I'm back from the Capt. Karl's Reveille Ranch 60k, and I'm still on cloud 9. It was an excellent racing experience. Everything about it was superb!!! I've made a list of what I experienced this past Saturday night and want to share it with you guys (in no particular order):
1. Rocks Are Beautiful...Painful, But Beautiful: The scenery this weekend was incredible. It was as if I'd stepped into another world. Keep in mind, where I live - the RGV. I couldn't stop taking pictures during the 1st of 3 loops. It's funny that something so awesome looking can hurt you if you're not careful or make you so sore that you cry out in pain sometimes. I love it.
2. Donnie Darko Musta Been Out There: Why else would I be thinking of that rabbit? I saw 4 rabbits during the race. I don't know if they were blinded by my headlamp & flashlight, but it took them several seconds to react and and scramble. When I'm running for hours, many thoughts go through my head - during the race, every time I'd see a rabbit, Donnie Darko would come to mind, and it kinda creeped me out a bit. The crazy things I think about when I have too much time on my mind.
3. The Volunteers Are Incredible: I realized during the race that I was looking forward to the aid stations...well, I'll admit - 1 in particular: I'd heard that Liza Howard was going to be at 1 of them, and I was looking forward to saying hi to her (in case you can't tell, she's my idol). Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, the volunteers made me look forward to each aid station. It was like a little physical AND mental boost. Whether it was a wisecrack, encouraging words, filling my handheld water bottle or opening it (my hands were so sweaty during most of the race, that I couldn't open mine - but they did!). They're there for each and every runner. Thank you all.
4. The "Woo Hoo" Heard Through The Darkness: I kept hearing Nancy Marks' patented "woo hoo" AND the jingling of the bells on her shoes. During the 3rd loop, at 1 point, I was wondering if I was going in the right direction until I heard a "woo hoo" up ahead in the darkness. Yes, I was. That lady is always in a good mood - regardless of the race she's having. I envy that. I hope I continue hearing her for many races to come.
5. McDonald's Salt Packets Saved The Night: 2 friends of mine recommended I carry salt packets from Whataburger/McDonalds and place them in my mouth and let it dissolve since I've gotten ill the last several 60ks (nothing had seemed to work), and I was willing to try anything to keep from getting sick. Several miles before the park, we went up to the McDonald's drive thru window and just asked for salt packets (hoping I wouldn't have to explain why). Luckily, we received a handful of salt & pepper packets - as long as I don't get them confused, I told myself. I started taking them at 2 points when I could feel the twinge of nausea coming on. It worked. Thanks, Mari & Gabby.
6. I've Got To Pace Myself By Any Means Necessary: I always start any race way too fast. Always. Never fails. I decided that I wasn't going to let this happen this time around, and I had the perfect solution: I decided to take pictures during the 1st loop. Plenty of them. Turns out I am disciplined, afterall. I did it. This may have contributed to having the best run this summer.
7. Without My Garmin, I Am Lost: My Garmin's battery died out at mile 30. The warning beep kept reminding me for a couple of hours of the inevitable. I did the math in my head, and I assured myself I was in good shape and would survive without it. According to my calculations, I had plenty of time to finish even if I'd be running without my trusty gadget. When it finally went blank, I panicked a little. I asked the last 3 aid stations: What time is it? How many more miles? Am I in danger of missing the cut off? They all assured me I was good, and they were right. I've got to start cutting the garmin umbilical cord - pronto!!!
8. Slow Is The New Fast: This is my new mantra. Sometimes, at the expense of a good/fun run, I try to run fast(er than I should). I had my slowest, yet, best race Saturday night. Yes, for me, slow is the new fast. I can live with that.
Although, my trail running road of self discovery continues, I've learned some valuable lessons already. My mind is open and ready to learn some more...