So remember in my last post how I said "Holy crap I suck at trail running," and then said, "Hopefully next time I will manage to at least beat like twenty people."?
Well, the first statement still stands, and the second one is just laughable at this point.
I wasn't planning on running Stellar Nites again until April 3rd, but I was offered a discount code for myself and a few friends if we decided to run it this week. And of course I talked myself into it and got a few other people to join in as well.
I was actually feeling somewhat confident last night, going into the second round of this little series. Not egotistical by any means; I was just thinking, "Well, I know what to expect, and it's a warmer night than last week, and I've had plenty of water today, so why shouldn't I do better this time around?" But within the first two minutes of the run, I'm fairly certain I was dead last with no hope of passing anyone, ever. It seemed like everyone ahead of me was running WAY faster than last week, because I wasn't running any slower than last week, yet the distance between me and everyone else grew longer and longer every minute.
Still, I wasn't too concerned with everyone else at this point. All I had to do was finish it.
But before I had even run half a mile, as I was making my way up the first steep trail hill, my vision got a little blurred and I looked down at my heart rate monitor and it pretty much told me, "YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE." That is to say, my heart rate was 190, which is basically 98% maxed out, which is really too high to ever let my heart rate get. I honestly thought I was going to have to turn around and quit. But I squatted down right in place -- without any worry of being in someone's way, seeing as how I was in last place -- and caught my breath for a minute while my heart rate came back down. And I pressed onward...slowly.
I managed to run most of the flat sections of the course, but walked just about every uphill section and even a lot of the downhills. It was pretty windy up there, and I guess I didn't take into account how much harder that would make things, especially with pollen flying through the air to battle with my asthmatic lungs.
Then, as I was coming back down from what is arguably one of THE most challenging sections of the course (the Sandhills of Death) and rounding a gated grassy field, a gardener was mowing the grass. Um, hi? People are running and breathing heavily AND THERE IS WIND BLOWING YOUR GRASS ALL UP IN OUR FACES. (That was really unpleasant, in case you couldn't tell from my caps attack.)
So anyway, I somehow managed to finish 30 seconds faster than last week, despite feeling much slower and much less awesome (which I didn't know was possible considering how lame I felt last week). And I was a wheezy mess for a good hour after finishing, which is further proof that wind and grass and pollen are not my friends.
I'm totally over-dramatizing this for maximum effect, and I am glad I did it a second time and super happy that I beat my previous time, but you guys. I really don't know if I want to do this again. I guess we'll see how my 10K goes this weekend and maybe I'll be feeling all awesome and hardcore again, ready to attack it on April 3rd. But I make no guarantees.
PS: The official results haven't been posted yet, so I'll update this page once they're up, but I'm honestly 99% sure I was the last person to finish this time. Let's just pretend it means that the 12 people I beat last week were too scared to do it again, and therefore I am still at least a little bit awesome.