Georgia Xterra Race No. 3 – Battle at Big Creek (11/3/2012)
This was race number three in the Georgia Xterra series. I ran it in 2009, and it was tough but I loved it. I signed up for it in 2010 and 2011, but didn’t run it either year. 2010 I had hurt my back and was busy feeling sorry for myself. 2011 Pooky sprained his ankle playing basketball and was in a boot. I had to drive him to an out of town CLE and help him set up and sell the Code. So 2012 was my year.
I signed up for the 10 miler…of course. As it drew closer, I realized I hadn’t run more than 6 or 7 miles in quite some time. So I did what any logical person would do. And on Thursday I took a nice, leisurely 11.5 mile run from my house to the car garage to pick up Pooky’s car. The run went surprisingly well, and I felt great. Nice and confident for Saturday’s race. If not tired. But whatever.
Then Friday rolled around. I don’t know what it was, but I was in a funk. I was tired, and didn’t want to go. I ate a bunch of junk after dinner (and for the last few weeks period) and was disgusted with myself. It was really cold outside, and I am the kind of person who is eternally cold…so I didn’t want to go out in the cold. I just wasn’t in the mood…and when I sat and thought about it, I figured out why.
I had gotten spoiled and complacent. Each time I went to a shorter race lately, I was at least age group placing. I got used to it, and I liked it. Now, at the thought of maybe not placing, of not being able to finish very well…well, I didn’t like the prospect…and it almost kept me from going out at all.
I went to sleep not knowing if I’d run the next day and doubting it. Despite eating an entire bag of flax tortilla chips and salsa plus candy… I got up in the middle of the night and also enjoyed some gluten free vegan Kind Granola – Chocolate Cranberry to be exact, which I had purchased as pre-race fuel. I guess eating it in the middle of the night counts as breakfast, right?
Well I got up and hemmed and hawed. I realized I didn’t want to run the race because I was scared I wouldn’t place. And that was so sad. I started all of this because I loved running…not to win races…and this isn’t the Olympics for Pete’s sake. I had posted that I didn’t think I would run the night before on DailyMile. When I booted up on Saturday morning, I had so many kind and inspirational words from everyone on there, that I said, oh the hell with it. So at 7AM I decided I would run the race which started at 8:30AM. Better late than never.
I threw on my stuff, got all bundled up in tights and a long sleeve shirt, grabbed a banana and my new iPod and off I went. I got to the race late, so I had to park in BFE. I quickly jogged down to get my packet. It must’ve been a half mile. I got said packet…then realized I had to take it back to the car. On the way up I saw Deborah Williams who I recognized from the Atlanta Trail Meetup Group! She flagged me over and we took a quick picture. Quick stop at the porta-a-pottie (I usually have about 5 pre-race!), and I ran back up the hill to my car. Ok one mile in!
Came back down, and brought my bag with me. Figured no more trips up and down…I could leave it at the wheel of Deborah’s car… of course she got there at 6:30AM and had a primo parking space!!! Deborah warned me I’d be hot and to take off all my snowman layers. Since I had already ran about 1.5 miles with all the car trips, I was pretty warm. I decided to heed her warning and change out of the tights into my shorts and tank top.
So while waiting in line for yet another port-a-pottie stop, I shimmied out of the tights. Harder than it sounds being that they were CWX tights which are SO hard to get on and off!!! But I put my shorts over them and somehow got them off without exposing my unmentionables right there in the port-a-pottie line. This day was already off to a great start.
By the time I got out of the port-a-pottie, the race was pretty much starting. I shed my arm warmers and threw my bag behind Deborah’s wheel and sprinted to the starting line and cruised right through. I bought a new iPod the day before and a few new songs. So I was all set.
I probably looked like a crazy person as it seemed me and Deborah were the only ones running in tank top and shorts, but she was dead on. Perfect gear for the weather. It turned out to be a beautiful day.
I took it easy the first two miles, instead of doing my usually – use it or lose – at the beginning. Shout out to Little Abalos – 2 Reasons by Trey Songs was the first song out of my iPod and got me going. Soon I realized that I felt great and started enjoying myself. So I took off a little faster.
By the end of the race, I had plenty left and could see the 3rd place girl in my sights. I kicked in and took off, but it was too late. I had tons left in the tank, and couldn’t use it all. I’ve learned my lesson, my use it or lose it, all or nothing at first strategy – although not suggested in any running book or by any coach – works for me…and well, if it ain’t broke, then I shouldn’t have fixed it. It also showed me that what I believed all along is true – it’s all in your head. Whatever your head is saying that day is going to control your race, control your day, control what happens.
The course was tough due to the fact that it was very rocky. No real climbs though. So that was good on my tired legs. I saw many many people bite it on the course…and typically I’m the klutz who can’t even stay on my feet while walking on flat ground, so all I kept saying was, just don’t fall…and a miracle happened! I stayed on my feet the whole time!!! Apparently there were a bunch of bees and a lot of people got stung! I luckily avoided that as well…
I went into this race with a defeated attitude (to quote Pooky) and of course anyone running with a defeated attitude was going to be defeated…Luckily my attitude adjusted soon enough to get me the 4th place overall spot and 1st place age group spot. But darn if I didn’t miss the girl in front of me by less than 15 seconds. 15 seconds that I surely had left in me at the end of the day. 1:22:something. Good, not great. Either way, I totally surprised myself with how well I ran and how good I felt doing it. If anything, I was totally disappointed in myself for not giving it my all from the beginning.
All and all the race was a success. As I’ve said before, I have been coming to these things for years, but have never spoken with anyone…Amazing but true. However, today I met up with some peeps from the Atlanta Trail Meetup Group…again, it is a group I’ve joined online, but have yet to actually talk to anyone in person…true to my form…so anyways, I met up with some of them before and after the race! I had friends! At a race! Well, maybe it’s presumptuous of me to call them my friends right now, but regardless, it was good to have people to hang around with after the race instead of being a usual creepy awkward lone onlooker.
Deborah and Cathy were even kind enough to stay until I got my award although they had all finished long ago having done the 5.5 miler.
We even got a picture with Tim, my favorite race director!!!
Only sad news, I had brought my margarita flip flops to change into after the race. When I got to LA Fitness for some post-race yoga afterwards, I could only find one. I put out the ABP on the lost flip flop on the Dirty Spokes page…Tim confirmed I left it behind…but to quote him, my kids found it and I told them, put that down! I figured it was left behind from teenagers partying there… so alas, my one flip flop remains in Roswell because I was too lazy to go back for it… must of dropped it in the hurry from the port-a-pottie tights changing incident. That, or the fact that I continue to carry my items in my Publix Marathon bag despite the large hole in the bottom of it. Well, next Publix Marathon is in March, so I should be getting a new one then and hopefully won’t lose much to the hole between now and then 😉
All and all it was a great day. Glad I kicked myself in the butt and went out there and did it. Sometimes we can’t over think things. And all of the time we can’t have a defeated attitude. No matter what it is in life – not just running – remember, it’s all in your head. If you think you can’t do it before you’ve even started, well then, you’re not going to be able to do it…or you’ll just do a crappy job. But, if you believe you can do it, and put your head and heart into it, you might just be surprised at what you can do. So I guess I’ll put my own sappy inspirationalish mumbo jumbo to work next time and see how it pans out.
Next up, me and Jamaican Sensation tackle the Hill Country at Serenbe 15k Trail Race 11/10/2012.