With 10 more “happy” miles to go, I just put my head down and trudged on, trying desperately to ignore that ankle. Unluckily for me and my ankle, around mile 5 the course changes from paved road to rocky trails. Not just trails but single-track trails, offering little room for passing or walking so I huffed and puffed and tried to run as best as I could given the circumstances.
Heeeeeey… where did my road go??
I think every runner will admit that there is a certain etiquette that we all abide by when running and racing outside- be it road or trail. I can’t make any judgments (because you know I would if I could!) on how experienced the other runners were that day but the majority of them were completely unaware of trail racing etiquette. As you can see, it was a narrow trail so if you want to pass you gotta LOOK BEHIND YOU FIRST and if you want to walk you gotta GO INTO THE GRASS AREA. No etiquette from my fellow runners whatsoever, I kept getting cut off right and left and elbowed as no one around me seemed to understand HOW to run the trail or how useful the simple phrase, “On your left!” can be.
That was annoying but even more annoying was when some guy in front of me decided to walk, as I went to pass him on the left, he flung his arms backwards very forcefully and smacked me directly in the face! ARGH!!!! He said, “I’m sorry!” and my lip swelled… no big deal, it just kinda hurt my feelings- like I needed another injury!
Santa Cruz coastline- so fricking pretty!
The trail portion (miles 5-10) seemed to go on forever and ever and ever, probably due to the congestion of all those runners on the very narrow path. Once we emerged from the trails and hit the road again, I was thankful but noticed that my ankle was not- the trail portion was admittedly much softer and easier on my ankle.
I saw that a few runners had collapsed to the side of the road and were surrounded by EMTS and I actually felt envious- I wish I could sit down and get an oxygen mask too! But no… a medal will be much better…
By mile 10 I was done, done, DONE! Watched the 2:25 pace group go by and sighed… will I, can I break 2:30?? “Oh who cares…” I thought and immediately felt very disappointed, sad and sorry for myself. I tried to channel Coach Al and realized that he would have wagged his finger at me for even running this race on that ankle in the first place, “Don’t let ego overrule good judgment.” But I did. Again.
Yep, pretty much sums up how I felt by mile 11!
With a busted ankle, fat lip and heavy heart, I started taking videos of myself complaining and if I hadn’t used so much foul language, I would post a couple but I try to keep things somewhat G-rated here so I only have one that is suitable-for-all-audiences. If you want to see me at mile 12.5 complaining and upset yet still smiling (as always!), please feel free to view that video here .
Finally, I saw the finishing chute and anxiously looked for hubby, my kids and BFFs Josh and Andrea- I saw them and they saw me and that made me SO happy!
Waving hi to my awesome loved ones!
And then, for the final cruel joke of the day, the last 100 yards of this race finished on the sand. Yeah. My ankle was SO happy about that. I’m also sure every single finishers photo looks oh so graceful- going from road to sand in a dead sprint is just silly. Really. I knew the sand was gonna be there but had no idea how torturous it would be! Horrible!
Crossed the finish line in exactly 2:30 (which is a miracle for all the walking I did!!!!), grabbed my medal, a water bottle, and my race shirt then duck walked through the crowd to find my family.
All you people get out of my way before I hurt someone.
Finally saw Josh and Andrea, hobbled over to them, fell into their arms, and started crying. “That was SO HARD!” I wailed, “Andrea, this race was a PR for you?? I don’t get it!!! WAHHHHH!!!!” The only thing that ended my tantrum was a mimosa and big hamburger.
I did it for the medal. And the mimosas…
After that, we took the kids to the boardwalk and rode the rides and played games all day. Given that I had just done a half and that my ankle was the way it was, I really wasn’t the best company and the long lines made me want to start crying all over again! The kids had so much fun though- I love seeing them so happy- and I wore my medal all day long!
Good race as long as you know what you’re getting into. Beautiful course and that combination of paved road and trails offer a great challenge (if you aren’t injured like some people). The price was reasonable (I think $65 at the early bird rate) and I really love that it is so close to the boardwalk (meaning, tons of food and fun for the kids)- I would definitely do this race again!
Have you ever done a race that had a combination of wide open paved roads AND narrow trails? How do you handle runners that have a lack of etiquette on a race course- yell at them or run past them? Does this sound like the kind of race you would do??