So, after stating in my last post that my running days had come to a close, things happened and that window of opportunity opened. I wasn't sure about my fitness so I took a short easy run the day before to find out. I felt decent and close to where I was before the flu, so I started finalizing plans.
I dropped the kid off at school and drove out to make waterbottle/snack drops along the Mountains To Sea Trail. I was excited and nervous while driving back home and changing into running clothes.
The temp was close to 30, where it stayed all day, and the skies were cloudy. I would prefer it to be a little bit warmer, but these conditions were nothing to complain about.
I started out at milepost 386 and headed north. My first destination was the Folk Art Center. I made it there, roughly 5 miles in 1 hour. I refilled my water bottle and headed south. My next turn around point was the French Broad River Bridge.
After doing some research, I found that the distance on the trail from the Folk Art Center to the FBR Bridge is 13.3 miles. Hence the out and back.
I'm not too keen on out and backs, but this was the easiest way to accomplish this goal.
I've been wanting to run a trail marathon for a very long time, and was prepared to go for it this year, when the flu knocked me down. It killed my momentum and my fitness.
As I ran, I thought about second chances.
Back to MP 386 and my first dropped, I swapped water bottles and grabbed the rice crispy treat. Delicious. I continued running. Not fast, but steady. I'm told that's what wins the race.
At this point, I was not convinced that I would be able to go the distance.
45 minutes later, I crossed Hwy 25 and came to another drop. Water, Fritos and a couple sips of Coke, saving most of the bottle for the return trip.
I was feeling good, but still not sure. Thinking positive thoughts, and reminding myself to keep forward motion, I ticked off the miles.
Rhonda called and asked what I needed. " A PB and J would be great". She headed over and met me to make the hand-off. Just what I needed. Seeing her and having her support lifted my spirits.
4 hours into the run, I reached the FBR Bridge and another drop. At each drop, I left a special snack. This one was a Jack Links Beef and Cheddar stick. I only eat these when I'm doing an endurance event. The thought of them makes me gag, but when my fuel is being depleted, these are a go to snack.
Turning around to head north, I started to realize that there was a good chance I was going to make it. The body was past aching and now hurting with every step. I was starting to run with bad form, hunching over and had to be aware: stand up straight, short steps, walk the steeper uphills....repeat.
Up and over I-26, my head started to feel a little foggy. I plodded along, thinking about pizza. I suddenly realized that I had missed my next drop. I checked my water bottle. Half full, I figured I had enough to make it to the final drop. I couldn't remember if I had water there or not, but I knew that the Coke was there.
Finally back to Hwy 25, I estimated about an 1 or less. I was hoping for a sub 5hr, but at this point, I changed that hope to a sub 6hr. The Coke and Fritos hit the spot, and it turned out I had a full water bottle.
I was in familiar territory now and was checking off the landmarks. I called Rhonda and told her I would be finished in 10-20 mins.
And then it was over. 26.6 miles in 5 hrs 47 mins.
While my body is stiff and sore all over, it feels great to complete a goal that I have had for so long. I'm very pleased with my time and how things turned out and currently have no desire to ever do this again. But I'm sure as time goes by and the pain fades, I'll be looking into another running adventure next year!!