Sunday, October 07, 2012

2012 Bizz Johnson Half Marathon Trail Run

It was 4:30 a.m. and I woke up with one of the worst hangovers I could remember.  If that wasn't enough torture, I also had a half marathon to run which was nearly twice the distance of the trail run that I ran last Sunday.  Someone put me out of my misery right now.
As dizzy and crappy as I had felt, I made a commitment and didn't want to quit before I had even started.  So I met up with six other women and we drove North for an hour to Susanville, CA for the Bizz Johnson Half Marathon Trail Run.
Trail photos taken by Diane.
Since all of us were running the half marathon, we started at the same time and place; at 9 a.m., together with runners doing the the 10K.  I was told the weather was warmer this year than the previous year but I still wore my Nike running hat and knickers instead of shorts.  I had a running tank top (with pockets in the back for gels and my iPod) and I even wore the technical shirt I received for the event as an additional layer because the temperature would not be much warmer than 65F degrees by the time I finished.  It was sunny but I wish I had worn fingerless gloves to keep my hands from going numb during the cool, crisp morning.
The route for the 10K and half marathon started at an old train depot, along a trail that must've paved the way for old train tracks. It was very scenic.  When the race began we stomped over several bridges and the first one bounced back at us like a trampoline.  It would have been a really cold to plunge into ice-cold creek below.  We ran through several deep tunnels along the way.  It was dark so having a headlamp would have been helpful even though the organizers had laid down several glowsticks as guides.
I felt okay even though my starting pace was faster than when I ran the Rock-n-River in May.  When the turnaround point for the 10K approached, I wanted so badly to change my course but I kept on going.  There was NO turning back now as I shuffled towards completing the half marathon.  The trail is slightly uphill until the turnaround point which was at the halfway point.  Then it was slightly downhill and I started to pick up my pace.  Still I had quite a ways to go so I slowed down for fear that I wouldn't finish the half marathon.

Then after mile 9, I hit a wall.  My body ran out of energy and my legs felt like lead...aside from the gels I had consumed every hour, my stomach wouldn't keep anything down from the time I woke up until after the race when we stopped for lunch.  All of a sudden it was SO much effort to move my legs as I slowed down to a walk.  I had serious doubts as to whether I could finish.  A runner caught up to me, she had been chasing me and so we ran together for a while.  Motivating each other and getting to know each other.  Then I couldn't keep up with that pace (looking back at my stats, my pace per mile decreased and I ran slower each mile).  That wasn't the plan...I was suppose to run faster until the finish.  Suddenly I found myself doubting whether I could finish the last three miles or two miles that I had left.  Seriously?!  Normally it's a distance I can finish during my lunch hour and here I am debating what would happen if I just stopped running.  Then and there.

But obviously I didn't.  I told myself "one foot in front of the other" and that was the ONLY way I will cross that finish line.  One foot in front of the other and that's what I did until the end. 
I finished in 2:27:23 not too far from my time in the Rock-n-River half marathon ... but that course is flatter, on the road instead of a trail, and I was not hungover.  No matter the time it took, I finished...and I surprised myself because I could have chosen not to do the race and just watched.  I could have quit but I didn't.  I finished under 2.5 hours and that's not bad considering that I just started running this year and haven't ran much over the summer.
The positive part of this post is that, despite feeling awful, I really enjoyed my time jogging on the trail.  The road trip, the celebratory lunch afterwards, and best of all a running adventure with my new friends!!  There will always be next year or another half marathon...but this past weekend was something I am SO glad I did not pass up.
Lunch at Pioneer Cafe and fresh tomatoes picked from Diane's garden.
1. Coverage of the Bizz Johnson Marathon on

2. More photos taken in Susanville, CA on Flickr:
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1 comment:

JoeinVegas said...

Well, looking ahead, there is one sure way to avoid having a hangover on race day.