I sent in my registration for Holiday Lake the day I moved back in to my dorm room for spring semester. My parents and I went by the post office and bought a stamp, and that was that. All I wanted was the finishers shirt so I could do LUS this year and never have to run around the lake ever again. Just kiddingJ of course I will do HL again. I mainly tried to just get a good long run in every Saturday, and running with fast friends from triathlon definitely got some speed back in me. What else is there to do for training?We had a sizable group of Hokie’s show at HL, including undergrads like myself and grad students, which was very nice. One thing I love about Horton’s races is that you always get dinner and a show! And this time, a heated cabin! This is a five-star ultra if there ever was one. After a restless nights sleep, the morning came dark and early. Thankfully, it wasn’t very cold (compared to Blacksburg) so I broke out the shorts and just a long-sleeved shirt. The start was crowded, and after a big Hokie Hi cheer, the countdown began.
The first lap was very mental for me. I am used to having long climbs up mountains and dense forests with wild flowers and waterfalls, just me and my thoughts, trying to cross the finishline within the time limit, and Holiday Lake is very different from that. I was not at all used to running so much! I knew once we got off the pavement it was going to be a race for me. I tried to pace myself since I knew we had plenty of extra-long Horton Miles (the best kind of miles) ahead of us, but I was having trouble slowing down. I tried to remember the last time I actually raced…2010, at the state championship for cross country my senior year. That was a race. And by the time we got to the first aid station at HL it would have been over. My my, how times have changed. Well anyways, once the sun came out the day turned out to be pristine running weather, with a high around 40ish and partly cloudy. I felt okay, my form was a little off and I had a weird pain in my left quad, but around mile 8 or 10 I was finally warmed up and had worked all the kinks out. I had come to terms with the fact that I’d be racing, and decided I could do it. I could race. It was on.
Rachel ran fast. Er. Than usual.
The idea of breaking 5 hours never even crossed my mind. It just happened. The only thing I wanted to do at Holiday Lake was have a fun weekend with my friends, just out there running around the woods. Well, I got that, and more! I’m still not sure what happened out there, but wherever it was, I hope it happens again. Running ultras in the mountains will always be about going on an epic adventure, pushing your body to the limit and enjoying the beautiful wilderness – my natural habitat – in a way that is more rewarding than you can ever imagine. I feel most comfortable doing that. After Holiday Lake, it looks like I can...competitively...enjoy my home. How weird is that?!
I woke up Sunday a little sore, mostly in my lower back, feet, and shoulders, and went for a walk to get things loosened up. Yesterday, Monday, I felt almost completely better. But having learned my lesson from MMTR, I decided to just kickboard around the pool for a while than to run 5 miles. Maybe a short jaunt today (Tuesday).
I’ve never been the fast girl. Not a track, not a cross country, not at test-taking in school. I’m not even sure if I can consider myself fast now. But man, it’s the quickest I’ve ever been! Luckily, it is at something I truly love doing. Coming back to my dorm room after a fantastic, perfect weekend of running is a culture shock for me (and for the girls in my residence hall for that matter), but it’s more incentive to get out of this building and on to the trail and reinforces how much I truly love running trail ultras and being around the people who run them. My 2012 year of ultras could not have gotten off to a better start, and hopefully the rest of LUS follows suit. Who knows what could happen this year?! Apparently I can run fastish, and there is no doubt in my mind that I love running ultras.
Thanks, Horton, for a fantastic event! Also thanks to the girls from the tri team for coming with us to cheer us onJ
See ya at Terrapin!