Dec. 27th, 2012

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This has been a long time coming, but I will report here and now that in November 2012 I ran the Stone Cat Trail Marathon with great success! (IE: I FINISHED!) Time: 5 hours 12 minutes something-seconds. I had wanted to break 5 hours, but honestly, considering the circumstances? I am SO pleased with the time.

What an awesome, fun event. The whole endeavor started before daylight; we parked at the soccer fields and walked to the school where the start was:



Before the race, in the gymnasium:







I can quite honestly say I was grinning and excited the whole time before the start. ALMOST GIDDY, EVEN!

My first seven or eight miles were smooth, but my left foot started to flare up in pain after that. Then the right. My toes went numb and I tripped/stumbled (but did not fall!) five or six times. What was going wrong? The pain was intense. I reached the two rest stops but persisted and went on after grabbing a quick drink of water and something to eat. Every step? AGONY.

It was my running shoes: I had replaced the insoles with after-market insoles and OH MY GOD what a rookie mistake. One cardinal -- CARDINAL -- rule of distance running is you do not change anything the day of the race. NO, running with fresh insoles is NOT going to make your feet more comfortable. It is going to KILL them. Unfortunately, I did not bring along my other pair of shoes as I had wanted to do. I simply forgot them when I left the house at 5 that morning.

At the halfway point, I took off my shoes, straightened out my socks, and massaged my toes and feet for a while. Then I laced back up and headed out again. My mom, who'd been waiting for me there, wanted me to stop, but how could I not finish the race after planning for it for so long? Besides, my feet felt marginally better after I took care of them.

For about 2 more miles. Then the pain started in just as badly as before.

I decided to walk the most intense hill on the course after that, and that helped a little with the tingling and numbness, but once I started running again all bets were off. Pain pain pain pain.

HOWEVER -- that pain was mitigated by the sheer happiness of doing the race. My heart felt lighter than helium all throughout. I ran with a couple of guys for most of the second half, leaving them behind around mile 21 because at that point I just wanted to finish. My last 5 miles felt the best out of the whole race. I was on a kind of natural high at that point that felt wonderful, even though my feet were in absolute agony.

Once I finished I immediately took off my shoes to change into my Uggs and felt better. I will never wear those shoes again. They were Brooks Cascadias -- the same kind as my old shoes -- but they never quite broke in right (which was why I tried the insoles) and were never comfortable.

Then the party started: we ate Ramen noodles, chicken soup, grilled cheese, bacon, and PB&Js and cheered the other runners coming in. One, our friend Justin, finished the 50 miler and we gave him a sword to run in with. Here are some video blogs of the experience after the race, along with some fascinating people out on the course:







After the race with my family:



I met a WHOLE BUNCH OF CANADIANS. I love Canadians, man.



One was Shawn McArdle, who is director of the Brookvale Ultramarathon on Prince Edward Island. My plan right now is to run that race in 2013. Haha his friend was so aghast and confused that I wanted to take Shawn's picture. "What...is he famous or something?!"

Marty: "NO, she just wants to run his race!"

With Marty, the race director:



With Leah, my stalwart running buddy. It was so good to see her as I came in to the finish line:



With my parents. I love them! They are the best!:



With Dan:



All in all, this was a fantastic marathon and a good run in the woods. If fate is kind I will do it again one day!

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