I got to eat my watermelon……..After I puked on my shoes
This is the 5th year of this race and my 5th year running it. They have a 5K or a 10 mile version and I was ready for the ten again. After Twisted Ankle, I figured this race would be a fun jaunt in the woods. It has a creek crossin’ (twice), a decent incline, and then at the end, a half mile "Great Equalizer" which is like a mini Becky’s Bluff. It’s straight up.
So, we are all standing around talking about the famed year of the lost trail markers, and like any good story, some great embellishments. "Yeah, I ran like 39 miles after getting lost". No you didn’t, Drama Boy, it was somewhere between 10-17. Nice try though! One lady is talking about next week’s mud run half and I pick her brain about the course and she picks my brain about Cahaba. "Its got some hills, some mud, the creek crossing has a rope, but I rarely use it, you’ll bake at the 3 miles on the ridge, but you’ll enjoy the airplane arms on the way back down but don’t smile too much because the last hill might make you cry, cuss, wet yourself, or all three in order". She had this look—> Now that I’ve done my good deed for the day, I was ready to get started. I didn’t take my camelbak because this race has aid stations every 2-3 miles and I was carrying gels and a hand bottle.
Mile 1.5–great! No problems, feeling fine, got a nice wind next to the river that will be covered in oil a year from now. Cahaba lilies are in full bloom so there are plenty of photographers who are none to happy about the heard of buffalo running by. One crusty gent from Iowa said "all dem crazy kids running is getting on my nerves". I couldn’t help yelling out "Watch out for chiggers around that bunched up underwear!!"
Mile 2–creek crossing–We HAD to use the rope since the water was hip level. I managed to lose my gels in the water. That wasn’t good at all.
Mile 3- I start throwing up. Usually this is from sugar too high or dehydration. As much as I was sweating, I was trying to make sure I kept fluids in me, but apparently this wasn’t the case.
Mile 4-7 The climb, baking at the ridge top–more puking. I pretty much was toast by now. I had slowed to a death crawl by the time I came down from the climb. No airplane arms. More like a feeble hobble. The problems get worse when the aid station was out of everything but water. Since I lost my gels in the creek, I needed something bad. Poor aid guy had powdered Gatorade in his backpack so he threw that together for me, but wasn’t happy about letting me continue since I was still spewing what little fluid was left in me. He used his trusty walkie talkie to radio ahead to the next station AFTER the hill.
Mile 8- back across the river where the camera man just sat there with his camera pointed at me. I ask him what is he waiting for. He said "You to slip up like most of the others, har har har". I smile big, and say under my breath as a southern lady can.. "bless your heart, dumbass" and then zip across as fast as I could, making sure I made a big ol’ splash up the bank and shake off water like a puppy right in front of the hilarious camera man. Then, stumble on to the Equalizer. The humidity was in full force and so were the teeny buzzy mosquito things that fly around in big bunches. Yeah, that was a thrilling adventure. I swore the top would never get there. I felt like I was on one of those escalators and going nowhere. When I get off the climb, the aid station is deserted. Nothing there but a folding table.
Mile 9-10. run, shuffle, puke.
Crossing the line–2 minutes slower than 3 years ago. 2:32:something Darn it. I think the medics know me by now because the are waiting for me. Some nice lady had the Fiji water and a big slice of watermelon for me. I guess the last aid station guy sent word that I would need food. They checked my vitals while I tried to eat some of it, but after 3 bites, it was too much for me. I waited around for a little while, drinking tiny sips of diluted Gatorade until I could keep fluid down. Then, the glorious watermelon. Oh and then I cried a lot, but that’s normal for me after hard races. The post-race ice bath was great, then the clorox bath to kill off any remaining chiggers, then..the NAP!! Now, I’m eating peanut butter crackers waiting for the storms to pass so I can grill some steaks. Life is good again.