My first time…to run 20 miles. Crazy, right? Who in their right mind does this?? We actually questioned our own sanity on the ride back from Alvarado Station to Johnson City on Saturday. BUT if you want to run a marathon, you have to do it or suffer the consequences of hating every single second of your 26.2 miles because you haven’t had the time on your feet. If you want to sign up for a crazy event, you must train like a crazy person. That being said it actually wasn’t that bad.
Yes, I know that sounds even crazier, but if there’s anything I’m good at (in running) it’s that I will keep going. I split up my mileage in my head as I’m going. I didn’t start it saying to myself, “I have 20 miles to go.” I said instead, “I have 3 miles up.” Then, 3 miles back. Followed by 7 miles out and 7 miles back. Of course, I had mile markers in my head all the way. I would think if I can just make it to the next mile, I will only have (insert miles here) to go. I can be alone with my thoughts because that is basically what goes on in that time. I was alone with my thoughts for over 3.5 hours. Good thing I like talking to myself. Ha!
I did have a couple of obstacles to overcome. One was being hungry. Obviously, I did not bring enough food. I know better from now on.
Another was… the COWS! Omg, anyone who knows me, knows that I am not an animal person. Not that I hate them…just don’t really know how to relate to them. I’m scared of them, ok?! I realized while running that we had to open and close gates but I didn’t think too much of it. I don’t know why. I’m a smart girl I should’ve figured it out. I guess I just thought someone would’ve told me that there could be cattle on the trail. Another clue besides the gates should have been the huge cow patties I ran around. Again, smart girl…where was my thinking? I remember thinking that someone had to have a reallllly big dog or a horse. But then again, I knew better. I’m from the country I know this was not left by a horse, and especially not a dog. Maybe this was just my mind playing tricks on me because I didn’t want to quit when I got scared. Well, apparently I was running almost the entire trail through pastures. Upon reading when I got home, I found that much of the Creeper Trail is private land but we can use it as long as we stay on the trail (and don’t scare the livestock. Ha!) All of this is not a big deal in itself. So back to the running. I was at 18.5…so close that I could taste the finish of it. Then what to my eyes do appear but about 10 grazing cattle blocking my way …and the gate. I did not know what to do. I was all alone. Half of the crew was in front of me, the other half was behind. I looked behind me, hoping upon hopes that one of those fast people were approaching and would rescue me from these cows staring at me. Literally, staring at me. No one was there. What to do? They seemed harmless and I know they are supposed to be more scared of us, but these guys sure didn’t act like it. They were staring me down. One particular black one looked really mean…like he might stomp me down at any moment. I made myself just go. I had to. I felt like if I stood there any longer they would come at me. So, I took a deep breath walked very slowly between the cows all while saying, “I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m not gonna hurt you.” until I passed the one closest to the gate. Then I sprinted. I knew that if I could make it there I could climb over the gate if I couldn’t get it open.
All that for nothing. They did not move one step. Even after I had closed the gate back, but they were still staring at me. (As a side note, Brinson said he experienced the same thing when he came through a little behind me. I’m telling you the black one wasn’t very nice. He saw it, too.) Whew! Glad that was over. I guess 20 miles can make you a little delirious too. When I made it back I was so glad to see that little restaurant and Jamie cheering me on. 20 miles complete and it didn’t even hurt as badly as the stupid Bluegrass half marathon. The next day I was fine, surprisingly. I had expected lots of soreness but only experienced a little.
I’m glad that this went so well (other than the cattle incident). It makes me not dread the next one, next week. This will be the last one until the marathon in less than 4 weeks. Overall, I’m really glad I decided to do this after all the toying I did with the idea not to. Great friends and a strong mind can make anything doable, maybe even enjoyable 🙂