Monday, May 14, 2012

Yaba Daba Doo!

Last Saturday, Holly and I drove to Charlottesville to run the Bedrock Trail Marathon.  Yaba Daba Doo!

Although I expected to see Fred and Wilma, Barney and Betty, when we arrived at the start of this trail marathon, all I saw was a sea of Pebbles.

Apparently this race would consist almost entirely of college girls.  They chatted and giggled as we waited in the porto-potty line.  “I’m doing the half, are you?” they asked one another. "Yes, me too! He He!"  All were doing the half marathon.  For many, it would be their first.  They were bubbly. One asked me, politely, to confirm that I was doing the half?  “Oh no, not the half.  I plan to stay all day and do the full marathon.”

“WOW! You go! You are amazing!”   I tried to ignore the sub-text.  “Wow, a full marathon, and you don’t even look like a runner.  Like, you’re as old as my Mom!”  I resisted the urge to say “oh, this is really just a supported training run for us: We’re training for a 50 miler, three weeks from today.”  I just smiled and said, “Thanks, dear, this should be fun!”

There were some guys, too, including the co-race directors, who were also the co-owners of Bedrock Sandals.  Both were wearing their signature footwear, of course.  They had promised a prize to the fastest runner who wore the sandals, but I couldn’t figure out how I would get my orthotic inserts to stay put in those sandals. And then, of course, would I beat anyone else whose toes were uncovered?  Probably not.  One of the young sandal entrepreneurs sported a beard.

 “Look at that guy,” I said to Holly.  “He looks like Jesus.”

“I agree, he really does” she remarked.

"Well, he looks like Jesus, if Jesus were from Norway,” I clarified.

Nordic Jesus announced that it was time to start the race, and we were off.  The first mile was, of course, up an asphalt hill. Why do trail races so often start this way?  I guess this kind of start is a good way to thin out the crowd before the single-track starts.  By the time we got to the trailhead, I was sweating buckets because of the heat and humidity.  All the Pebbles and Bamm-Bamms were way ahead.  All that were left were my companion and me.  Let us abandon Holly and Amy as our handles.  Let's call us Greta Gravel and Ann-Margrock.

The trails were rocky and full or roots, much like the Buttermilk Trail near my house, but much hillier.  Still, nothing seems hilly after doing Promise Land!  Holly (oops, Greta) and I got into a rhythm.  We crossed a stream, ankle deep.  These stream crossings used to scare me, but now I look forward to dousing my feet in the brisk water.  Eventually we popped out of the forest to an aid station along a service road.  There was Nordic Jesus again, telling us how great we looked.

We popped quickly back into the trees and continued running.  As I went downhill, my toe caught a root and I pitched forward.  My left knee landed on some bedrock. Yaba Daba Doo!  Strangely, as I hurled through the air, the calves on both my legs cramped up.  I yelped and then I recalled what I do when I get a calf cramp at 2 am.  Sure enough, as soon as I stood and began walking, I was better.

As we came toward the finish line for the half marathon, knowing we’d need to do another loop, we saw Nordic Jesus again.  “You’re doing great, and you’re almost done!” he announced.  “I’m afraid not, my friend.  This is going to be a longer day than you had planned because we’re doing this loop again!”   I expected him to break down and cry, but it was as though "he didn't hear it, didn't see it."  Maybe I really was Ann-Margrock, and Nordic Jesus was Tommy.

We re-entered the forest, and I let Greta Gravel lead for a while, and suddenly she screamed “SNAKE!”  I looked down and next to my left foot was a giant Black Snake.  Once again, I was glad to be wearing enclosed shoes!  Just a few feet farther I saw something and it was my turn to shout.  “SQUIRREL!” I shouted.  Greta Gravel laughed, and said one of her favorite movies was “UP.”  I didn’t even realize I was quoting from that movie.  We kept seeing creatures--a yellow snake, a big centipede, spiders.  She told me “Be sure to check for ticks when you get home.”   uggh.   I think maybe I prefer trail running in the winter!

A bit farther along, as we mounted a hill, I tripped again; this time I scraped up my wrist and my leg landed on a protruding stick.  It jabbed my calf, though I was wearing calf sleeves, thank heavens.  OUCH!  Once she realized I would not need ambulatory care, Holly roared in laughter and said “if you are going to fall, fall UP hill.  It’s not as far of a fall when you fall UP!”

Finally, we reached the end of the second loop, exited the trails and ran down an asphalt hill.  A tune began to blossom in my head:

If I told you what it takes 
to reach the highest high, 
You'd laugh and say 'nothing's that simple' 
But you've been told many times before 
Messiahs pointed to the door 
And no one had the guts to leave the temple! 

I'm free-I'm free 
And freedom tastes of reality 
I'm free-I'm free 
And I'm waiting for you to follow me!

As we approached the finish, the crowd roared.  Well, it was really just a half a dozen hippies wearing Jesus sandals who cheered, but it felt great.  I WAS FREE!  And then we learned something truly remarkable.

Second Place Woman Marathoner:  Ann-Margrock (a/k/a Amy Williams)
Third Place Woman Marathoner:  Greta Gravel (a/k/a Holly McFeely)

PODIUM FINISH!  HA HA!  (Never mind that nobody was behind us.  Those who finished behind us were at home, sitting on their sofas, eating Rocky Road ice cream.)

Less than three weeks till the 50 miler!

1 comment:

  1. You two are really tough cookies! I am beyond impressed. Art