August 9, 2008

Stick a fork in this day. It’s done.

And I did everything I had planned…well, except the bow chicka bow wow time turned into a much-needed naptime for me.

As for my run? It was HARD. I had planned to do 10 like the voting public suggested, but once I arrived in Portola Valley I decided to do 12. That was before I knew how much would be UPHILL. Seriously. Look (click on it for a better view):
the hills are alive

See those inclines? They were inSANE. Like not runnable. I swear the first big hill was at a 45-degree angle. We didn’t stick to our usual walk/run ratio. Our walk times were aimed for uphill portions. Plus, my running mate was nursing a sore ankle so she wanted to take it somewhat easy today. That was fine with me because this run was grueling for the entire first half. Where the course was flat, it was usually rocky, so we had to step somewhat gingerly or we’d tweak an ankle or trip. In fact, at one point, I stubbed my toe on a large rock and flung forward, nearly doing a faceplant. But instead, I suddenly became agile and landed squarely on my other foot rather than my face.

We did have some excitement on this remote trail in the wilderness. A bobcat decided to grace us with his/her presence. Having never seen a bobcat, nor expecting a wild beast on our run, at first I thought it was a dog. I thought, “What is a dog doing out here alone in the middle of nowhere?” And just as I realized it was a wild cat, my running partner said “oh my god!” and I realized it was, in fact, the mascot animal for my elementary school. It seemed unthreatening enough and it wasn’t a huge cat, but I’m sure it did have some large-flesh gnawing fangs and skin-piercing claws. Luckily the bobcat was not interested in killing us, or even being around us, so as soon as he appeared, he left. If he’d have stuck around I would have known to make myself big to scare him off. Yeah, I can make myself big. I’m just over 5 feet tall. The only thing big about me is my backside, so I guess I could have thought to turn around and intimidated him with the massive size of that. But he might have bitten a large chunk off of my derriere instead. I could then be interviewed by Matt Lauer on The Today Show. I’d tell him all about how I was running with TNT to raise money to cure blood cancers and a bobcat ate my ass. And then I’d be a hero and also be able to fit into size zero pants because of my lack of ass. Coming face to face with my own mortality (OK, not really) threw me off for a little while. I kept thinking there we were out in the middle of nowhere, with no one really around us except creatures from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and maybe that bobcat went to tell the other, larger bobcats that breakfast had arrived. I wish I’d had my heart rate monitor on then, because I’m sure it would have spiked at that point. I also wished I had my camera because, hello! bobcat!

Anyway. We plodded along, walking the ups, and running as much of the flats and downhills as we could, while stopping to stretch quickly so furry beasts would not maul us to pieces. Eventually we reached the waterstop at the half-way point. YAY! The waterstop volunteers told us that it was all downhill from there, which we were ecstatic to hear. We joined 2 other runners at the stop and all headed back to the start, running downhill nearly all the way. At one point Simone (our team captain) said of the decline in elevation “This is kind of nice,” to which I replied, “Yeah, it is. Kind of like a day at the spa.” But apparently that was a bit of an exaggeration for my running buddies. At least we were safe from the wilderness, on a paved road, with the only predators being SUVs.

When we got close to our finish line, I felt pretty good. Like I had not just run 12 miles. That’s because I had not. Apparently the trail was marked wrong. One of our coaches marked it, using a GPS device, but when we got to the finish, my Garmin had logged only around 10 miles. (Sometimes in the middle of nowhere the GPS function freaks out and doesn’t know where I am. Elevations sometimes screw it up too.) The Coach thought his calculations were right, and if the Coach says it was 12, I’m taking the 12. With those hills, I think it counted as more like 14. Or 50. Damn, those hills were a bitch. My butt is screaming and has been since we finished. For real. When I sit, I hear this “OUCH!” from somewhere beneath me, in three different voices. And when I get up, there’s a slight whimper. All the layers of my gluteal muscle area (whatever it’s called) are crying out. “what did you DO to us today?” My butt muscles should stop complaining already because they are lucky to still be intact and not devoured by bobcats.

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