Pineland Farms, part two

If one starts their first ultra marathon knowingly breaking three big rules of trail running - nothing new on race day, wear some trail running shoes, and maybe run on trails before the race - how could this be considered anything other than self-sabotage? I know better. I've been running for years now, and I know I was asking for a world of hurt. But I did it anyway. Mainly, I wanted to look cute. Here I was about to run 31 miles for the first time, and I wore a little skirt that I KNEW would cause some serious inner thigh rubbage. I wore compression socks that have given me blisters in the past, instead of my trusty Balegas. I wore a trucker hat for the first time in my life because it really pulled the outfit together. Because isn't the most important factor in the success of your first 50K how cute you look?

Anyway, I had applied BodyGlide as liberally as if that alone would mollify the trail running gods, and after the race began, I didn't give it a second thought. I gleefully ran into the forest, completely caught up in the atmosphere of traipsing through the woods with other brightly clothed strangers. I ran up and down the wide, dirt trails, trying to pace myself, and reminding myself that I should be walking up the hills instead of running. But it felt good to run!

It was glorious. Such a beautiful day, and a beautiful course, and I swear I never felt so alive during a run. After a couple of miles I decided that I should be reigning myself in a little more as I had too many miles left ahead of me, and who knows how hard I might crash and burn. I began to walk up the hills when other runners did, and run the downhills. I used the more experienced trail runners around me as a guide. I did get quite carried away running downhill, however. I love running down hills! I careened down the trails like a bat out of hell, and then forced myself to resume my easy pace, and then walk, as I began to ascend again.

On one of these crazy descents, I heard another runner cheering me on "Get it, girl!" As I slowed again, I gushed to her about how I love running downhill. We began chatting, and I happily latched onto Linda as my unofficial trail pacer. She told me about her recent injury, and her training for the Vermont 100 Miler, and her family. I followed her lead on backing off on the hills, and occasionally jetted past her on the downhills. It was hard to resist.