Monday, January 19, 2009

Bermuda Triangle Challenge

What a trip! I’m not sure this blog will do any justice to what we endured in Bermuda, but I feel as though I must try. We arrived on Thursday and had planned a run on our own. Those of you knowing me well are right in laughing and saying “yeah right”. We toured the pubs of the island and cursed at those runners who passed us!

Friday was our first of the 3 races, the mile. This was going to be a biggie. I’ve talked a lot of smack for the last several months about blowing my husband out of the water. The race was at 7pm. I tried to get him drunk and it did not work, his will power was stronger than I had given him credit for. The mile was a loop on Front St. in Hamilton. 2 turns on a fairly level surface. We got the road early for 4 miles of warming up. After the first few passes, I felt good. Ran out the nerves and felt like I looked better than Joe, he was going down! At 20 of 7 we were split into groups of 50 and would start in waves 4 minutes apart. We were in the same wave. It was now of never, the first group was off and then the second group. Oh shit, we are next! I saw the first few finish with times just over 5 minutes, that’s really fast. Before I knew it we were at the starting line, and we’re off. I took off, eyes on the turn up ahead, I saw Joe zip to my right and pull a few steps out in front. I’ll catch him in a few. Around the first curve and up the longest straight away. This is also on a slight incline. He remained a few steps above but at some point my focus changed. I was a machine, going as hard as I could. Passed by Sue and heard her words of support. It was getting tough now, I was feeling slightly nauseous. Before I knew it there was the 2nd turn, once I was around that point, it would only be a quarter mile to go. I saw him hit the curve first and realized I wasn’t going to get him. I pushed on and to my surprise started to pass people. Hey, I’m going to finish! There it was, the finish line, maybe 200 yards, one lap around the track. I left it all on the road and moved as hard as I could. With a mile time of 7:35 I can’t complain that I came in 10 seconds slower than Joe. It means there will have to be a rematch next year!

Saturday morning was the 10k, less than 12 hours after the mile race I was in my hotel room questioning my own sanity, was I really going to go out and run another race. I have no choice, pulled on my lucky socks and headed to breakfast. My legs were stiff and resistant to the idea. The cab dropped us off at the sports center around 9 in the pouring rain. This is the type of rain that I refuse to run in at home and I had now flown 2 hours and paid money to run in it here. Go figure, how’s that for karma? We had an hour to mill about under a cement overhang and dread what was around the corner. At 20 of 10 they called us to the start, I got soaked heading there so it didn’t matter anymore. 10:00 sharp the gun went off and off we went. I braced for the pain and didn’t have much. We pressed ahead, the hardest part was the hills. Take running the hills on the East Side of Providence and double it, that’s what it’s like running in Bermuda. There are no flat straight aways. God help me. At mile 2.5 we hit what felt like a half mile up hill stretch. I can’t tell you what the scenery looked like, I had my head down and eyes on the road. My sneakers were full of water. Ok, the down hill, I can coast here for a while. Things were going well. Joe and I ran side by side, the competition of last night over with. Then we hit the mile 5 hill. This sucker was not very long but it was straight up. I dug in. A woman in front of me stopped half way up, I called to her to keep going we were almost done. I don’t know if she heard me or not. Before I knew it I had reached the crest, it took several minutes to recover. The crowd started to yell that we were almost done, “see the stadium lights, you are right there”. They neglected to mention that between myself and the finish line was another god damn hill. I didn’t have much left in my tank, but kept going. Just as we reached the turn into the stadium, it was like a hurricane descended upon us. The rain and the wind picked up, you could barely see the road in front of you and the wind made me feel light on my feet I reminded myself this was a VACATION. Finally the finish, Joe grabbed my hand and we crossed together. 1 hour flat. 2 races down 1 left.

13.1 miles left. Sunday morning I was scared, what were we thinking. A half marathon is no simple feat and we had just spent the last 2 days racing on this terrible island where there are no flat surfaces. My quads were pissed off. The only bright spot was seeing the sun. It was gorgeous outside, for a moment I questioned bagging the run and hitting the beach. We headed to the starting line. How bad could it be? We have run these distances before, no problem. Finish this one and there would be nothing left to do but celebrate. The gun went off at 8am and at 8:01 I was ready to quit. My legs burned from toe to hip and I was 5 steps into the damned race. As I continued to put one foot in front of the other I thought about quitting. It was too painful. I didn’t want to injure my self. The problem was Joe and Sue would understand why I stopped, but would all of you. Everyone I knew was aware of the three races. How could I say, it was too painful and I decided to quit? I couldn’t so I pressed on. It was hellish. The pain was comparable to what miles 16 and 17 felt like during the marathon. Up and down many of the hills from yesterday. At some point I though the pain would dimish, but it wasn’t happening fast enough. Joe had taken off from the start a head of me. I looked up and he had come back for me, but the ass was taking pictures of my pained face! Oh well, at least if I died he would be here with me. I pushed on and as the pain subsided I realized the beauty of the place we were running. It had been beautiful all week, but now with the sun out and running along the water I was awed. How lucky am I? It was like paradise with the crystal clear water and green foliage. Things moved along for several miles, I thought about how cool it was I was doing this. 20 miles in 3 days in 3 races. I’m an athlete, this is hard core. I started to feel an overwhelming sense of pride, then I hit another hill and cursed myself for signing up for this. At the bottom of the hill a woman offered me an orange, it was the best tasting orange I have ever had in my entire life. I don’t know what it was about the orange but I put it on my mouth and fireworks went off. I knew I would finish at that point. Just before mile 11 the crowd got louder. I smiled, thinking I was the cause of their cheers, I must have looked good. Ha! Just then several bikes passed me on the right and then I was lapped. The male winner of the marathon jetted by me! He would finish running 26.2 miles before I would finish my 13.1. If it wasn’t one of the coolest running experiences ever, I would have been disappointed in myself. Joe snapped a picture of him and I cheered as loud as I could. In under 30 seconds he was gone. One mile to go, I got this one in the bag! Once we ran by the hotel I knew I would finish, alive. With renewed spirits I began to make a fool out of my self and yelled to anyone cheering that I was close. My show caused such a stir that a member of the crowd followed me for a quarter of a mile taking pictures and laughing at my antics. We crossed together at 2 hours and 30 minutes.

I can check the Bermuda Triangle Challenge off of my list. I am also researching knee replacement options!

No comments: