Sunday, August 1, 2010

Catherine's 50K and Season Wrap-Up

Lifeguards cannot close their eyes. It is our job to see it all, to take everything in. And this was never a problem for me until the morning the man in the maroon velvet Speedo sauntered onto my pool deck. He was a corpulent man of bulk, yet he moved confidently and began a routine of side stretches alongside the pool. I surveyed the scene with unease. It was my job. For the first time in my life, I regretted that I am a girl with clear vision.

I have clear vision, but I can never seem to find a trail. At every fork in a path I second-guess myself, and the directional options seem n-dimensional. It is negatively affecting my race times, comically so. My new favorite race maneuver is running back—retracing the trail—to find the next person coming up to ask them where to go. Extra credit miles. Better safe than sorry.

Last Saturday, I ran in the Catherine’s 50K in the beautiful Massanuttens. It was only 6 days after the Lone Ranger 24-Hour event, but I decided to run anyway because:

1.I would get to see my VHTRC friends.
2.I hadn’t put my racing gear away yet, so it was just sitting there all ready for me. Old water from the week before was still in my water bottles. Just kidding. But seriously, though. No, no. I dumped it out.
3.Running on a paved circle for a day is very different than running an out-and-back mountain trail.

Catherine’s was a casual event. Business casual. The day before, I trained a double (45 minutes of biking plus a 15-mile run), and I added some lifting. I set my alarm that night and fell asleep in the clothes I would run in the next day. Simplify, simplify.—Henry David Thoreau.
But my alarm did not go off, and when I woke up, the sun was already up. 6:28 a.m. My worst nightmare had come to fruition, and there was no way I could make it to the start in time.
I jumped into the car and drove south. When I finally got there, it was 8:20, so the run had already begun. I tucked into the forest and saw ...................................................nobody.

Well, there were some deer. I’m glad deer are not hostile animals. They always catch me when I’m alone.

I bore down and hurried through the trails, and before long, I was surrounded by a sea…a C…a vhtrC of runners. Sophie was there! About 80% of what I know about ultramarathoning, I learned from reading her blog over the past couple of years. I saw Mike and Jeff, Bobby, Bethany, the Kniplings, and so many other wonderful people. Bill Gentry—man among men—was celebrating his 100th official ultramarathon. That was AMAZING! I picked my way through and settled into a pace. My legs felt light, and the fresh air was wonderful. There were streams to cross and a profusion of slippery rocks, sweeping the spread of the course. It was wild.

I got lost a bunch of times. That was frustrating. It was entirely my fault, though, not a reflection of the course at all. Just me, spending too much time inside of my head. Story of my life. I just don’t like running backwards or waiting as the clock ticks.

Tick tock on the clock, but the party don’t stop, no. Oh oh oh ohhhh. –Ke$ha.
If I were a rapper or a mononymous, trisyllabic diva like Madonna, my name would be $abrina, in homage to Ke$ha, my social ethics role model. I like that she talks her songs, rather than actually singing, and isn’t even very good at talking. I also agree with every morally-loose sentiment she expresses.

The temperature creeped up to 107, so it was basically heaven. I wish all of life were held in a sauna. When the race finished, there was a barbecue. I stayed for a bit but had to head back to the dog I was babysitting. This dog is ruining my social life. I think he appreciates me because I sang him the complete works by Taylor Swift before bed last night, inserting his name in place of every noun. As I was sitting here writing this, he just brought me one of my shoes. He even nibbled down the back a bit so it’s softer and easier to put on. I am thankful for that.

Since April, I have raced five times (Umstead, Happy Pacers Race, Old Dominion, Lone Ranger, and Catherine’s). That’s the most I have ever done in this short a period, and I still feel strong and healthy! I have gained a lot of race experience and confidence. Now I am resting for a bit and easing into graduate school. My feet are a veritable mess following the season, but I am not concerned. My sister once tried to get me to have a pedicure, but I’m not even pedi-curious as to what non-running feet would look like.

Next up: North Coast 24 in Cleveland (September!!!) and then the Grindstone-100 in October. It will be so fun to return to the Grindstone and see my old friends. Bobby Gill: rematch? You on? I am going to work hard.


  1. $abrina! Awesome run, hilarious post as usual. So glad you made it for the time, stay for the fun! Hope to see you soon.

  2. Love your blog, Sabrina. Absolutely love it. Hilarious! And then some!


  3. Is it considered a rematch if I'm not trained? Either way, it's on like donkey kong. Bring it, $abrina.

    And I agree with Soph; stay for the fun next time! Dogs welcomed and encouraged.

    - Bobb¥

  4. whoa bean - no shout-out to your crew for the masochist or the grindstone? week