Question- Do you do something you know you can do or push yourself to do more?
What if you come in last?
What if you might fail altogether?
That’s the question I kept asking myself leading up to the Skippo Trail Race. I’d done the 20k two times before and thought “What the heck, it’s just one more loop” and “I want that 30K belt buckle” (which I had no plans on actually using as a belt buckle).
So I clicked the 30K option and was filled with anxiety from then on. The cut off time is 4 and a half hours. I’ve finished the 20K in 2:37 and 2:35. I’d looked at my pace and time I don’t know how often. I kept telling myself that if I really wanted to I could drop down to the 20K and that hey, maybe I’d be forced to stop after the second loop because you have to be there by 2:50.
But I know me and I know the only way I would actually stop after 20K was if someone actually told me to.
Race Morning. Also known as.
The race that almost wasn’t.
The race starts at 9:00 in Ballwin Missouri which is about half an hour away. The strongly recommend you take the shuttle to the start. The last one is at 8:45. For whatever reason, my GPS had me go 3 miles on a dead end road only to have to turn around. If I’d known it was a dead end I wouldn’t have taken it and I certainly wouldn’t have gone all the way to the turnaround point! Maybe it’s my fault for not looking ahead but I was trying to pay attention to the road. I’ve never had this issue before.
I was already anxious and this added stress of being late wasn’t helping AT ALL. I honestly thought about just scrapping the whole thing and going home. And I was this close for bursting into tears.
I drove back the three miles (again) and just decided to try to get on the highway next to the road I had just taken. I had no idea if that was the right road or not. I looked at my phone and my ETA went from 8:56 to 8:50. Still just in time to miss the shuttle. But at least I was now back on my way! I’d figure out parking somehow.
As I was driving up the road where the shuttle parking lot is I just glanced over and saw a van still there and a girl running towards it! If I hurried, maybe I could make it! I quickly turned left and found a spot to park and ran the to van. I told the driver how happy I was that he was still there! I talked to the other girl and it turns out she had gotten half way to the race and realized she forgot her shoes and had to go back and get them!
She helped calm me down by telling me that they release groups in waves. I knew that but in my panic I’d forgotten (it turned out we were both in the same wave too but she was doing the 20K) and we’d still get there in time. The driver said he’d drop us off right next to the start too so that we didn’t have to walk.
We got there and the announcer was still talking. The first group still hadn’t gone yet. We had plenty of time. So all that panic for noting.
I even had time for pictures…
Once I was finally on my way I tried to just enjoy the outdoors. It was a really nice day and the leaves and everything was just beautiful. I didn’t take any pictures like I have in the past because I can’t get to my phone as easily. That’s something I need to work on.
I’d either forgotten or the sand on the trail is new, either way it’s not fun or easy to run in sand. After about 2.50 miles come the tunnel and then the stairs. About 200 of them. Straight up. But after those stairs you get the most amazing photo opportunity. One worth actually stopping to get your phone.
The trail is open to the public which adds to the challenge but they often bring dogs so that evens it out 🙂 I saw so many dogs!
I was feeling really good. It was a little warm but still ok. I finished the first loop in 1:20. I passed through the start to continue on to the second loop. More sand, more stairs, more hills, more beautiful view and more dogs!
Then, at about mile 9 or 10 BAM! I got a really good look at the ground. It HURT! The lady in front of me stopped to ask if I was ok. Turns out she knew my pain because she had taken a tumble going UP one of the hills. There was crusted blood on her leg. My knee and elbow and hip were hurting but I couldn’t stop now! I finished the second look in 1:29.
If you add those two times together you know I’m cutting it close. As I was passing for the second time I checked with an official and he said I was still ok to continue if I wanted to. So on I went. I grabbed a GU from a volunteer and pressed on.
There seemed to be less people out on the trail as I was doing my last loop. And I knew there was at least one person behind me. Going up the stairs this time I tried taking them 2 at a time. Not because I was feeling that great but because I was hoping that would somehow be faster. As I was going up I saw someone having to carry his dog down the stairs. That was kind of funny.
I didn’t fall this time and when I got to the creek I just ran into it and stopped to splash water on my legs.
At one of the aid stations I refilled my water both of which slowed me down but at that point I needed it. With about 2 miles left I saw two guys. I wasn’t sure if they were in the race or not but I made it my mission to find out. Turns out they were. And I finished before them. Somehow. I finished the finial loop in 1:31 for a total of 4:21.
AHHHHH! I DID IT! And I didn’t come in last!
I don’t know if I will ever do the 30K again but I am so proud of myself for not quitting! I will be back next year doing the 20K for sure!