Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mountain Madness! - Part I

Last month I had the wonderful opportunity to meet fellow runner, blogger, musician, and Gator alumnus friend, Danielle, in person.  I stumbled upon her blog, Long May You Run, last year and was immediately hooked.  Though we live in different states, I have really come to know and admire her through her blog posts.  She inspired me to 1) start a blog of my own, 2) sign-up for my first marathon, and 3) believe in myself as a runner!

Recently, I was lucky enough to find a half marathon near her, so I jumped upon the chance to invite myself on to North Carolina for a visit!  I even managed to convince her to run the race with me.  :-)  We had a wonderful visit and a really great race experience at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  You can read more about that race here.  As we parted ways, I eagerly extended the offer for her to find a race near me and to allow me to return the favor.  Little did I know what she would come up with!

Not long after I returned, Danielle send me an innocent little e-mail, asking if I had heard of the Twisted Ankle Marathon in Summerville, GA?  Not only had I not heard of it, I could tell it was not even that close to Atlanta.  Whew!  I felt I had dodged a bullet because the name of it did not inspire confidence in the least.  My one and only marathon experience so far has been on a course as smooth as silk and as flat as a fritter!

I was slightly relieved to learn she was not planning on deciding anything until after her next ultra.  ULTRA!  See, she is WAY more experienced with hills and rocks and roots and distances over 26.2 miles than I.  However, she had planted a tiny seed in my mind, and I decided it would not be a bad idea to start implementing a bit of hill training into my workouts.

The day of decision came, and she confirmed that she would still loved to run this race if I were game.  Gulp.  I re-examined the elevation chart for the course.  From the look of it, we were going to need pick-axes and pulleys to get up Becky's Bluff, and we were literally going to be jumping off a cliff to get down from it!  Double gulp.  I also stumbled upon a photo of last year's race shirt, confirming my expectations.  It featured a bunch of stick figure runners bounding along a trail and then falling, willy-nilly, off the edge of the mountain.  Triple gulp!

The one secret to knowing me, though, is in understanding my strong need to face challenges and to conquer them.  Don't ever tell me something is too hard or that I'm not tough/smart/strong/etc. enough to do something.  My husband sort of fell into this trap when I broached the idea of this race to him.

Here is his response to my e-mail:
"Couple of things to consider:  1. The name – Twisted Ankle – not good.  That’s like going scuba diving at shark bait reef.  2. The name – it is another marathon.  3. Trail run?  You tripped on a speed bump that was probably clearly marked. You're more of a flat surface girl.  4. Hills?  Again, your more of a flat surface girl.  Just kidding – We can discuss tonight.  Rob"
First-and-foremost, I promptly corrected his grammar in using the word "your" instead of "you're!"  Yep, I am queen of grammar here at home (ha ha!). Then, never minding the fact that all his observations were quite true and reasonable, I nevertheless continued to ask if he minded if I spent the day before Mother's Day (emphasis on Mother's Day) up in the mountains.  Sweet man that he is, he immediately knew it was useless to try to negotiate!

So, with fear and trepidation, I confirmed to Danielle that I was a "yes" for this twisted torture thing and suggested that we both might need to find a Runners Anonymous group really soon.

Next, I found the race page on Facebook and saw that they were having a training run on April 20th.  It sounded like a good idea for me to see what I was in for, so I cleared my calendar and planned to attend this little soiree.

I will post all the juicy details in a separate post in just a bit...

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