaths) was a truly bonding experience. I fell only once but kudos to Sean, my arms must be pretty strong because I caught myself before my ass even had a chance to touch the ground.
George was fantastic as usual...he met us at both stops at Pine Lane then of course every time we ran through Boston. I never thought anyone would ever be able to rival that 100% secure feeling I have with my parents...that feeling that I always know they'll be there for me when I need it, but he does. He's always there no matter what and I love him beyond words for that. It was at mile 22 that I hugged him and he felt so warm and the car was so god damn close that I whispered to him to please just put me out of my misery and take me home. I'm so glad he knows me well enough to push me along and refuse my attempts at "sweet talk".
I won't lie, the loops all kinda blurred into each other. I felt strong but pretty tired by the last couple of them. I was so glad to have Red there, we connected without talking and it kinda reminded me that she was unknowingly the draw to this running group about a year ago. She and I are very similar in some ways and refreshingly different in others. All I know is that doing a 50K without her just wouldn't seem right now. I hope we can continue this Buckeye Trail tradition for years to come.
That last stretch of Towpath couldn't have ended any sooner than it did. I surprised even myself by picking up the pace in the last mile or so. All I could think of at that point was the hamburger that I had so passionately talked about earlier that morning before we even started the race. That's seeming to be part of my new regime that George just recently renamed "The Maria Triathlon". My three events? Run a whole lotta miles, then Kobayashi a burger (if that joke isn't funny to you then look up competitive eating) and then do some baking (I went home after the race and my burger and proceeded to again stand and get a cheesecake made for the next day).
I get so A.D.D. with my race reports so I gotta stop now (sorry if it's already gone on longer than usual) but let me just name the few things/people that really stuck out in my head:
- the volunteers...especially Bob Combs, TJ Hawk and Frank (I wish I knew his last name but he was so helpful at the Brandywine station)
- the other runners-so many of them gave such great encouragement. Jim Harris who I've only met once before was nice enough to remember me and call me out by name each time we crossed paths
- the people who I trained with-although so many of you are faster than I could ever hope to be you never make me feel less for what my pace is
- the people who I've ended up meeting through bloggerland-I enjoy sharing this passion with you. Even if I rarely run a single step in your presence, your common interest in running always rings true and inspires me
- my parents and my sister, Leanne. At every big race I know I can search them out and see their cheering faces...rain or shine they're there
- The Winking Lizard. Yes, I know I'm a true fat girl when I have to again mention that amazing burger I inhaled after the race (along with a few delicious beverages that made my day complete)