Part 1, and Kentucky, can be found here.
Part 2, and Tennessee, can be found here.
Part 3, and Arkansas, can be found here.
Part 4, and Mississippi, can be found here.
Finally getting to this last post has me feeling mixed emotions. Great sadness to be putting this who experience behind me, and happiness to have once again spent a week with such amazing people who I am honored to call "friends" for a lifetime. And happiness to actually be finished writing about this.... for some reason, writing about series like these fill me with dread. I mean, I am usually one who writing comes naturally to... yet these posts leave me feeling like I will never be able to say everything that I need to say, and feeling kind of like a failure for not doing these experiences justice. I don't even know if that makes any sense. I think I might just be rambling.
Winnsboro Louisiana to the Citivan Park, and the searching that I have done about this park has brought little info. Essentially it is a smaller municipal park in Winnsboro Louisiana, but the modesty of the size really didn't mean much. This course was spectacular, running along a beautiful little creek, the sweeping trees and Spanish moss provided a great deal of cover and there was never a want for anything interesting to look at.
I actually thoroughly enjoyed this course, though the day got off to a rocky start. The night before had been once again plagued by no sleep on my part as my roommates were tossing and turning all night and in order to be as alert as possible the following day, I had skipped my sleeping medications (so as not to be drug-hungover during the race). We had been having some tension between ourselves and the night before I had seriously considered skipping day 5 of the race series altogether, and jumping on the next flight home from Shreveport, LA, in order to alleviate those tensions. In the end, I am happy that I didn't leave the trip early, but on the other hand, the emotional stress combined with the overall lack of sleep from the trip, and the exertion of already having completed 4 back to back half marathons was getting to me.
Getting dressed that morning, I managed to put a huge hole in the pants that I put on. Seriously, could this day start any better?
By the time we got to Citivan Park, I was spent. The lack of sleep and stress was really getting to me, though I had been avoiding the sleeping medications to stave off the drug-hangover, I was so exhausted I felt like I was sleepwalking, I felt fat from having torn my pants trying to put them on that morning, I just wanted to go to bed. Then, in getting ready to leave the car, I managed to forget things in my bag requiring a return trip to the car 3 times. And then when the race finally started, one of my fellow runners leaned over to me and told me that we had left the dome light on inside the car meaning that I would have to return to it during the middle of the race, lest the battery die.
NOT how I wanted to start my day.
Other runners might say that this was my "least friendly" of days, and they are undoubtedly right. I would briefly encourage other participants when we would pass one another, I would give smiles, but my mind wasn't there. I knew the only way I would make the distance would be to disappear deep within my own thoughts, so as not to think about the pain. As long as I didn't think about the pain, I knew I could just keep putting one foot in front of the other and meet my distance goal.
|Forward momentum doing the work here. I was so out of it.|
It finally started to warm up, so I started to strip some layers off. And then I started to get too warm. but stopping to take off more clothes might make me stop altogether. So I just dealt with the heat and continued to put one foot in front of the other.
I don't even remember how many laps we had to take to collect the required number of rubber bands. I just knew I had to collect some, and when I had collected enough, I was done. The only goal was to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
And that I did. And I was so caught up in just getting it done, that somewhere along the line, I realized that I was no longer walking (as I had intended to do for the duration). Somewhere along the line, the forward momentum just took over and I found myself with more spring in my step. I was somewhere between walking and jogging, and maybe a little forward falling in there too. My music was turned up loud. I no longer felt as if I was in control of the movement in my legs. I was just sort of along for the ride. I saw friends finishing the race, and trying to get my attention to say goodbye, but I couldn't slow down. The end was in sight and I was going to get there...
And I did. My finish time was still less than stellar, but it was the fastest I had finished a race in any of this 5 in 5 day series. 3:53:36. and that includes the trek back to the car to turn the dome light off.
I was finally able to sit down with some friends, have a couple of drinks. strip down the last outer layer of clothes and bask in the sun (resulting in another sunburn for this pasty white girl).
In retrospect, I'm happy I did this trip, but at the time, I was exhausted. I can only imagine what Parvaneh Moayedi was feeling.
|Parvaneh in yellow here.|
*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.