Imagine this – its 6:30 AM on Sunday. It’s raining and cold. You pull yourself out of bed to the sound of a beeping alarm clock in order to eat breakfast and get some coffee (aka magic potion). You contemplate walking 13.1 miles outside for close to four hours in the rain. You officially decide that you won’t be participating, despite weeks of planning.
You start reading blogs and planning a leisurely trip to the gym…and then you change your mind, last minute.
You see, I didn’t want to bail out. I had been looking forward to making the trek and following the beautiful Twin Lights course for weeks and I knew that if I didn’t go, I would regret it.
I packed up my backpack (putting my electronics and wallet in a water-tight bag) and made my way to the start. It was so weird being there without the normal nerves that accompany running a race. Normally, I’m in my own little world and full of nervous energy – including butterflies and occasional runner’s belly.
When I went to line up, void of my runner’s nerves, it was strange to identify the rest of the walkers as potential friends – buddies for the upcoming long and difficult trek. While I’m not outwardly competitive, when I’m running a race, the other runners are all potential competitors, not friends. It was nice to have the camaraderie; that is for sure.
The first four or five miles seemed to go really fast. The rain subsided and left just a grey, misty, damp day. There were quite a few hills which definitely helped to warm me up and I quickly shed my third water-proof layer. I contemplated pulling out my Ipod but didn’t and I’m a bit glad I abstained.
At around mile six, I definitely started getting tired. The course was an out and back and I think the anticipation of turning around made the last mile out harder. It was around this time that the runners started passing which was neat and also a bit disheartening. It was hard to keep walking with all of the excitement!
We eventually turned around and started making our way back towards the finish (also the start). Overall, I was feeling ok – I got a bit hungry and ate a mini balance bar that they were handing out during packet pick-up. I could also feel blisters forming on my heels and my shoulders started aching for some reason.
Despite wanting to stop several times, I kept on walking – with the help of my new walking buddies. We were all feeling the hours on our feet but kept good spirits. :)
We finally finished in three hours and forty minutes. I was desperate for a good lunch and shower and so headed out quickly after. It was a hard walk! I’ve never walked that far and man, it is difficult. I’m really sore today – almost sorer than after running the New Bedford Half. I think the amount of time spent moving is the culprit!
Ultimately, I’m happy that I did the walk and accepted the challenge. It was tough but there were so many beautiful points along the course and it was neat to see a different side of racing.