Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1

This past Saturday I woke up at 5:42 a.m. to get ready for the first-ever Idiots Running Club Skunk Run to be held on trails in Mark Twain National Forest near Nottinghill. My marathon training plan called for 16 miles, and I was honestly worried I might not be able to get all of these in. The last time I ran this trail area I tripped almost the whole time with one bad crash (you can see previous post to view wound picture). We ran 11 miles last time, and my body was hurting all over and I could barely pick up my feet. Going in to this run, my first priority was to NOT get injured, especially with the marathon only being six weeks away! The second priority was to get my 16 miles in and have some fun.
It felt awesome outside, cool and humid with a chance of thunderstorms.
Mom, Dad, and I got our shirts, signed in, and pinned on our bibs and we took off. There were three different loops to run: the Turnip Loop, which was about an 10 mile loop (that's the loop I did last time), the Cujo Loop which is about five-miles loop and the Baldwin Cemetery Loop which was about three miles. (David Murphy and Jon Wilson named the loops - maybe they will blog about how they came up with the names one day.) Dad and I decided to do the Turnip Loop first and go from there. As we were running, we realized it was getting warmer. I started sweating instantly which isn't really out of the norm for me. Dad started to sweat and he said, "Well if I'm starting to sweat you must be drenched by now." Somewhere around that point we decided it might be smart to get as many of our miles done in the morning as possible in case it got really hot that afternoon. We both felt great on the run. The difference in how we felt between this time and last time was amazing. One thing we've changed on our long runs is we've started eating these energy snacks called Honey Stingers. When I was telling Jon Wilson about how achy I was getting on my long runs he suggested I drink more and eat something. I never feel like eating while running and if you have read my previous posts you know I am not a fan of gu. Dad and I both really like the Honey Stingers, they are like big fruit snacks and they chew up really easily. We have both noticed a huge difference in our long runs since we started eating these and drinking more. We ran a couple miles then would walk and eat a Honey Stinger and drink some water. David Murphy ran with us for a little while which was inspiring.. the dude has ran 100 miles in less than 24 hours... TWICE! We are a little slower than David so he took off, Dad and I were in awe of how fast he went!
On our way back to the tent, we ran by a cooler and I thought about grabbing a bottle of water, but felt like we were getting close to the aid station tent so decided not to mess with it... big mistake. We somehow missed the turnoff for the trail that would take us to the tent and we ran to the highway and boy, was I thirsty! We ran into a kid named Nathan who was from Nixa. He was just starting out running and had already finished the Turnip Loop. I told him I thought he was a natural.
It turned out to be a little blessing that we missed that turnoff to the tent, because on our way to the highway, we heard a really loud noise up in the trees and we looked up and a huge turkey flew right over our heads. Sweet!
Oh my goodness, I just have to say I have enjoyed running with my dad so much. He is so entertaining. I am always laughing and smiling. We had a blast on the trails. He told me some hilarious childhood stories and then, out of nowhere, he would start singing these crazy old country songs. Some of the titles were "Don't Squeeze My Sharman," "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," "Oh Lord, It's Hard To Be Humble" (this one was my favorite and had me rolling with laughter). My husband's grandma got diagnosed with cancer three weeks ago and passed away last week. It was very sudden, and it really made me appreciate my time with my family even more than I already do. Once we got back to the tent, we each had a few peanut butter cookies my mom had made, refilled our drinks and headed back out to finish up our miles. 

Next we headed to the Cujo Loop, we had to walk more of this one, not because of tired legs, but because it started pouring rain and there were a lot of slick rocks. Right before it started raining Dad said, "I think we are gonna get wet." I looked down at my soaked shirt and said, "Get wet? I'm already soaked! I can't find a dry spot on my shirt to wipe off my sweat!" 
It felt amazing running in the warm rain. The thunder was getting really loud and the sky was getting darker and darker.  We stopped to get some water, and Dad said a prayer to keep everyone who was out there safe. It worked, God is good. The rain eased up to a light drizzle, and the temperature cooled off a bit.
Everywhere we looked it was so beautiful. The redbud trees had bloomed, pine trees lined the trails, and it was just breathtaking. Dad and I couldn't stop talking about how incredibly different we felt this time compared to the last time we ran these trails. Last time we thought we were going to die and this time we were talking and having so much fun. I guess all of this training is really paying off! After the Cujo Loop, we needed another couple miles and wanted to make sure we got to check out all of the trails so we headed for the Baldwin Cemetery loop. I think this was my favorite loop. The trail was shady and smooth and thick with pine needles. At the turn-around point, there's little cemetery in the woods, with several graves marked with standing flat unmarked stones - all except one. One marker was engraved, but the words were so old, all we could read was the year - 1897. David did an internet search with his phone and found out that the grave was for Roy Lane, infant son of J.M. and G.E. Lane, born and died Jan. 1, 1897.
We got our 16 miles in, and I swear, if I wasn't so worried about twisting an ankle before the marathon I would have went out for more. We met up with Mom and walked a couple more miles with her in the rain and talked about how much we all enjoyed our day and about how far we have come. I am so proud of all of us. After all that running, we were happy to come to the aid station and find Jon Wilson grilling the most deicious-smelling burgers and hotdogs. There were Oreos, S'mores, fruit, chips and lots of stuff. Oh my gosh, everything tasted like a bite of heaven. 

Please don't judge our appearance from this photo. Yikes.
Jon presented us with our awesome medals that the GHS Art Club designed and made for the Skunk Run, and we headed home. Still to this day, we can't stop talking about what a great time we all had. 
God created this beautiful place for us to live. We all need get outdoors more often and enjoy His creation.

Ready to order shirts!!

Here are proofs of what our tech shirts are going to look like for the marathon.  
So far I have 23 orders for them. If I get 25 shirt orders the cost goes from $23 a shirt to $16 a shirt so let me know if anyone would like to order one. They are going to be bright pink, Cara's favorite color. I am hoping to get them all ordered by Friday. They said it will take a couple weeks to get them in. I can't believe there are only six weeks until the marathon. This Saturday, I go 18 miles which will be my farthest yet. I can't wait to see how it goes! The following week I am going to California for a baby shower for my friend Tiffany, who is pregnant with twins. I am curious to see how I do on my training while being on vacation. Luckily, my long run is only 12 miles that weekend. 

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