Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ultras and x-country, so similar and different!

Last weekend at this time I was visiting my family after the 100 mile PR and getting a foot rub from mom as well as the questions of what on earth am I thinking running 100 miles at a time.  Today I am lounging in Starbucks with the feet up on a plush velvet chair feeling totally rested and recovered after my cross country race yesterday morning and relaxed Sunday morning run today.  The contrast between a 100 mile race and a 4 mile race are distinct and in sharp contrast when you compare them on back to back weekends.  So let me begin with my x-country adventure story. 
So the idea started through some emails with the running girls.  I hear about this x-country thing that is going on that our running club Team Red Lizards puts on and will be there.  My wonderful friend Karen asks us all if we want to go out and support it, because she is currently taking a little break from running after an amazing running streak, so we get to talking.  I realize I am not signed up for a race this weekend so what the heck why not jump in and support the team by running in the event.  Well this seemed like a great idea over email.  Sunday morning after a night of dancing out with the girls dressed up like Madonna, the idea was not seeming so hot.  But nonetheless I crawled out of bed with only 4 hours of sleep and headed over to Karen’s house.  Over morning coffee Karen and I were talking and she revealed to me that the message board had been on fire with discussion of what racing spikes to wear for this run.  LOL UMM what?  At this point I realized that this was not my familiar fun happy ultra scene and I was in for a treat. 
We arrived to the race to people warming up all over.  This struck me as hilarious as I realized I have not “warmed up” for a race since high school.  I mean that’s what the first couple miles are for in an ultra right?  So this was all very foreign to me, but I nonetheless headed over to the registration table and signed up officially and received my bib.  Karen and I were just laughing the entire time as I was like OMG what did I get myself into.  Everyone around was looking uber competitive in their split shorts and racing spikes, while I was whishing I had my hand bottle and about 20 more miles to add to this race.  I did see some familiar faces before the race which made it feel more fun and since it was Halloween weekend the costumes helped break up some of the tension.  I declared that I would be a x-country running for Halloween!  After my quick “warm up” it was off to the starting line. 
As the starting gun went off people just flew off the line.  Naturally the first thought to cross my mind was “dear god where is everyone in such a hurry to get to?!?!?”  So I followed along just smiling wondering what I got myself into.  We hit the first hill on grass and my initial thought was, “no ultra running would run up this,” let alone sprint like we were trying to do.  But I followed along and listened to the panting going on around me and thought “wow I hope these people don’t barf on me.”  We hit the first downhill and I was like finally I can open up, as I love rocking the down hills fast.  But as soon as I felt the slippery grass with all the ruts below my feet and realized this was not a carefree downhill and I had to be careful so that I didn’t break something else.  Now I realized what these racing spikes are needed for!!  The warning from my orthopedic doc also flashed in my head “keeping running just stop falling!” so I really tried to stay upright through all the mud and slippery grass for the sake of my shoulder, well and the fact that I was already slow enough, didn’t need a face plant to add to my time out thereJ

It was great to see and hear Karen as I came around the first curve heading into the wooded area of the run.  I was back of the pack, but was getting the loudest cheers out there with lots of cowbell and it just made me smile and laugh and be happy to be able to be out there having this fun, no matter how “slow” I felt and how much the muscles and chest were burning.  Since we did a 2 mile double loop there were lots of opportunities to see Karen and she took some awesome pictures.  On one of my loops I called out to her “wow this hurts!”  It’s not a 100 miler hurt, but a totally different kind of hurt that felt really good to contrast, especially knowing that it would be over in 30 min vs. 22 hours! 
I came through the line just smiling and thinking wow what a blast that was.  Running on grass for 4 miles trying to go “fast” was a great way to kick off my Halloween weekend.  It was a good contrast to my usual ultra running, and really just a bunch of fun out there.  The awards were great with best costume awards going out along with the super fast times.  Although it was a lot different feel than an ultra at the end of the day we are all runners out there and that great running community came through here in the NW.  People were much more relaxed and chill post race, and we had some great laughs.  It was over pretty darn fast and it was a whole new thing to me to head out to a race and finish and still have most of your morning and day still open.  Although I did have the urge to jump out there for 20 or so more miles, I was happy with pushing myself in those 4 and doing something new and different.  Major thanks to Karen for getting me out there to try something new!  I love running all distances and events because in the end we are all runners out there doing our thing having a blast, loving life! 


  1. Too funny; I did a cross country 10k for the first time in a long while a couple weeks back and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was very weird with hundreds of people lined up across a HUGE field. Now, having said that, I did feel a bit like "wha, huh, dats it?!?" Usually I'm just wakin' up after 6 miles! :)

  2. Thanks for capturing our morning together in a blog post! This is AWESOME! And LOVE that you had so much fun out there! And yes, I think people thought I was silly because I was cheering and cowbelling so loud for you! Only for you, my dear! :)