Welcome to Runfessions, hosted by Marcia, who writes the blog Marcia’s Healthy Slice. Here, we confess our running sins to purify our running souls (and soles).
This month, I have three things to racefess. Three trail racefessions, to be precise.
The Race I Came This Close To Not Finishing
Earlier this month, Bill and I did a timed trail race near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. In a timed race, you run for a specific time, rather than distance.
This race had three versions – three hours, six hours, and twelve hours. Bill and I did the wimpy three-hour run. Racers ran around a 5k loop.
There were a lot of things to love about this race.
The course was very runnable – lots of roots, but few rocks. There were two significant climbs and lots of rolling hills, to add some variety. The temperature was perfect. The predicted rain was absent, but there had been just enough rain the day before to create some awesome mud.
Bill and I ran together and easily completed three loops. At the end of the third loop, I looked at him. “One more?” I asked. “Sure.“
We finished the fourth loop, still had time to do another, and I felt good.”One more?” I asked again. “I was 95% sure you were going to say that,” Bill replied.
I runfess, I was this close to saying I was ready to stop after that fourth loop, just to be contrary, and my fingers are very close together. I resisted my spiteful impulse. We ran the fifth loop.
I’m glad we did. I wound up winning second female overall. Bill was the fourth male overall and first in his age group.
The Race When I Led Others Astray
About a month ago, Bill and I did a 10k trail race in mid-state Pennsylvania.
It was a tough race, but not ridiculous. Trail racers call our state Rocksylvania due to races like this one.
The trails were rocky. Very rocky.
As you get older, you can stay in good running shape by training, working out, doing resistance work. One thing you cannot do anything about is the elasticity in your joints begins to deteriorate. Your shock absorbers start to go. This makes running over rocky terrain difficult.
There were many sections of this hilly, rocky course where I slowed down to a walk.
The end of the race, however, was something different. It was a screaming downhill on a flat surface, and I was flying. Bill was slightly behind me and another couple, who looked to be about our age, was behind Bill.
As we approached the parking lot where the race began, I noticed some cones across the trail. Not realizing the significance of the cones, I bypassed them, exited the woods, and entered the parking lot. Bill and the other couple followed me.
We all stood in the parking lot, confused and blinking.
The finish line was nearby but at the other end of the parking lot. You couldn’t get there from where we were because it was enclosed in plastic fencing.
I runfess, I missed a turn.
I hightailed it back to the cones with Bill and the other couple in close pursuit. There, I saw a small, unmarked walking path that led to the finish line. Bill and I bolted.
As we crossed the finish line, Bill said something like, “That was terrible.” Except he may have used some saltier words I didn’t include in my quote.
We both won our age group. The couple who followed us? Not in our age group.
The Race When I Was Almost Killed By A Bug
Our last race was a trail four-miler near State College, Pennsylvania. 2021 was the first year for this tiny race.
The loop course was not difficult or technical. Some of it was in the woods on dirt single-track and some was on a mowed grass path.
There were a few climbs, but the terrain was mostly nice, rolling hills.
At mile 3.5, Bill and I were cruising through a wooded section of the loop when a bug flew into my mouth.
It was awful.
At first, I thought it was a bee stinging the back of my throat, but now I believe it was one of those big flying ants. He was biting the fleshy part of the roof of my mouth next to my epiglottis.
I runfess, I couldn’t get the bug up or down.
He was just at the right spot to trigger my gag reflex. I retched and thought I was going to lose my breakfast by the side of the trail. My eyes were watering, my nose was running, and I was gagging and spitting.
At first, Bill thought I was being overly dramatic, then he realized I was in trouble. I thought my tongue was swelling, but it was the flesh on the roof of my mouth.
I finally spit the bug out and bolted for the finish line. I wanted to get there in case I needed medical attention.
I had what looked like a big mosquito bite on the inside of my mouth but my breathing was never affected.
I got a drink of water, blew my nose, ate some mini-quiches, and felt much better.
I also won my age group.
Thank you for joining me for this month’s Runfessions. I am sure I will have plenty of running (mis)adventures to runfess by the end of June.
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