Saturday, May 12, 2012

Avenue of the Giants

Once we arrived at our motel and changed into sneakers, Kate and I headed two miles up the road to the Drive Thru Tree in Leggett, CA. The owner of the Stonegate Villas had warned us of the steep climb coming back, but we ignored his precautions. Who the heck wanted to drive? We’d already spent 4 hours in a car and it was beautiful outside! About half way down the decent, Kate and I shared glances. Do we take a chance and keep walking downhill? Ok I am not trying to pull some hippy dippy nonsense (don’t get me wrong, I love both granola and incense), but this is exactly what we decided on our decent:

A. We weren’t going to walk back up the climb, seeing that I was racing the next day, instead we would meet some nice tourists that would give us a lift back up to the market. The market sat at the top of the climb, about a mile from our motel, and it was going to provide me with the funniest pre-race dinner ever, which included veggies, a noodle bowl, an orange, and some tortilla chips.

B. If A were to occur than I was going to have an incredible race the next day. As long as we have the ability to manifest things, why the heck not?

C. We didn’t even touch on the idea of A or B not occurring.

Ok so Kate and I were headed down the entrance to the Drive Thru Tree when a car pulled in and a nice couple from Austin welcomed us in the car. We got to ride with them right through the middle of a huge redwood and we got our planned lift to the market. Kate looked at me, “Ok, you know that was weird in a good way right? You know that means you’re going to kick butt in your race tomorrow right?” I really wanted to believe it, but I could sense my typical nerves over that next mile walk. I could feel that nagging tension in my right calf. I could hear that nagging doubt in my head. And, then our bag of groceries nearly ended up on the road as a leaking water bottle had developed a soppy hole. Luckily Kate and I were quick and we saved all the odds and ends. With our hands full, we made our way back to room #3. We enjoyed are simple dinner, some more conversation, and then we were in bed before the sun was completely set.

We woke-up and drove about an hour to the start. I was layered up and hour later would be pealing all those layers off. It was hot and sunny by the time I ventured off for a warm-up. I felt good and I had very little doubt even once I approached the start (This is VERY rare for me. I mean I ate an instant noodle bowl for dinner. I would think that I would at least be questioning my energy stores.) I knew I had one goal: to break my 1:19 half marathon rut. So when the gun went off that was my focus along with staying consistent and relaxed. I was immersed in the Redwoods and surprised when I went through mile one in 5:49. I settled into a 6 minute pace on the dot. At mile 10, I looked at my watch to see 59:59. The next few miles were a bit off, not because of my legs, but because of the obstacle course of half-marathoners and marathoners charging towards me as well as me weaving around 10kers. It all worked out fine as I hit the finish in 1:18:49. I finally have that 1:19 monkey off my back and even better, the reminder that my thoughts are powerful. Next time I will envision more than a noodle bowl for dinner. But, yes, we can manifest what happens on the trails, roads, in our lives as long as we’re willing to put in the hard work and trust that at some point there will be a pay off.
And just a couple thanks for those that made this day possible:
•Kate thanks for the company and encouragement. The sky is the limit for you babe! And that walk will be memorable for a long time!
•Mark thanks for giving me the confidence and strength to run faster. No doubt without that push I’d still in my 1:19 rut.
•And thanks Avenue of the Giants for having an absolutely beautiful half-marathon (my first road race that I can actually say was so beautiful I felt like I was on a trail.) Also thanks to the Team in Training bike pacer who encouraged me to kick that boys butt in front of me… next time!


willgotthardt said...

Ok I think I know you well enough to pretty much feel certain it'll be a ramen bowl pre-race meal from here on out...congrats on a fine fast result. [Cool monkey.]

wcaitlin said...

Ramen or hitch hiking at least one of the two.