Saturday I had big plans!! I was running the Grasslands Trail 50 and I was ready to finally complete 50 miles!!!
I trained well for this race and felt both physically and mentally ready to finally complete a 50!
Since the race started at 6:00 am it was still dark –
It was really dark and since we were in the middle of nowhere (the grasslands) there weren’t any true lights – just our headlights (knuckle lights for me).
About 10 seconds before we started the director said we should have our ankle bracelets (timing chips) – oops!!! So I started a little late since I had to run over and get mine but I wasn’t worried since we had 50 miles.
The first hour or so was horrible – it was so dark and no one could see anything. Hard to follow a trail when you can’t even see. And the water and mud was unavoidable.
This particular area of Texas had a bit of snow a few weeks ago and since the snow melted they have had lots of rain. It rained all of last week.
The trail looked like this
I hit 13.1 in around 3 hours – my all-time slowest half marathon and by far the hardest half of my entire life. I tried not to let myself think that I still had 37 miles – I just focused on finishing one mile at a time.
Around mile 16 it got to the point that I was doing more walking than running because of the conditions and the number of times that I had slid and stumbled thanks to the huge amount of mud on my shoes.
My feet stayed wet and muddy, the temperature never got above 50 and I was cold. Not once did I warm up. My breathing was hard even though I was walking more than running and when I could run it was slower than my cool down miles usually are.
Basically there was nothing about this race that I enjoyed!! I was miserable and didn’t even feel like it was a race – just something to be endured. I was afraid that I was going to end up seriously hurting myself – thankfully I only took one major fall!
Finally I got back to the main area (around mile 19) before starting the next loop (there were 4 different loops plus an out & back) and I told my sister that I was done.
You can tell that there wasn’t a single happy thought running through my head.
I think more than anything I was upset because I trained to run 50 miles and I was ready to run 50 miles!! What I wasn’t ready to do was slog through ankle deep mud (sometimes even deeper) for 50 miles at a pace slower than my slowest cool down pace.
I sat down for a minute and then decided that being miserable for hours and hours wasn’t something I wanted to do so I QUIT!!!
My shoes probably weighed 8 pounds each – not kidding!!! I threw them away!
This wasn’t a race for me – it was just something that I hated!!! Even if I had sucked it up and finished I wouldn’t have felt like I ran 50 miles because it wasn’t running like I want to run!
Once again I learned something about myself – I HATE trail running!!!
Would you have stuck it out in the mud?
Does mud and having wet feet bother you? I hate it – I don’t even like it when my shoes get just a little dirty!!!
One day I will run 50 miles but it wan’t Saturday. It will not be in a trail race!!!