The Blue Eyed Warrior

The Adventures of the Norse Goddess of War

Northern Central Trail Marathon, November 27, 2010

All I can say about this race is (1) the volunteers were absolute angels and were the nicest, most caring volunteers I’ve come across in a race; and (2) I’ve never wanted to DNF so badly in a race in my life.

The conditions were rough: 40 degrees and a cold, hard 18 mph wind.

I really don’t train on trails … At all.  I am prone to falling.  Hell, I’ve fallen on asphalt.  I don’t need roots and rocks and trees getting in my way when I run. Because I WILL fall.

I ran the race with my friend, James, and we really had a great time of it during the first 10 miles of the race.  The first 10 miles felt great.

In fact we were having such a good time running, chatting, joking and laughing that another runner on the course asked if we were a “couple”.  I laughed and replied, “No, we’re just good friends.”  Then she informed us that there was a couple running the race who were going to kiss at every mile, and when she saw us, she thought we might be that couple.  James laughed and said, “I don’t think her husband or my fiancee would appreciate that very much!”  Hahaha!

So why did I think running a trail marathon was a good idea??? Honestly, it didn’t look like it would be that hard.  The trail is not a technical trail.  It was formerly railroad tracks that were abandoned and converted to a trail. The trail is mostly flat (for a trail) and it is fairly well manicured in most places.  So natch, I thought the soft surface of the trail would be a great surface to run on and it would allow my legs to recover more quickly in preparation for the Goofy Challenge.  Plus, I thought it was a good marathon to run to bridge the training gap between the Marine Corps Marathon on October 31, 2010 and the Goofy Challenge on January 8 and 9, 2011.

Yeah, not so much.  For some reason, the soft surface of the trail just sapped the strength out of my legs very early in the race. By mile 11, I felt like I was at mile 20.  My legs were EXHAUSTED.  My calves were SHOT.  Completely SHOT.  I was really surprised that my legs were so tired this early in the marathon.  I said to James, “I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish.  This is not right.”  We decided to slow down the pace a little and add more walk breaks. By the midpoint of the race, my left knee started hurting me.  At mile 16 I had a massive asthma attack.  I could not breathe at all.  I could not get any air into my lungs.  James did not know what to do. The look on his face told me that he was afraid I was going to die out there on that trail in the middle of nowhere (and he would have to find a way to dispose of my body!)  Haha!

I got through the massive asthma attack and I told James that I really wanted to DNF at mile 18.  I did not believe that there was any way I could finish the race.  And let’s face it — it was just a training run for me for Goofy.  But James would not leave me alone in the woods in the middle of nowhere.  And he wouldn’t let me quit. He really wanted to finish.  He was struggling as much as I was and from mile 17 to the end, we could only walk.  We could not run any more.  James said he had finished other marathons feeling worse than this, so he really wanted to finish.

We walked it in from mile 17.  It was long and hard and arduous.  There were times in the woods on the trail that we heard gunfire from hunters, despite that there were “no hunting” signs posted everywhere.  Many of the times that we would hear a gunshot, James would joke, “Damn! He missed us!” Or “Damn, he misfired!”  Haha!

We finally finished the race barely under the wire! We came in at 5:56, just minutes before the 6 hour deadline.

That race hurt.  BAD.  Finishing that race was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

In the days following the race, when the normal post-marathon aches and pains subsided, I was left with a staggering sharp pain in my left knee when going up and downstairs.  The pain was severe.  I was sure that I tore something in my knee.  I figured it was a torn meniscus for sure.  I saw my doctor.  He manipulated my left leg in various directions asking if this or that hurt, and it didn’t.  He said, “Are you sure this doesn’t hurt? If you had a tear, THIS would hurt.”  After further examining my left knee, he concluded that he believed it was only inflammation behind the knee that was causing some patellar grinding.  He prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and after a few weeks, my knee felt great!  Just in time to taper for Goofy!  As a result I had about a 6 week taper going into the Goofy Challenge, leaving me woefully undertrained for that race.


1 Comment»

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eva Tompkins, Esq. and Eva Tompkins, Esq., Eva Tompkins, Esq.. Eva Tompkins, Esq. said: Northern Central Trail Marathon, November 27, 2010: […]

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