17.75

Day 99

I have been quiet the past week in term of running and really about two weeks since I put up 40+ miles. I really didn’t do much running due to work. I did not have to stay over time but it was extremely stressful and I was a zombie after I got off.

For example, one day after work, I got on the train as usual thinking it was my train. I was sure it was my train, but didn’t realize it until it was like 10 stops later. My train does share the same track as this train until the split three stations down. Even then there was no excuse for mishearing the announcement at each station in which they would announce the color of line and destination. I missed it for like 10 stops until I looked out the window and saw the airport. My home was not any where near the airport, so only then did I realize it was the wrong train.

The whole week was like that.

Finally weekend came. What a relief. I had a full day. I had a race on Saturday morning, a 17.75 K, about 11 miles long, in the Prince William Forest. 17.75 represents year 1775 when the US Marine Corp was incorporated.

I signed up this race originally to get into the Marine Corp Marathon in October. Those who successfully finish the 17.75 race is can bypass the lottery system for the marathon. However for me, I already got into the marathon because I will be doing the 50k ultra.

The race started at 7 but we were advised to get there by 5 because we had to take a bus to the starting line (no car can park at the start line). I set my alarm for 3:30 since it would take about a hour to drive to the bus stop. I went to bed too late and slept through it. Luckily my mom called me at 4 though for an unrelated issue but that woke me up. To the race I went. I already had my clothes laid out and so, even though overslept I was not late.

The morning was cold. The previous night we had a hail storm and high wind. Temperature steadily dropped from I think from the 50s to 30s and reaching 32 at 6:00 am. I was cold. I haven’t run for a week.

The start for me was not good but I was in high spirit. There were more than 3000 runners. Surprisingly there were not a lot of fast runners. Most people around me were taking the race in a relaxing pace.

After a mile we entered the forest. We had trail, gravel trail. Most people were road runners and were not used to mud and streams and rocks. I felt at home. They tried to go around puddle by getting off trail and going behind trees, etc. I stayed on trail and ran through any mud I found.

Still because I think of lack of preparation, by mile three I was done. I was out of breath and my body wanted to stop. I couldn’t keep the pace and people whom I passed earlier were now passing me back.

The trail portion ended and we got on paved road for most of the way. I as now tired. I had to reached deep inside me, by looking at the sky and trees and detached myself from the race. It helped. For rest of the race, my breathing calmed down. I could breath easily by mile six. I muscles though were not good.

There were lot of hills. I think the first six miles were up hill and the remaining were mostly down except for I think at mile 9. There were couple of gigantic hills. I had to walk on those hills.

I didn’t race so much for time. I was basically done by mile 6, so for the rest of the race, I was just hoping to finish.

The last mile was a struggle. Everyone sped up, I was too but it was tiring. The feeling of crossing the finish line was both a relief and a feeling of checking off a box. I got my medal and food. I got my photo taken.

The whole race was well organized. I took a bus back to my car and rushed to the next event.