by the light of the moon

July 15, 2014 at 6:37 pm Leave a comment

this past saturday night was the inaugural moon over croom. the race was a seven mile loop ~ 7.2 if you want to get technical ~ with seven, 14 and 21 mile options of which i was doing the 21 (duh). with 100 runner cap, i knew most of the people running. if not by name, pace and run, at least by face and facebook. i truly don’t miss the days of huge road runs and pretentious racers. the ultra trail running community is a different world. runners that run for the love of not just the sport but the people that go with it and i was surrounded by friends as we set off on what i almost saw as another weekend long run versus a race.

but there’s still a racer in me. a competitor. and almost immediately i had to talk myself out of self-dissapointment. the frenchman pulled ahead. the girl i ran with once who deemed herself slow left me in her dust. and i watched as multiple women disappeared into the woods ahead. i tried to remind myself that setting the pace is the smart way to run and that i was on some of my favorite trails and simply needed to enjoy but i found myself struggling with the desire to be better than i have been of late. it wasn’t long before i was alone. the slowest of the fast. or the fastest of the slow. i’ve never quite determined which group i don’t belong to.

i was lost in thought and almost screamed when the lone doe darted across the path directly in front of me. i quickly looked for others ~ both deer or human ~ and realized there were neither. she was mine. all mine. and i instantly had a flashback to an art project in seventh grade where we had to find and draw our sprit guide animal. naturally back then the equestrian in me picked a horse, but at that moment i had this strange connection to a creature i saw for a mere flash before she leapt into the brush and somehow she reminded me of why i was there.

i ran steady. not fast by any means. it was still daylight and it was hot as hell. but i kept relatively consistent. i finished loop one a few minutes over goal, doled out a couple sweaty hugs, shoved a few potato chips into my mouth and headed out for loop two. though completely uneventful, this was my strongest loop. slightly cooler, sun going down temps and daylight enough to still see the obstacles before me. i pushed it harder than loop one and made up the time i’d lost.

it wasn’t long into loop three that the headlight went on. somewhere up above there was a full moon. a super moon at that. but the clouds and trees left little light beyond the thin battery powered beam. darkness was upon the trails quickly but a few miles in i got what i had secretly come for. one minute it was pitch black. the next the woods were twinkling. i miss a lot about living up north ~ seasons, spring flowers, culture ~ but i was years into being a “floridian” before i noticed the absence of fireflies. and only recently i learned of the small windows of time and space to find them. and here was one. i couldn’t help but stop mid-trail and turn off my headlamp. i ached to chase after them. to catch them in cupped hand one by one and keep them in a glass jar with crude holes punched in the lid so they could breathe before releasing them back into the darkness. but i didn’t have a jar and i was mid-race so i simply ran as they lit up childhood memories that made me happier than i had been in a long time.

in that last loop i passed a few. and got passed by none. that consistent easy pace was paying off. as i battled the last mile ~ a treacherous narrow path of almost solid roots and overgrown grass ~ i watched as my expected time drifted by. i finished in 3:45. fifth female, 12th overall and fifteen minutes past goal. but i couldn’t have cared less.

a race called moon over croom no doubt needed  the reward of moon pies and cold blue moon. and before heading home i took the top off the jeep so at almost any moment the super moon was visible. it was well after 1 a.m. when i crawled into bed. exhausted but in a state of mind i can’t even explain. moon, by the way, was my first word ever. my mother would sit me by the window and i’d seek it out. ironic yet somehow relevant to a race that i can easily claim as the most perfect racing experience ever.

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Entry filed under: racing, running. Tags: , , , , , .

100 percent nuts 100 miles to nowhere

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the best of times

5k pr ~ 24:23
10k pr ~ 52:49
half marathon pr ~ 1:55:10
marathon pr ~ 4:10:41
half ironman pr ~ 5:57:50
50k pr ~ 5:33:23
50-mile pr ~ 11:32:39

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