What Have I Gotten Myself Into?!

Posted: June 5, 2010 in running
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OK, so a couple of months ago, I sign up for a 10k that is set for next weekend.  Really, I must have lost my mind!  First, it’s the XTERRA 10k Mud Run.  That just sounds hard right from the get-go.  It starts with a X. So you know they are going for the “extreme” vibe.  Me, not so much an “extreme” athlete.  More like pretending to be a runner getting out early in the morning on the peaceful community streets or running paths type of guy.  But then again, sometimes all of this “extreme” business can tend to be just a bit exaggerated, right?

So this morning, I decide I want to check out the 10k route, maybe even run some of it.  Now I had heard some about the route, that the first part is pretty easy and then it gets really hard.  So in my mind, I am thinking that I will just run the first part and if I get to the second part and have to walk, so be it.  Really, how hard could it be to walk?  So I start running the easy part, it’s part of a route I have done before so I know it’s not bad and I make good time.  I get to the end of that part in 21 minutes or so, and I figured I was going about a 10 minute per mile pace, so I thought that’s pretty good on a trail.  Of course, I also thought that despite what I had been told, the tough part consisted of MORE than just half the race!

Then I get to the “yellow trail”, which I have heard legendary tales about its toughness, but had never actually tried.  So I get to the first hill and I am actually pretty disciplined with my game plan, I quickly realize that I ain’t running up that hill and I start walking.  But it doesn’t take long to realize that hearing about this trail is one thing, but actually doing it is quite another!  I was getting completely gassed just walking up these things!  What diabolical person thought it was a good idea to have a race here?!  Heck, even the downhills were not very much relief because they are so steep that you have to expend quite a bit of energy just to make sure you don’t slip and fall.  The fact that there will be people who will run the entire course is simply amazing.  Even more amazing, there is also a 19k race on the same day that picks up even more of the “yellow trail”.  The guys and gals doing that are just animals!

Anyway, I stick to mostly walking.  Eventually you get to more down than up and I actually caught my breath.  Then I got to the road, and I felt pretty good.  Only maybe 0.3 miles to the car or so.  I decide I can run that last little bit.  Or so I thought.  As it turns out, as an added bonus, it was very, very humid this morning.  I mean I was so soaked in sweat that it looked like I had jumped in the shower with all my clothes on.  I did bring my newly purchased “fuel belt” fully loaded with 32 oz. of water.  But it was so bad, I had gone through it all.

I start to run and after maybe just 20 yards or so, BOTH my calves cramp up severely at the same time!  I have never had both legs cramp simultaneously, and this wasn’t just a bit of cramping, both calves were in tight knots!  I manage to get off the road to roll around on the grass in agony.  The good thing about cramps is that they are not permanent, but man are they painful when they are occurring.  Obviously I hadn’t been able to replace enough of the liquid I had lost sweating and had an electrolyte imbalance.  Eventually the cramps finally went away and I was able to continue.   Of course, that was the end of the running.  Good thing I was close to the car.  Even better, I was parked near a vending machine that had Gatorade.

So hey, I survived (but you knew that already!).  But I have a whole new respect for what I am in for.  I have no problem with taking 90 minutes to complete this.  If XTERRA was Spartan in the movie 300, the movie would be called 1.  XTERRA lost reception on its cell phone and 24 hours later AT&T announced they would have more bars in more places.  XTERRA sleeps with a night-light on because the dark is afraid of XTERRA!  XTERRA….oh wait, these are actually about Jack Bauer.  But yeah, XTERRA is going to be tough like Jack Bauer.

Notes to self for next week:  bring fuel belt, probably fill at least one bottle with Gatorade, go slow, have fun, don’t get hurt 🙂

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Comments
  1. the peanut gallery in cyberspace will be cheering you on…don’t you just love humidity? for a long time i lived in houston…as like breathing underwater…i have faith you will do just dandy!

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