20131009

Triple Lake 40

If you want to read a good race recap, you should read this. I know; it’s a different race, by a different person. But it’s a great read, written by my friend, Derek, who is a trooper and a giant squirrel.

Now, back to Triple Lake 40 on Oct. 5, 2013.

I love long distance. Define “long” however you like; for me, it has always meant longer than I’d like to or normally run. At the moment, a 40-miler is long. Perhaps one day, a 50-miler will still not be enough. The reason I like running long distance, or pushing a little further than I am accustomed to, is because I get to experience so much more both emotionally and physically. Anything shorter than a 50k is somewhat predictable. I can expect that I’ll take me a couple miles to warm up, then there will come a low point, then there will be time I’m just cruising, then I’ll be done. But a new distance, like a 40-miler, is different. There’s both a thrill and a fear in not knowing what to expect. Am I running too fast? How will my legs respond to a new distance? Am I drinking or eating enough? Am I going to be in pain and hate every minute of it? At the end, it’s always a long but worthy journey where I get to experience multiple lows and ups, test my patience, endurance, and perseverance, and face many fears and demons in my head.

We ran a lot of Greensboro's Watershed Trails System
The day started with meeting at Val’s place at 5 a.m. and carpooling up to Greensboro. Val is an amazing-all-around runner. She runs track, cross-country, road, trails, ultras, and is now training for a 100-miler. I want to be like her when I grow up…except that she’s younger than I am. We arrived at Bur Mil Park two hours later, picked up our packets, lined up for potty twice, and waited at the start. Triple Lakes races offer three distances: a half marathon, marathon, and the 40-miler. I have originally signed up for the marathon, but emailed the RD to move to the 40. His response was: “You have till mile 11 to decide.” And I took his word to heart. Toeing the start line, I still wasn't sure which distance I’d do.

We started the race five minutes after the half-marathoners. The first mile was on road and the lead pack was off. By the time I got onto the single tracks, we were all spread out. Other than leap-frogging a few people a couple times, I ran the majority of the race by myself. When the split at mile 11 came, which was too soon, I felt decent enough that I couldn’t find an excuse not to go for the 40 – so I did.

Plunging into the unknown, I tried to keep the calm and just run an easy pace. The low(s) came fairly soon. At mile 15, my legs were already telling me they didn't want to take more beating. Earlier when I said the split was too soon, I meant if the split was at mile 20, I’d gladly run the marathon. There were not many, if any, highs for the rest of the way. Just me trucking along, learning to be patient, accepting things the way they were, and taking it one step at a time.

The realization that I was only at mile 26 and that I still had 14 miles to go was daunting. 14 miles were long at that point. As any runner would know, there’s no easy way out, only keep on moving forward. As much as I wanted the race to be over, I also found myself at peace. Since I knew I had a couple more hours on trails, I let myself took the time to walk when I felt like, to stop focusing on pain, and to look around and enjoy the trail itself. I suppose there’s no better way to face a fear than getting through it.

Before the race, Val had warned me about the extra bit of running around a lake before the finish. When I got off the trails into an open field, I knew I was close but I also warned myself to prepare for more. After making my way around the lake, I was still expecting more but I saw the blow-up finish line right before me. That was the best surprise of all and the best way to end a long journey.

Running makes, shapes, and molds us to be better people because so much of running is like living life. At Tripe Lake, I learned to face fear a little better; but it was not done without the knowledge of this:
“I know who goes before me;
I know who stands behind;
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.” -Chris Tomlin - Whom Shall I Fear

1 comment:

  1. That was a GREAT race report!! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete