A Muddy Climb out of the Pit

I have been lacking in my posts the past week.  Frankly, I just gave up.  I felt lousy, plagued with nausea and tummy troubles, and just plain gave in. I went in for X-rays of my abdomen on Friday after spending the week post- vacation running to the bathroom.  Thankfully, I did feel better for a quick trip to Phoenix for a one day work meeting and woke up sick again Friday morning.  I have felt beaten.  I let myself get distraught, defeated, and just depressed.  Especially after I knew there was NO way I could run 20 miles- which was on my training schedule- this weekend.

So, I rested Friday and saved my energy for the Living History Farms Trail Run on Saturday.  I was running with my friends Marzia and Adrienne and Adrienne’s friend Sara.  I woke up Saturday with a sour stomach, but took my prescription and hoped for the best.  We couldn’t have a better morning for the run!  It was a balmy 40 degrees at the start! (and there is no hint of sarcasm whatsoever!  That is balmy for November in Iowa!)  This is a fun race, where no one really takes themselves seriously and costumes are encouraged.  Marzia and I dressed up as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Suess (recycled from her daughter’s halloween costumes).

Pre-Run; Sarah, Adrienne, me (Thing 2) and Marzia (Thing 1)

I felt good going into the run.  I was pretty confident that the course would be dry this year, given the lack of rain we’ve had and had heard rumblings that the creeks that run through the course were dried up even!  Since I don’t like to be dirty or wet, these were ideal conditions for me :).  Adrienne and Sarah decided to start behind Marzia and I, so when the shot the gun, we S-L-O-W-L-Y started off.  This is a popular race and we walked the first quarter mile until the crowd thinned out and we were able to begin running.  We bottlenecked again around the 1 mile mark as we ran through a tunnel under the road.  The tunnel was paved in wet mud.  What was this?  I thought for sure the race organizers had taken hoses to the tunnel so that we would have some mud during the run, because in my mind, everything should be dry.  We ran on, carefully watching our steps over corn cobs, leaves, and branches so we didn’t twist an ankle or come tumbling down like other runners we witnessed around us.  Then, we came to the first creek.  It was low enough that we could step on the rocks and make it across dry.  Nice!  Happy, I ran on, coming up on my least part of the course.  It’s basically through a plowed down corn field and for some reason always feels long and boring.  Thankfully, with Marzia’s company, that stretch wasn’t as bad as I had remembered and we were now at creek #2.  This one we quickly realized, was going to get us wet.  We both stopped and stared as runners were plowing through, up to their knees in water.  Finally, Marzia started down the bank and said, let’s hold hands and get across it.  So, holding hands, Thing 1 and Thing 2 cautiously waded through.  Coming out of the water, my shoes and socks were completely water logged and the water swished to the front and back as I started to run again.  I felt like I was weighted down with rocks and of course, we would be running uphill now :).  The water quickly found it’s way out of my shoes, thankfully, and we started through the woods, taking “short cuts” off course to avoid the walkers who were holding things up on the trail.  Then, we saw it.  Creek # 3.  And this one was steeper embankment and deeper water.  We saw other runners crossing the creek above the embankment on a tree trunk that balancing on the two banks.  We decided that looked like a better route and slowly climbed our way across.  We had some short steep climbs after that and then it was flat into the finish line.

Seven miles had not gone that fast for me in months!  I was wet.  I was covered, no caked in mud.  I was happy.  I took off towards the finish.  I was tired, but knowing I was close to the end, I continued to push it.  This was the experience I needed to pull me out of my rut, my pit that I had thrown myself into the week before.

Marzia and I at the finish!

It felt good.  And I realized, I felt good!  Who knew, getting muddy and wet and dressing up in costume- three things that I normally do NOT enjoy- would be what it took to connect me with my body.  I guess I had to get out of my element and my head to let my body enjoy what it was doing.

I did manage a 12 mile run yesterday morning, with Marzia :).  It was not the 20 miles on my training schedule.  But that’s ok.  The training schedule will be revised this week.  I’ll shoot for 20 this weekend.  I’ll take it slow.  I’ll keep plugging away.  Instead of going at my runs and my workouts defeated and depleted, I will charge at them with determination.  I will finish.  I will log the miles.  And I will follow the pace that my body allows me to follow.




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