This is either the best idea or the worst idea EVER
I still can't decide which it was when it comes to this race . I have been interested/obsessed with the Tecumseh Marathon ever since I started running trails. This race looked amazing and terrifying all at the same time. The elevation profile alone would scare away many people.
There's a 17 minute mile cutoff, there are hills so big they have names. So of course, when I saw how well I was recovering from my October marathon.... I signed up. Crap crap crap crap. Thankfully, I once again found a friend that wanted to run with me. She's faster than me on roads, but less experienced on trails.Whew, glad I wouldn't have to pull this off alone. And I knew I would push myself harder with with a faster runner on my tail. I was a nervous and emotional wreck going into this race. Here's some disjointed thoughts on how it all went down.
-It's a point to point race. So you park at the finish and are bussed to the start. Met some really nice folks on the bus ride out and was feeling ok. We got to the start, got in line for the port-o-pots and a friend comes and tackles us for good luck! She and her fiance had come out to wish us good luck. Yeah! The race was supposed to start at 10.... but it wasn't starting. Then we find out two buses are lost and one bus is broken down. Oh crap. The giant 17 MINUTE MILE cutoff is looming in my head and getting shorter with every passing minute. I want to cry and puke and punch someone, but instead I just wait... Then surprise friend #2 pops up at the starting line. She recently moved out of town and we didn't even know she'd be there. This dear friend has given me strength and confidence that I didn't know I possess more times than she knows and a giant hug from her brought tears to my already welling up eyes. But FINALLY 45 minutes late we were off.
-I spent the first 3-4 miles doing math and wondering how on earth we could pull this off in daylight. I couldn't calm down. Then we started seeing these signs... run run Rudolph... Santa's got to make it to town. They were spread out. Then there were snowflakes... then tinsel.... then an aid station blaring Run Run Rudolph. They were amazing. Right after the aid station a few feet into the woods there's a woman in a full reindeer costume. That helped me calm down.
-The girl I was with took a fall early on. Thankfully it wasn't terrible. I didn't fall, but shortly after that I had a slow motion almost fall that lasted about 16 years. I think I was practically parallel to the ground for 45 minutes. When I avoided the fall I then started screaming at the top of my lungs with my arms in the air. Way to keep your cool Hazler.That near fall, plus a huge toe stub later on will certainly end with some blackened toenails.
-We talked to lots of great people as we ran. But I have no idea what their names are. However, between my friend and I we referred to them as walk/run guy, white shirt guy, the power walkers (those two could take a hill like you wouldn't believe), singing lady, and green shirt guy. People at trail races are so much more friendly than road racers. It's so much more relaxed. But my head kept doing the math... got to beat daylight.
-Random observation: Did you ever notice that trees that will soon fall over sound like the Predator? This was just hilarious to me and my exhausted brain.
- So my friend and I find ourselves mostly alone and I say, I'm gonna jump over by that tree and pee really quick since no one is around. Oops, there comes the next group of runners down the hill... with a bird's eye view of my shockingly white rear end. But I've already started to go, so all I can do is laugh! Who cares. Maybe it'll make for a funny entry on their blog.
-My fantastic husband was on top of the gigantic hill that was 75 miles long around mile 13. This was awesome! And awful. Awesome because I was so excited to see him. Awful because I just wanted to jump in the car with him and go home. Instead he filled up our Camelbaks gave me a kiss and away we went.
-Dear dear friends screaming like lunatics at mile 21 with a sweet power arch and a butt smack. Who knew a butt smack could help you so much in a race you've both hated and loved to extreme degrees within the last 5 hours?
- We were racing daylight, but there was also a 4:30 cutoff for mile 22-23ish. I kept looking at my watch saying we've got to push it. We've got x amount of time. But we kept wondering... with a 45 minute delayed start they've got to give us a little. We pushed our pace more than we thought we could, PASSING PEOPLE! I told my friend that if they stopped us I was just gonna punch someone in the gut and then we both need to take off! No gut punching required! We hit the mark at 4:35! My husband later told me that he was saying to the other cheerers, "god help the person that tries to tell my wife to stop running this race". After ten years of marriage, he knows me pretty well.
-Shortly after the 4:30 cutoff mark we ran for a bit with singing lady and green shirt guy. We were chatting with them about food and Gu's and how Gu is like fake fruit flavored spackle and it sits in your gut like a rock. The next thing we know we're singing the Bob Seger song Like a Rock. But we're all picturing the Chevy truck commercial.
-My head was done with this race a thousand times over. But in the last two miles we stumbled into two great friends screaming awesome and hilarious things to us. One last hill, but we were laughing and smiling on the way up. We beat the sun! We did the race! HOLY CRAP EVERY INCH OF MY BODY HURTS!
-So many friends were at the finish line. And so were SOUP AND COOKIES!! Delicious soup and cookies and friends.
What a day. Our average pace was 15:35ish per mile. Which is crazy. I was worried about the 17 minute mile cutoff and here we were in the 15s! I did not know I had that race in me. I loved it and hated it. I was DONE with that race a million different times. I felt nauseous, dizzy, and like I was gonna crap myself off and on through the whole thing. I smiled and laughed and sang and shouted.
Would I run it again? Ask me in a week and I'm sure I'd say yes. Because holy crap that was amazing/awful/awesome/terrible/fun.
RUN THIS RACE!