Monday, September 30, 2013

Trip Day 2: Center of the Nation Series: Bowman, ND- September 16, 2013

Once again I am staring at a blank screen not knowing what to write. If you know anything about me, and my writing habits, you know that this NEVER happens. If we are being honest (which I am a big advocate for), as readers, you must know that part of my struggle in what to write and how to write it has been fueled by a nasty depression. For me, when I plan and plan and plan for an event and spend months anticipating it... whether the outcome is what I had planned or not, I wind up feeling horribly sad. All this build up and excitement suddenly ends, and I am left feeling kind of empty. This is EXACTLY what happened after this amazing trip. And as I sit preparing to write, I realize that it is taking so long because I don't actually want to end that chapter of my life yet. If I don't finish posting about this event, I wont ultimately close out that period of my life, and I can continue to pretend that it never ended. Hows that for some early morning introspection?

So, If you haven't figured it out yet, this is part 3 (day 2) of a seven part (6 day) set of entries.

The next installments are coming, but it might take some time...

Day 2 brought us to a campground that sat along the Bowman Haley Dam in Bowman, North Dakota. Our home base for the early part of the week was in Spearfish South Dakota, So that meant a 2 hour drive to get to the Bowman race. Thankfully, we were never really came off of Eastern Time and we had a 2 hour time difference that worked in our favor during the entire trip. We woke up at 3am in South Dakota and our bodies felt it was 5am. our races all started at 6:30am and we felt like it was 8:30 am. We went to bed religiously at 8 or 9 pm and it felt like 10 or 11pm. We hadn't thought of this all while planning the trip, but it worked in our favor. As a related side note, I should think that moving backwards in timezones is easier for folks attempting a streak, rather than moving forward in timezones. I really felt sorry for the few folks we met from Hawaii who were constantly exhausted from the time shifts. Well, I felt sorry for them until I remembered that they LIVE IN HAWAII, but I digress.

The course at Bowman, ND was fairly straight forward as a just over 2 mile out and back course which half marathoners would repeat 6 times. To count each lap, runners had to collect a rubber band at the end of the lap (which was right after the MOST amazing support station that I have ever seen at a race), gather 5 rubber bands and then finish strong with a "victory lap." The full marathon ran concurrently and marathoners had to collect a total of 11 bands then have their "victory lap."

What made this course tricky was that the finish point for each lap was at the top of a little hill and runners had to run into a strong headwind that many have said could have easily been 30 MPH gusts.

I was so exhausted from running Billings MT the day before, that somehow I didn't really notice the wind gusts OR the hill. I just knew that I was drained of energy and was getting scared because it was only day 2 and I still had to save energy for 4 more days of this.

Brina and I had previously discussed whether we would do our races together this week or not, and came to the decision that she would run her own pace for the duration of the week, letting me plug away doing what I needed to do. I was ok with this in theory, but in reality, when this happened at Bowman , I felt incredibly alone. and bored. and sad.

I was running my intervals, doing what I had to do to get it done, but my body was filling me with self doubt.  If 2 in 2 was going to be this hard, how on earth was I going to finish what I started?

When we got to the start line that morning, I couldn't walk more than a couple of steps without someone I knew from facebook introducing themselves to me and being excited to finally meet me. I was excited to finally meet them too. But out there on that course, as we were all just working to put one foot in front of the other, I was concerned that I wasn't seeing or hearing as many "attaboys" as I normally hear other runners exchange during races. It would get a million times better as the series continued, but that first day, runners seemed quite quiet. I worried that this would be an ongoing theme throughout the trip.

But then again, I worried about EVERYTHING at Bowman, ND. It wasn't that I wanted to give up, because seriously that thought never crossed my mind. But I did worry. About absolutely everything.

I worried that I was going too fast and would burn out and hurt my foot even more. I worried that I was going too slow and was going to embarrass myself. I worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew. I worried that people weren't going to be accepting of me as a real athlete. I even worried that I was worrying too much.

A few times I had people stay at my pace and talk to me, which was nice. But I was well aware of the fact that (for the second day in a row), my foot was also causing me to unravel. by the 4th lap, I had a distinct limp and my back was beginning to bother me. By the 5th lap, the limp was more pronounced and every time my foot landed, I felt fire radiate up through my heel and ankle. And by the 6th lap, I was spent. I was barely able to put one foot in front of the other. The only thing that kept me going was that I knew I had to cross the finish line on the way to the car and I had to get to the car to get to  my painkillers and my ice buckets.

As I approached the finishline, Seth ran out to meet me with a bottle of ice cold water in one hand and my aircast in the other. I finished. It may not have been pretty. It may had been slower than I wanted to. But I finished.

Gun time: 3:55:00
Pace: 17:56 per mile

Not a great time, but my goal was not about time. My goal was just to finish.

26.2 miles down, only  52.4 miles left! To be continued...


  1. You're doing an awesome job! Your time doesn't matter, just that you do it =)

  2. Great job finishing! And I completely can relate to the post-event depression and writer's block. I had a big problem with that post-Princess Half earlier this year and I suspect it will be the same after my 4 halfs in 4 months streak this winter.