When I got to the race, I was immediately disappointed when I realized that I accidentally grabbed my road racing show (Saucony Kinvara) instead of my trail racing shoe (Brooks Pure Grit). They are both blue and equally wonderful shoes, but the Brooks have tread so that you slide less. And fall less.
I was 90-minutes from home so there was nothing I could do except dwell on it.
But, as soon as we started running, I forgot about my shoes. I love trail running and I love racing so I was instantly in bliss. I was also the leading lady. This start, however, was not slow like last week. I was mildly concerned that I started off too fast. But I think its best to start off too fast and get a good position rather than start off slow and be stuck behind people. The trails were technical, rocky and narrow...in other words, best suited for single-file. I was surprised when a girl effortless pranced past me, probably close to Mile 1.
I let her pass and then focused on keeping the distance between us short and steady. Around Mile 2, we encountered a headwind that accompanied a gradual uphill. Uphills are my strength and I found myself in ideal positioning - right behind her. This was perfect because 1) I could watch her footwork, 2) I could let her pace me, and 3) There is much less pressure being the person behind.
I wanted to be sneaky so I tried real hard not to breathe heavy but my nose was running. I did some snot-rockets and I am pretty sure she heard them. And probably grossed out.
At Mile 3, she let me pass. I said, "Good job," and waited for a few seconds in case she changed her mind. I really didn't want to pass her. I could see this was going to get awkward if I did not pass, so I did. And, I was not sure what to do. Should I run fast? Should I run the same pace?
I suspected that she had a plan - something amazing like 5-minute miles towards the end. My plan is always the same no matter the race - and that is just to run like a fool.
Mile 4 had a massive hill and Mile 5 had the downhill. Despite my lack of proper footwear, I let my legs just go. This is key when trail racing, you have to trust your feet and your instincts. Aside from a couple expected fumbles, my legs did me well. Miles 6-7 were my two fastest miles (7:00 each) of rolling hills. I was tired but slowing down was not an option because I was sure the other girl was running a 5-minute mile right behind me. Also, slowing down isn't always easier because you lose momentum. It just sounds easier.
I finished the race (7.06 miles) in exactly 51 minutes - and unlike last week, I only had a 1-minute cushion to my win. I also got better awards - a hand crafted trophy and $120 for new running shoes!
My kids have been missing ever since my return nearly three hours ago. I mean, I know they are with my mother, I just don't know their location or estimated time of return. There naptime was 10 minutes ago.
But I am not complaining because I had time to write this race report without having anyone bring me a booger or bang on my keyboard. Nor did I need to break up any wrestling matches, clean up spilled milk, or wipe any butts. Three year olds are a lot of work and I am admittedly going crazy.
But we these unexpected moments where they are both happy, and amazing, and I feel like everything is the way it's supposed to be.
The problem is that moments end.
But, at least sometimes I save them.