Pretty proud to be on Julie Toft and Debbie Webster's "A" list. Julie was signed up for Rockin' K, but got stuck on an out of town, airport terminal, crap infested work assignment the weekend of the race. She offered me up her cowtag ( I love that this race gives us cowtags to traipse through the literal, cowpaths!) for what it cost to switch ($45). Saweeet!!! Did I mention I'm unemployed?!! Then she didn't even let me pay her that. Mud U, Julie.
"Hey Sophia, it's Debbie.. see if Ben will lend you to me over the weekend for Rockin' K."
"Yikes. We have all this Brew to Brew stuff to do. " (blog on that to follow--yeah I am REALLY behind) I hated to have him suffer alone with the paved race packet pick-up. Not Ben's favorite. Still, I know how important Brew to Brew is. A fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis (horrid disease) but also one of the Kansas City Track Club's most important events. The group and Lou Joline believed in Ben's vision creating the Trail Nerds. They have been great and supportive team members for our group. I didn't want to let them down.
"Tell Ben I'll work all day Sunday at the aid station at Brew to Brew, if he lets you go."
It was an easy sell.
Oh my dear Ben. I love you. love you , love you so much for never resenting me when I get to go run with our friends on beautiful trails. Even when you have to be responsible and take care of the hand (KCTC) that feeds us. Oh I was excited... so excited!
I hadn't raced since November 27th.
"Sophia, where have you been? Why aren't you racing?" An email from Rick Mayo in February. I seriously ran into him before this race.
" Hey I'm back, I'm back!!" His beautiful wife Kristi was there with their equally beautiful daughter. Great to see them...... hmmm.. where were the other boys from Kearny? (find out more here at Gabe's Blog)
Carpool/Nerd-Mud Babe motorcade to the race.
Everyday's party in Sophie's World.
I met up with Debbie, we loaded up the truck with muddy shoes, snacks etc? Actually an impressive stash for a weekender. Two doesn't constitute much of a carpool. Read on.
I had 6 nerds to coordinate. Two cars right? Ended up with three. Two people per car right? Nope. 4 in one car and one each in two others. Jim wanted to multi-task and work on the way (admirable actually) and Greg had a different "bailout after the race schedule," since he was doing 50 miles.
So the motorcade looked like this:
In Car 1: Jim Megerson and phone
In Car 2: Debbie, me, James, phone and country tunes
In Car 3: Shane and Greg having a bro-mance
The pre-race dinner and meeting Stacy Sheridan was awesome! I'm not sure God could put more positive energy in one woman. Muddy hug! Oh I love that lady.
A fun positive to being so RIDICULOUSLY far behind on my blog is perspective. Here's one. Take a look at Laurie Euler's plate of meatballs. Paired with her race report peppered with self deprecating humor that she couldn't poo. That's a lot of blockage. Her dear boyfriend Nick (the garbage disposal--eats like Michael Phelps) had stopped in and partook at our firm invitation of our breakfast spread. Watermelon, displayed in the ice container (presentation is so important) and peanut butter bagels.
"Hey does Laurie want anything?"
"Not a fan of mornings."
She was already in the Nick's car. Next time take us up on the peanut butter Laurie! It works wonders. No promises... but maybe it would help with the Poo!
Shane and James pop into our room, on time-- thanks guys. We start shoving food in their faces. Coffee coffee! I'd hopped across the street and gotten some marginal brown brew from the convenience store.
"I'm not too good in the morning." Shane.
boom chicka boom chicka la la twang."I love this song! This is my favorite song right now!"CMT was on the television. Yup, while other runners were catching up on the latest weather forecast for the day, Debbie and I were tuned into the Country Music Channel. "I will run to you-oo -oo. I will run to you."We sang and danced in unison.
"Sorry, I don't think it's that great a song."Shuddup Shane. (teasing)
On the way to the race we discussed our post race strategy."Shane why don't you run with my key fob since you'll finish WAY ahead of all of us."
We all concurred this was the best plan.
boom chicka boom chicka la la twaaaang.
"What? wait? not this song again?"I turned around to Shane.
"We bought the CD at Target so we can hear it whenever we want. C'mon it says "run" in the chorus!""ugh."
Even James seemed a little irritated."I will run to you!" We sang at the top of our lungs.Played it twice.
Radio after that. Hard dude rock. This time everyone was singing.
Fear. For this race, I knew I had to follow all the rules. Respect the distance, respect your body, listen to the signs. I can't even say I was on the Megerson constant taper. (25-30 miles per week max, year round). I was quite simply out of shape. January and February had been total running busts. I hadn't raced since November. Would my body remember what to do?
"Ben, what should I expect for a time on this one? I am so undertrained."
5:30 to 6:30. Ben knew the course and has run it in several different fitness levels. I looked down at my "new," watch and wondered what it would read at the end of the race.
Anxiety. I shared it with Debbie.
"I can't make any mistakes. I am going to have to be militant about salt, food, water, wardrobe.. everything." I packed a drop bag for the first time ever. Mostly I wanted a labelled place to leave my Mizuno stretch crew in the middle of the race so I could start out warm and comfy at the beginning. I threw in my inhaler. (Performance enhancing drugs according to Mr. Megerson!)
"We are making a mistake right now."
Debbie and I were chatting away like school girls on a slumber party. But somehow it worked out. We were relaxed and at least slept well for the few hours we got.
Before the race, Stacy Sheridan came a lookin for me."Sophia..Sophia there you are!" great big hug. "ooops I forgot I had to sign in. I'm here."
Then I was running. Running in the breathtaking splendor of Kanopolis State park. I felt free at last. I came up upon Coleen and Deb Johnson after taking a break to water a bush. Btw, an interesting experience with 40 mph winds and little to block it.
I chimed in a hello and tried to make conversation, but there was also very little to block the angry hostility and seething silence of Coleen. I can't tell you how many tears I've shed for the loss of this friendship. It was a friendship based on discovery of ultra running, laughter, watermelon and oranges. I loved having her as a friend. I miss her. In the past few months, sometimes we'd end up on the same group run and chat and chat. Tap dancing over the rocks and the taboo subject. Not anymore. Hardly a hello. Glares. Daggers. Hurtful taunting. Accusations. Gossip. Denial. It is truly painful.
The tears would fill a small tub if they ever made it there. Instead their salty stream burns and stings the wounds, many of which are 9 months deep. I hate to even have this passive mention here, but each time I think we could be approaching repair, something happens. The knife turns, the wound is exposed, the tears sink deep within.
On this day, the salt is from sweat, not tears. Instead of crying, I will run. And if I'm to run in silence, I'd prefer it be pure. I charge ahead and run alone.
13.1 Coke, Mountain Dew. Ah, blessed aid station. Oranges. Shane???
"Shane what are you doing here."
"Look at that? I feel like quitting."
I'd caught up with Shane who was grumpy because Kyle and Tony were 5 and a half brutal miles ahead of him.
"c'mon run with me!"
I was so excited. Seeing Shane truly energized me, because it meant I was running pretty well. I should have grabbed the key though. I actually finished a few minutes ahead of him.
This is where the race got interesting. Serious climbs. Ran into Willie from Great Plains Running. Muddy hug. Trotted along. Took pictures. Made a little video interview with Willie. Got back to the aid station. Dropped of the shirt. Took my performance enhancing drugs, and carried on.
pa-thunk--- pa-thunk. Yup. That's the sound your running makes when you're being blown sideways. A first. And with a step up because of the deeply rutted horse trail. But it didn't bother me. Many have described the wind at soul sucking. Instead it was like Narnia, with Aslan breathing trail running life back into this emotionaly weary Mud Babe.
I took it all in. Deeply. Honestly. Forever. I was back in my beautiful world. Completely.
Around 21 I caught up with a fellow named John from Minnesota. We couldn't talk much because the wind was so loud. I didn't get a chance to talk to him after either so I want to thank him here. I was tired of running alone. Thanks for waiting for me at the top of a hill at mile 22. I was ready just to drop back. It was nice to know someone wanted to run with me. Even just for a few miles.
Coleen, Debbie and Deb J. finished.