Mainly Marathons Riverboat Series which took us through 5 states in 5 consecutive days (KY, TN, AR, MS, LA). For some reason, the days of the race are seemingly blending together... something which significantly compounds the problem of writing about this experience.
I struggle about writing for a number of other reasons, but mostly because of the other runners and the amazing volunteers. From what I truly learned on this trip, they are all amazing people with awesomely inspirational stories. Some people present had over 1000 full marathons under their belts, some folks were out there doing their first half marathons, some were celebrating milestones, some were just plugging away putting one foot in front of the other (like me). But each had a story. And each of them was absolutely amazing.
6 halfs in 6 days fiasco which included Center of the Nation Series (also by Mainly Marathons), but I also spent the greater part of the year in and out of the orthopedic surgeon's office, in various medieval torture devices for my foot, and searching for answers about how best to not only allow me to have a future at running, but ensure that I could walk in the years to come.
When I signed up to participate in the Riverboat series, I had high hopes that my foot would be back on the mend, and that I would be able to run all 5 races at my normal pace... but that just wasn't in the cards. A month ago, I realized that the months upon months in a boot had left my ankle weak and at an even greater risk of rolling (causing more damage). I accepted these limitations and went into this series knowing that I would be walking, and really getting my money's worth in terms of time on the course.
When we emerged from the trails, we returned back to the start, collected our first rubber bands and repeated until we had earned the required number of rubber bands signifying that we had finished our distances.
I have to admit that this was by far my favorite course because the views were spectacular, this was also the hardest course I have probably done in my entire life. I went into this with an agreement with the Husbeast that if I was experiencing any pain, I wouldn't let my pride get the best of me and I would listen to my body knowing when to call it quits. I just didn't realize that I would be faced with that dilemma during the very first race. Being careful to protect my bad foot, to not roll my ankles on the trails, or slip in the mud was taking its toll on my body. By the 4th lap, I was having some significant pain in my right hip. Thankfully there was no pain in the foot or ankle, but every time that I attempted to bear weight on the right leg, the top of my femur would scream. It felt as if the head of the bone was going to shatter off, and brought tears to my eyes.
For the entire 5th lap, I found myself weighing the options. After a much needed pep-talk from Brina, I forged forward and finished the event. And looking back, I am happy that I did.
I finished in 4:29:28.
I was a little slower than I had expected, but all things considered (walking, pain, course difficulty), I'm still proud of my time.
After collecting my medal I treated myself to a massage from a fellow runner who was doing 30 minutes for $30 to raise money for charity. Without this massage, I am not sure that I would have been able to continue on to day 2. I was just that spent.
To be continued...
*Disclaimer: Nearly none of the
photos that you will see in the posts about this trip are mine. I chose
to not bring my camera with me during the races and instead rely on
other people. To the people who have contributed photos to help tell
this story, I am thankful.