43 Days – Healthy Competition

It was a rough time for all of us, for sure. Brian and I had just broken up, the Moose had died and just 3 weeks after I had just run the Mt. Disappointment 50 Miler, my legs didn’t want to move. But Donn had promised he would stay with me that day, as we lined up at the start line of the Bulldog 50k, Froggie at our side. She was probably hurting worse than any of us, but certainly wasn’t showing it. Moping was never her style or her way of dealing with things.

She challenged me to a ‘race to the death’ at the start line. I thought she was kidding but she took it very seriously. When Nancy, the race director, announced the start, Froggie was off and even 10 miles into the race, we still hadn’t seen her. “She must be behind us. We must have passed her at an aid station or something…” I said to Donn and he nodded. I mean, my speed wasn’t great that day but there was no way she was that far ahead.

Then in the distance, we saw a flash of white hair. “Holy crap… THAT’S FROGGIE! We HAVE to catch her, Donn!”

With a little extra push I made my way close behind our speedy little friend, who spent most races enjoying scenery and picking wild flowers. Apparently not today.

The race consisted of two 15.5 mile laps and I raced with everything I could to catch her at the first lap. She ran silent and focused and crossed the first lap just before I did.

Froggie never let me forget that day, claiming that the ‘real’ race was at the end of the first lap and that last half didn’t really count. No one would have pegged Froggie to pull off what she did that day, but the reality of the situation was that she just wanted it more than I did. There is something to be said for that.

Erich didn’t make it to the finish line of Javelina this year. Funny that a marathon distance beyond his longest distance ever run would be considered ‘not enough.’ I’m proud of his attempt out there and it was hard to watch him not reach the goal that he set out to accomplish. But that is part of the appeal of all the challenges that we set for ourselves. Oddly enough being out there didn’t make me miss ultrarunning anymore, and I came back even more motivated towards my new goal.

I like the glazed over smiles I get at the Academy when people learn of my challenge to take on Eric’s 5k. It’s the same look that I got when I signed up for my first marathon and then my first 100 mile. People thought I had lost my mind. There’s some fuel in that for me.

I will never forget that day with Froggie, nor will I ever forget what Barry did for me in July when I challenged him and we both PRed our races significantly trying to chase each other down. We both became better athletes that day because of the other person. I’m hoping the same thing happens for Shannon and I when we go head to head in December, preparing me for my ultimate goal!

Tomorrow is Halloween and also my first in a series of 5k trial runs I will do between now and April. I-pod cocked and loaded, hydrated, glycogen topped off, TCFA shirt clean and ready to wear. I’m ready to ‘run like a girl!’

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jaol August 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm

You have definitely put in the time and miles and I think you will not only sursripe the field with your run, you will also sursripe yourself as to how fast you ran around that course. When the race is over you may want to start looking at houses elsewhere so you never have to see or live so close to the Pemberton Trail again. Get the nervous energy out over the next couple weeks and then enjoy tbe build up to the 100 mile buckle.

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