Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hawk Marathon Report

A few weeks ago I decided that I needed a really long training run for Flatrock and Prairie Spirit and I knew people doing the Hawk marathon, so I decided to give it a shot. I ran it yesterday and I'm still not really sure if I made the right decision or not. Regardless, I did it! I also got 26.2 miles of single track on my legs which will hopefully help me at the end of this month.

Friday afternoon I drove up to Lawrence and had dinner with my friend Libby, then went to her house to spend the night. It was really fun to spend some time with her and I got to meet her husband and her super scary dog. It's a great dane and I think it's head comes up to my shoulder!

Saturday morning came way too fast! I got up at 5 am and started getting ready. We left at 6 and detoured to Dunkin Donuts so Libby could get coffee. I wanted some, but that would cause issues I really didn't want to deal with on a trail race. I had already taken care of that ;) We got to the race, found parking, sprayed bug spray, and headed to the start line. I saw my friend Justin there and talked to him for a little bit. I tried my best to talk him into jumping into the race at some point and running with me, but I guess he felt like pacing someone later in the night was more important. Geez. Running with me while I whine vs pacing someone to their first 100 mile finish. I can't imagine why he didn't pick me! Also at the beginning I saw Jason who was running with his friend Indika. I ended up running a lot of the beginning of the race with them.

Me striking a pose before the race

The race got started with little fanfare, as is typical at trail races. The first mile and a halfish I was with Jason and Indika. Then we went up a big hill and they ran while I walked. I could have ran it, but I knew I had a long day ahead of me and had no interest in burning out early. I ran by myself a bit, then caught back up with the group, which was Indika, Jason, Sarah, Eric, and two people whose names I didn't get. They were a couple (I assume) and she was pregnant. After a bit she had to stop for the bathroom so I was then following the other four.

A pic from early in the race (thanks Eric!)

I stayed with that group through the first aid station, then we all left together too. The next section was tricky! Big boulders along the shoreline. I knew I didn't want to fall through here.

Shortly after the aid station Eric and Sarah broke from the group. Not long after that I slowed down and Jason and Indika kept going. I was by myself most of the rest of the race. After the second aid station we did a little out and back on Bunker Hill. It's grassy and completely out in the open. Not a lot of fun! During this section I started walking with an older gentleman. I can't remember how many marathons he has ran, but I know this was his third one this month. It was really enjoyable to talk to him. He left the next aid station a little bit ahead of me, but was moving slow and I passed him. That was maybe halfway? I don't know. My watch was off and I get a little fuzzy on the details.

The section to the last aid station sucked. I got down on myself and I just kept thinking nasty, horrible thoughts about how much I suck. Why on earth do I do that to myself? I've got to stop. I'm my own worst enemy. I was sooo happy to see the last aid station. I got some food and drink and headed back out. Shortly after that I took this photo
I was feeling anything but happy, but I figured fake it til you make it! Knowing I only had 6 miles to go motivated me a little, but I was pretty darn tired. The trail was pretty rough and I haven't done a lot of  trails over the summer. I was definitely not prepared. During this section I was really up and down emotionally. I convinced myself that I'm not ready and never will be for Flatrock or for Prairie Spirit. I convinced myself that I was going to email Eric (race director for both races) and back out.

When I finally got to the finish line I was so happy, followed by feeling like crap. Libby tried to take my picture and I started crying and walked away. I wanted to just sit down and cry. I think I freaked her out a little :) I waved at her to follow me and she's so nice that she did. She was listening to me whine when Justin came over to tell me something. He talked to me a minute, then went back over to help. I finally calmed down a bit and Libby went to get me a cheeseburger. How awesome is she? Seriously, everyone needs a friend like her. She's the best. When she got back with my food she told me that Justin told her I had 5 more minutes to feel sorry for myself. I asked what he was going to do if I didn't stop and the answer was kick me in the head. It sounded like something he would say and made me smile.

I sat around feeling sorry for myself a bit longer and then went to change clothes. I talked to Justin a bit and told him I was thinking about dropping from Flatrock. He said something I probably shouldn't repeat on here, then told me again he was kicking me. On the way home I was messaging Justin's wife Joell and she was much nicer in her encouragement!

I got up early this morning and ran 10 miles. I thought if I could do 10 miles on a really hilly route the day after a tough trail marathon maybe I could reach my goals. It wasn't pretty, but I got it done! Then later I had a conversation with Justin and he gave me some great advice and I'm feeling a lot better. At this time, I have every intention of finishing Flatrock and Prairie Spirit! I need to stick to my training and stay mentally tough and I can do it.


  1. Mel,

    I'm not much of a runner (working on increasing the distance), and definitely not an ultrarunner, but I like your writing style. Found your blog through the KS connection (I'm in Lawrence)via a search and it led me to research Kansas ultras in detail. There is quite a bit out there that I didn't know about. Although, my wife and I are friends with a woman who completed a trail marathon around here recently, and I had actually never heard of a marathon done exclusively on trails. And I was intrigued.

    From now on, I will be a faithful reader of your blog. Added you to my blogroll.

    Thanks for writing about your experiences and sharing with us all!

    -Ben Edwards

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed my blog. I think my writing style is "tell way more about myself than I should and regret it later!"

    If you're interested in running trails you should check out the Lawrence Trail Hawks. They're a pretty cool group! If I can answer any questions about trail running or ultra running I'd be happy to!