Saturday, August 16, 2008

BPR Summer Trail Series Race #3

My name for this trail - Descent into Chaos. More on that shortly.

Okay, it just wasn't my day on the trail today. We all have them. I kept smiling for the pictures. It was a pretty gnarly trail, though.

After a horrendous week at work, which had wiped me out, I got up at 3:30am this morning and headed up to Mt. Lemmon for the 3rd race in the Blue Pants Summer Trail Series. It was on the Butterfly trail in the Catalina Mountains. I thought it would take me longer to drive up there than it did, so I arrived around 5:10am after driving less than an hour with almost a full moon in sight the whole way. I saw 1 deer, a baby coyote and a skunk on the way up, too. Very cool. The weather was nice and crisp and I had plenty of time to kill before the race started at 6am. This was good because I was dealing with some motion sickness from my ride up the mountain, so it gave my system a little time to calm down. I usually get motion sick in the mountains when I'm a passenger, but never as the driver. I think my body is just run down.

We were e-mailed by Lazslo yesterday and informed that it would be a good idea to wear pants because of the overgrowth, which I was bummed about, (no skirt?) but for which later I would be very glad.
About 20 of us started out the race going uphill in a nice forested area. The trail was nice, although a little rocky, for about a mile or so.
Then, until the end (we did an out and back) it was pretty overgrown. All of the rain we get in the summer does wonders for mountain vegetation. Much of it was completely covering the trail and up to 8 feet high in spots. I'm quite sure there was a bear in there somewhere! Needless to say, I only ran about a couple of miles of the course and hiked the rest because of that, in addition to the fact that I was wearing a new pair of trail shoes that weren't working for me. I had tried this new pair of Inov8 trail running shoes (I have another pair that are fine, but this was a different version) a few times this week and decided the only way to really tell was to take them out for a real test. Well, I stubbed my toes about 100 times (I'm not sure why - they were Gore-tex, so maybe I wasn't used to the added weight?) and my toes kept jamming into the end of the shoes. I was worried that I might end up with a black toenail, but luckily that didn't happen. The shoes also didn't handle the slick, rocky areas too well. So, I lost confidence in my shoes quickly and didn't feel comfortable gunning it in spots that I might have otherwise. I wanted to like them; they look rugged and are a beautiful blue. They are going back to - they have an unconditional return policy.
I did get to the end (only halfway there, because now I have to go back through that insanity) and got to see the remnants of an small airplane crash from 1957. To be honest, the trail got so bad at some point, that I almost turned around; I was being stubborn, though, because I wanted to see the crashed plane. Whatever it takes. All I could think about on the way there is that this trail should be called "Descent into Chaos" instead of the Butterfly trail. I saw no butterflies. Lots of bees out there, too, because of the wildflowers.
On the way back, I really started having a rough time. I was stumbling a lot and just couldn't do much running. I think I was emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically spent on many levels, and just didn't have anything to give the trail. So, I hiked mostly and ran when I could. I tweaked my ankle once, slipped on a large log and whacked my knee, had a small fall going over a log and banged my ankle and shin, and stepped into thin air with one foot off the trail about 6-8 times and quickly caught myself each time. That was scary. The stretch of the trail where I kept losing my footing was on the side of a hill (see picture below) and the trail was pretty narrow in spots. Wouldn't want to roll down that hill!I was running alone almost the whole time (everyone else except one person was way in front of me) and just felt very isolated and lonely. I was worried that I was lost on several occasions, but found relief when I saw BPR's yellow ribbons from time to time. The course was well marked, but the vegetation was just crazy.
On a positive note, the views were magnificent. Lots of wildflowers. I guess I just wasn't in a spot where I could really be present and fully enjoy the moment. We all have our days, and today wasn't mine.

More good news, though! I finally finished! People were still there at the finish line! I'm not even going to mention how long it took me. Let's just say it took FOREVER. I guess it was supposed to be a 6 - 7 mile trail; sure felt longer than that today.

Since I had participated in all 3 races in the Summer Trail Series, I was eligible for awards. I got top female overall! Now, my times aren't that great compared to some other gals; however, I was the only female that did all 3 races. Hey, I'll take it! It was a totally adorable potted cactus, just like they gave out in the Winter Trails Series. Wonderful and original. My friend Steve got an age-group award. Here we all are posing with our awards:
I wish I had worn a long sleeve shirt, too. All of the contact with the vegetation broke my arms out terribly. I had long, streaky welts up and down my arms, in addition to many hive-like bumps. I almost suspected poison ivy, but I'm happy to report that a Benadryl and some hydrocortisone cream stopped the itching and calmed the whole thing down. I still have some remaining welts over 12 hours later, but they are much better. Thank God I was wearing pants.

If you missed the BPR Summer Trail Series, you'll have to show up for the Winter Trail Series in January. You won't find a more personable bunch of runners. Lazslo and Lauren do a great job on all of these races and they make everyone feel welcome. Lazslo is very funny; just listening to his descriptions of the trail is worth signing up. He always prints up a rough sketch of the trail for each of us to take with us.

On the way down the mountain, I became motion sick again, which was a bummer. It passed about the time I got home. Later on, I got a facial and a massage, which was perfect, because I felt so spent after that race and it was nice to be pampered. I normally get a massage about every 4-5 weeks, but the facials were a package I purchased because I wanted to do something nice for myself.

Next race is the Saguaro 8 mile race on Labor Day. I'll be headed to Colorado to visit my husband Kenny and our dog Dixie (Cracker Dog is going on a road trip!) first and then I'll come back in time to rest a day before the race.

Well, probably not my most upbeat posting about a race, but the truth is, even though I had a bad day out there on the trail, I was blessed to be in the mountains, see my friends, meet some new friends and try something new. So, I am going to bed with a thankful heart.

1 comment:

HappyTrails said...

Bummer on the shoes - at least they can go back! Hey, even though you felt poorly, you perservered! Have you tried sipping a Coke when driving/riding in the mts? Something with the cola soothes the tummy. I am the same way. The regular nasty Coca Cola (w/high fructose corn syrup - bad!) works the best (I don't do diet stuff). But if you can find the mexican Coca Cola, which is the original, it uses regular old sugar. Not as good for the tummy but still works. You might want to take a few with you on your CO road trip! :-)