I could also have titled this post “Foreshadowing”.
I was so excited for this race. We’d put in a few really “fun” training runs in terrible weather, the kids were going to be with me and I wasn’t the least bit nervous. I love a good challenge, and the Hallow’s Eve Run certainly seemed that it would live up to expectations. I didn’t really look at the course map – since I’m unfamiliar with the trails in North Van, it would have been pointless, anyway. I knew it went up and down. I knew it was going to be wet. Did the rest really matter?
Early wake up, coffee, kiss the kids goodbye and off we went. It was grey but not raining and the runners were in costumes – except for me. I’m lame like that. We were happily cruising throughout the lower part of the trails and I was trailing Heather, watching her feet and chatting away – as we do. In my world, trail time doubles as girl time and cheap therapy. She popped off a little drop and as I followed her, my left foot rolled over and heard (and felt) that sickening ‘pop’.
You have got to be kidding me.
I was less than 4km into a 42km adventure. I never roll my left ankle, always my right. Gah. I told myself to shake it off, the nausea will pass and I’ll just be careful. *More foreshadowing*
I caught back up to Heather and I did a decent job of being careful for the next little while. We chatted, laughed and sweated for a good chunk of time together. Her family met us at the top of a climb and it was so fun to get a hug and a high-five mid-race, right before a killer climb.
As I was essentially crawling up this trail (can anyone actually run this? Serious question here – it was like going up a vertical river bed), I was on my own and so I put my music on because I didn’t feel like suffering in silence anymore.
Fair warning: I have notoriously terrible taste in music when it comes to getting me going on the run.
The first song that started to play was “Try”, by Pink. Well, I thought. This is a propos, because I AM TRYING, dammit. Trying to get up this hill!
“Just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die”. Huh. Pretty sure she was referring to my burning legs, at that point.
As I finally got to the top of the hill, we crested into in a driving wind and rainstorm. The kind of storm you have to turn your back to in order to put a jacket on and not fly away. The kind of rain that pelts your eyeballs.
The next song that played was “Between the raindrops”. Well. I’d like to be between them, but that ain’t happening.
As we ran along the roads back down Grouse Mountain, Heather caught me and I briefly voiced my concern about my ankle. It was pretty sore and I was toying with the idea of dropping out. The problem was that a) I didn’t really know where I was; b) I didn’t have a phone to call someone to come and get me c) I don’t know anyone’s number by heart anymore — technology!
This is where “Warm day, cold warm” came on. I was NOT warm. I really wanted to be and had a short daydream about going back to Maui.
At this point, I remembered that the kids were with Lizzie and I didn’t want to let them down by not finishing the run. So off I went, back into the trails in pursuit of Heather.
Kilometer 18 or so… I went down again and this time I knew it was waaaay worse that the first time. I sat in the mud, had a little pity cry until a runner dressed as William Wallace – kilt and all – came by and hauled me off the ground. He made sure I was ok, and I sent him on his way with my thanks.
So what does one do in the forest with one good leg and no clue where she is?
She keeps going.
And plays Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” on repeat. And ponders the world. And talks to herself.
Jenny caught me and we had a good bitch fest and speculated on how much longer we had to go. I told her to get going, and that I’d see her at the finish, no matter how long it took.
A couple of kilometers later, Lizzie – AKA “Voice of reason” – met me at the aid station with the kids. After a good dose of “dummy, just stop. The truck is over there”, I pulled the pin and limped to the truck.
And despite having an ankle that looks like something out of “Misery”, I’ll live to run another day.
With better tape on my glass ankles.