Picking up from yesterday with the actual race (moving on from all the gushing),
Forests are scary. The sound of a woodpecker stopped me in my tracks, because I thought it was the sound of a dog. Whenever I’m alone in a possibly unsafe place, I’m pretty sure everything is a dog.
From a distance a lot of plants look like animals. Then they don’t move at all. And you’re pretty sure they’re plants. Still, doesn’t hurt to walk up slowly just in case.
There were times when tree branches above me would shake, and I’d feel leaves (or at least I hope something as innocent as leaves) come down on my head. What was up there making them shake? Obviously it couldn’t just have been wind or something. That’d be preposterous. I’m sure there were probably dogs in the trees. Just don’t look up. You’ll be okay. Probably.
There was a point when I heard a really loud noise, and looked over and saw a big red spot on a tree. This worked really well with my whole “pretend I’m an actress on Criminal Minds” scenario, because that noise could’ve been anything. And that red stuff was obviously blood.
In addition to terrifying parts, there were gross parts. Since I was surrounded by so many trees, I was in the shade practically all day. Oftentimes I didn’t need to wear my sunglasses. (Almost unbelievable for a daytime marathon, right? But it’s true.)
Cover your eyes and skip to the next paragraph, ’cause this part is gross. Some little creature flew directly into my right eye! Ewwww! It happened to fast, I couldn’t stop him. My eye whipped shut naturally. As I opened it, I saw (and heard) goo. Eeewww! So gross, right?
There were moments of wonderfulness as well. There were a few times when we had to cross a street. An honest to goodness street. That’s paved. Those were always the happiest five steps I took.
And as much as I love to complain about all the tiring, scary, gross things that were happening, there was one thing that was super cool. We got to climb this random wall of roots. Climbing was the one place where I actually succeeded pretty well, which is a bit odd because I have absolutely no upper body strength. Somehow though, shimmying up that wall is the one thing I did faster than the people around me.
I suppose when you’re just walking a trail, it’s easier to climb a wall-like structure than when you’re leaving everything you have out there, as some of the 100 mile racers were doing.
Speaking of enjoyable things, I also enjoyed every aid station, and all the volunteers I met. The rest stops were super well stocked, and the volunteers were total sweethearts – even to me, the slowest marathoner in the history of the race (I’m guessing).
Once I made it to the aid station more than a half marathon in, I sat for a while. I was so. tired. I did the math and realized I was going to be finishing in the dark. Luckily, my parents had happened to run into someone who had an extra light. It’s nice to have a problem fixed before I even thought of it. Wouldn’t it be great if all of life’s troubles were that easy?
I’ll adventure back into the woods tomorrow.