Sometimes a Race Ends up Not Being a Race

Saturday I had big plans!!  I was running the Grasslands Trail 50 and I was ready to finally complete 50 miles!!!

at the hotel ready to go
at the hotel ready to go

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 –

starting line
starting line

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

Grasslands 50in the good spots.  There were plenty of areas that were even worse than 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.

when I finally saw Mandi
when I finally saw Mandi

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!!!

after the "race"
after the “race”

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!!!

Happy Monday!