And if that is true, I totally nailed my race this weekend.
The WTF (Winter Trail Frosty - get your minds out of the gutter) is a trail race at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, with a quarter marathon option and a half marathon. My super cool trail running friends had all ran the race last year and returned muddy but happy. So when plans were being made to make the two-hour drive to do it again, I knew I had to join.
As things played out - agreeing to pace Joe for the IT 100 and signing up for Another Dam 50K - the race seemed like an even better idea because it would get me on the trails, get me a long run and give me more time with the crew at the IT.
But I didn't count on missing a week of training thanks to the flu nor going nearly a month between my longest run (11.5 miles) and the race. I also didn't plan on showing up with the remnants of the flu - mostly a hacking cough - though I probably should given my past two races in Indianapolis were less than stellar because of illness. (I had a cold for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November and a stomach bug at at the Indy Mini in May.)
There I was, though. At the starting line on a cold and blustery day - the first in more than a week - swallowing a cough and staring at my Garmin, about to run a half marathon completely unprepared. I was nervous but I reminded myself that I have doubts at every race and the most important thing was to get time on my feet and experience on the trails.
At 10 a.m., the race started, taking us down the parking lot and around into the trail. The pace felt hard. Fast. And I was sure that I would not keep up, even though I was hoping to stick with some of the guys from the group. I looked down at my watch.
WTF. Seriously, WTF.
Sometimes, when I want my kids (read: Silas) to leave me alone, I throw them anything electronic to play with. Including my Garmin. I was paying for it now, as the watch was in bike mode and displaying my pace in mph. It's really helpful, especially if you are not good at running math and rarely run on the treadmill and only know that 6.0 is a 10-minute mile.
But who needs help, really, when you feel like ass in the first mile and know you need to start dropping back? Certainly not me.
Before I get overly bitchy and WTF is me, I had fun with my trail running buddies and enjoyed the course. It was two loops that took you through the woods, down steps, up hills and across a landbridge. Well, the landbridge wasn't so fun. It was a windy day - 20+ mph - and you were between two bodies of water. No protection. Just you, the water and the wind. Even though it was flat there, about half-way through the loop, I no likey.
The rest, though, was great. And the best part about being in the woods for nearly 2 1/2 hours is that I didn't hear "Mommy" once much less 15,000 times, which is about the current pace.
And I made myself think about that when the race started feeling tough in the second loop. It was partly my legs lacking the pep, which could have been due to my lack of experience on the trails or lack of endurance. Tough call. It made me want to walk, which left me coughing like a five-pack a day smoker, which left me feeling ... well, like WTF.
More than that, it was the mental weakness that plagued me, and I allowed it to dictate my outlook and fortitude. If I learned one thing, it's that I need to rediscover my inner bad ass and embrace the hell out of her before June 3.