Here’s part II of my Run For The Toad race review, which has been split into two parts like the last movie in any Dystopian YA franchise. (Just call me Katniss Everrun.)
You can get caught up on part I here. Let’s get bizzay.
• Second loop was much more empty. Less people on the course. It made it harder not to focus on the tension in my calves from the hills, or focus on the pain in the balls of me feet whenever I jogged down a hill… And there were lots of hills.
• On the other hand, running in the woods alone was much more relaxing.
• I stopped at an aid station and snagged some gummy bears. I was too overwhelmed by choices to know what to eat. Couldn’t even tell you what else was there besides potato chips and pretzels.
• Somewhere during this time I started cursing my love of running. Sometimes out loud into the air. I was going to have to take a break from running. I was insane. Why did I LIKE this?
• I stoped to re-tie my shoes tightly—like tenser bandages to alleviate some of the discomfort in my feet.
Strength In Numbers
• They might be fast as h*ck but ultra runners are SO nice. Every single one who passed me had words of encouragement. “It’s tough, you’re doing a great job!” “Nice work!”
• Closing in on the last 6.25km, an ultra runner scared me when he said “great job!” coming up from behind me. I hadn’t heard him, he was SO quiet. I startled and yelled—he apologized…while running. and high-fived me, still while running. Then he took off into the trees, like a speedy forest spirit in compression socks.
• Somewhere in the last 5k I converged on the trail with Michelle, a woman in her late 50s or early 60s. We started to run and walk together, talking about the race, our running history, anything and everything to keep us moving forward.
• Turns out people are the secret ingredient. Maybe everyone else knew this but I’ve avoided running with other people for years until now and it was… awesome. Encouraging. Distracting. I wasn’t feeling any pain or how tired my legs were.
• Even the agony of Skeleton Hill was less painful with someone else there.
• We hit the 12K sign. Only 500m to go.
• Finally. FINALLY, we rounded the bend to see the finish line waiting. Spotted my boyfriend waiting.
• Then the finish line worked its magic. I stopped hurting. I stopped thinking.
• I think I yelled “OH SHIT” and powered across the finish line as much as I could manage with the rest of the energy I had.
POST-RACE & 25KM PIE
• I thanked Michelle for helping me through the end of the race and we high-fived.
• We collected medals and bottles of water, I couldn’t even pay attention to the Halloween candy or other offerings at the finish. My heart was pounding, my head was spinning. I was soaring. I had been nervous about the run, I hadn’t trained as intensely as I usually do… and I had still finished.
• Boyfriend came over. I either threw myself or collapsed into his arms and started to cry, a half dozen emotions bursting at that moment.
• Proud. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Drained. Invigorated. I was thriving with the intense life that only seems to overcome me on the heels of a race finish.
• While we were snapping finish line pics, someone yelled my name. The Mayors, Rachel and Nick, were on the far side of the finish line. They both gave me HUGE hugs. Pain once again disappeared.
• We talked about the race and I headed back to my car to change.
• Not before I laid on the grass and marvelled at all the things I was feeling in my body and also my feels.
• Went to get food (Shoutouts to Stone Crock in St. Jacob’s) and sat down in the sun at the picnic tables outside. I have never had a better bite of apple pie. Maybe it was the 25K or maybe it was just really good pie.
• I’m going to at least give some of it to the 25K.