The Skippo

I’m having a hard time writing this recap, because…well, I’ll just throw it out there.  I came in LAST in the 20K. 

And while I’m proud I finished, I’m embarrassed to be so darned BAD at running.  I mean, sure I’m better than those who don’t try, yada, yada, but really, honestly, I suck at running.  I’m very uncoordinated, and I have a really hard time with pretty much all physical activities.  Things just don’t come easy to me.

In a nutshell, I play the violin and I read really quickly and remember a lot of things.  I have a wonderful sense of direction and I enjoy wearing red pants.  Those are things I do well.

Running, not so much.

Okay, so now that THAT is out of the way.

The Skippo.

I signed up in August, and I had figured I’d run the Mo Cowbell in October then keep running.  That didn’t exactly happen due to some hip issues, and I considered dropping down to the 10K.  (The Skippo is a trail race that is a 10k loop.  You can run it once, twice, or three times.)  I thought the 20K sounded like fun, so that’s why I chose it.  Oh, and you get a medal afterwards.  I knew it would be challenging, but…I had no idea.

I told myself going into the race that I would run the 20K unless my hip were bothering me, in which case I would only run 10K.  That was, in my mind, my only out.

I was also “inspired” by fellow blogger Rose who had recently run an untrained half marathon (quote from her:  nobody expects you to set any land speed records), and by fellow local blogger Kate who was pushing herself to run the 30K.  As an added bonus, I was finally going to meet Kate (we’ve been reading each others blogs and commenting and tweeting at each other for a long time!)

The race started at 9 am.  I got there before 8 am and parked nearby.  I read a bit and then got out of the car to use the porta-potty and find Kate.  I did, and was introduced to many of her friends, most of whom I’m completely forgotten (so if you are reading this, please say hi and reintroduce yourself as I was really tired and I’m forgetful.)

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Here’s Kate and me.  She looks afraid of me.  I was way too smiley for what was about to happen.

Anyway, Kate’s friend Sarah and I realized we were around the same pace (hypothetically) so we decided to start running together. 

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Me at the beginning. 

The race started in waves and we were off.  Sarah was a good running companion because she was very chatty.  We kept a decent pace and the first couple miles were fairly flat.  Then we came to the famous Castlewood stairs.  There are 212 (I think) stairs you have to climb.  The first time through these I felt pretty darned good.  We were proud at the top, and stopped for a quick photo shoot.

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I look a little tired, but felt pretty good.  The next bit of the course was more downhill but not too rocky.  I get a little afraid of heights (ha, I’m incredibly afraid of heights, but luckily there wasn’t anything too bad)—sometimes I had to walk a bit but basically kept running.  Then there was a creek crossing and my feet got very wet.  After that there was a hill which I swear was straight up, and I had to walk most of that—that’s when I lost Sarah.  After the hill I kept running more often than not though a few times I lost my footing a bit and walked a bit to gain confidence.  I made it to the 10K line in around 1:30…slow, but not bad.  I felt strong as I went past. 

After about another mile is when things started going really downhill.  I was tired, thirsty, the bottoms of my feet and toes hurt, and was alone on the course except for other people just enjoying their day.  My feet were absolutely KILLING me and I couldn’t figure out if running or walking was worse so I kept alternating and both sucked.  I wished so much I had carried water with me—I hadn’t taken the weather into account at all in this sense—it was over 70 degrees which was very hot for me and for my “training” and I was dying.  I managed my way up the stairs for the second time just barely and was just plodding along.  The downhill I tried some running but I was feeling dizzy and tired and was worried about falling so I walked much more. 

The creek crossing I barely recall and finally I was back to the awful uphill that I’d been dreading.  GAH it was awful and I almost gave up.  I was getting passed by 30K er’s this whole time and a few friend’s of Kate’s encouraged me by name and that helped a little.  Getting passed by a guy walking his bike up the hill helped too, and finally I made it. 

I tried running a bit more but my calves just didn’t want me to, plus I was terrified of twisting my ankle.  I walked the rest.  I knew my time was terrible, but I was just glad to be done.

The finish line was pretty anticlimactic.  They probably weren’t even expecting any more 20K finishers and had to go retrieve my medal from somewhere else.  I felt like a bit of a loser 🙁   I got a mug and filled it with water (the mug is in the dishwasher right now so I don’t have a picture but there’s one on Kate’s blog) and then I headed towards my car.

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It’s a cool wooden medal.

Chris was worried since I’d taken much longer than I thought (3:24:26, to be exact) so I reassured him I was still alive, but that I needed to stop at a gas station to get some supplies.  I got a protein shake and a huge Gatorade.  I felt nauseous, thirsty, and was in pain all over.  Somehow I made it home! 

The weirdest thing was that then when I tried to eat later (first I napped a bit, but my legs hurt so much I was having a hard time with that!) I couldn’t—the roof of my mouth hurt like a sore throat hurts, and food hurt so much!  I actually had to stick with soft foods and liquids for two days.  Google tells me it was from being so thirsty.  In retrospect, I definitely should have a) trained more b) carried water and c) from reading Kate’s blog maybe I need salt tablets for my cramping calves.  Oh well!  I finished, and I didn’t give up, as much as I wanted to.  There’s something to be said for that, right? 

I’ll probably run this again next year and try to redeem myself 🙂 

The thing at least is this:  I’ve been terrified of coming in last in a race.  Now I have!  And it wasn’t so bad. 

7 thoughts on “The Skippo”

  1. Seriously, I’m so proud of you for doing the 20k when you were so not trained for it. I mean, it was stupid, but that’s so me. 🙂

    It was awesome meeting you finally. And yes, that hill was terrible and if you only walked “most” of it you’re far stronger than me. And of course you should do it next year. Last place schmast place. You rock!

  2. You rock as much or more than anybody who finished the race. Well done! It takes guts to run that race, but it takes real courage to finish that despite the obstacles that you faced. You and Kate are true inspirations. And you play the violin. For both reasons, you MUST do this again next year.

    Keep running and blogging,

    One of the guys who encouraged you by name (so glad it helped “a little”).

  3. Stairs and hills are EVIL! They can make huge difference in a race. It sounds like you did awesome! Pat yourself on the back.

    Everybody is different, but I have never used salt tabs…ever! I’ve never had any problems, not even sure what problems you are suppose to have. Could just be me/my body????

    That looks like a cool medal and the mug sounds awesome! Good job, you earned it!

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