This is how my my year will end: not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a somersault.
I want to like trail races. I really do. Don’t get me wrong, I totally see the appeal. I love the whole being in nature schtick, as well as the adventure of figuring out the zig-zaggyness of a zig-zaggy singletrack. Unfortunately, I’m a klutz and I don’t like kicking things. One or the other I’d be fine.
I start off really enjoying myself. I can run a technical trail pretty fast, feeling all spritely like some kind of androgynous elf, forgetting, briefly, that I’m in reality I’m more of a manly dwarf with a braided beard and a huge axe. OK, I lie. I’m more of an androgynous dwarf who plays the guitar. Odin Stardust, if you will. Or maybe Ziggy Oakenshield. And when I say “plays the guitar,” I don’t mean plays well. In fact, guitar-playing and trail-running are both things I imagine myself doing well at, but reality begs to differ like a leper messiah. I don’t know what I mean, I just have that song stuck in my head.
Run at the Rock was no different. I started off pretty well, keeping up with ac. That achievement should be modified for the fact that he was racing twice the distance I was, but I don’t care. After the first mile he sped off, but I was still plugging away at a good pace, feeling proud of myself. “Hey, I’m pretty good at this!” I start to think. That’s when I somersaulted and bruised my arm. “Hey, no I’m not!”
The course was not only replete with the usual sundry of obstacles, I struggled mightily with my own anxiety and trepidation. Maybe I need to spend less time in the thesaurus and more time on the trails. My brain couldn’t move fast enough to take in everything the ground was throwing at me, but that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was all the invisible stuff on what my eyes told me was a clear path. I swear the forest floor has hands that only grab my ankles, no one else’s. I’m special, I guess. Anyway, many kicks and trips and ankle twists later, I finished in 10th place thankful to be in one piece.
The shoe of choice for this in-this-instance non-barefooting barefoot blogger were the Merrell Trail Gloves. Seemed appropriate, what with the trail and all.
So that’s that. All of my running from here on out is completely Umstead focused. I’m on week seven of the Higdon training plan and feeling pretty good. “Pretty good” as in I think I might be able to pull off a sub-3:10. That would be cool. Gawdaful painful and miserable, but cool.
But not as cool as…