Teri’s Trail Wander – MCTU 25k
Most likely, more stories of guts and glory regarding this trail race will be posted. I imagine they will be unique, heartfelt, and if you are the least bit curious about trail running – very, very informative.
In the meantime, here’s my melanged re-cap of my subjective experience on a truly one-of-a-kind event….
Some races are about strength, endurance, and good old fashioned competitiveness, and some races are about humility, patience, and surrender. Can you guess which experience was mine?
This was my first trail race of any kind and the first race I’ve run since my hamstring tear. This was also the most challenging race that I’ve done since joining Memphis In Motion. And finally, this was – by far and away – my favorite.
I am now an official Dirt Bag! (Honestly, I’d prefer ‘Earth Mother Runner’, ‘Soil Spirit’, ‘Mud Puppy’, even ‘Groundling’, as opposed to ‘Dirt Bag’, but the name originated long before I ever dreamed of being a trail runner – so it’s done.)
Simply put – the terrain was beautiful. At every turn there was a vista of some kind – whether it be a forested green mountain ridge against a June blue sky, an expansive sunny meadow filled with fleabane, oxeye daisy and golden rod, or clear streamed creek shoals with banks spotted in wild rose and Indian Paintbrush (our wildflower of the day). It was all as lovely as the trail was long.
Oh yes, long and tough and no it does not – as Dylan Thomas wrote – …. “go gentle into that good night.” I guess that’s why they call these things ‘HardWin’ events. That is not to say it is not absolutely wonderful! As I said before, it is by far and away my favorite race and every Horticulturist’s or Botanist’s dream. I suppose one could say every Ornithologist’s dream and Tim might say every Herpetologist’s dream – but I wander.
Oh yes, and then I wandered. No I didn’t get lost (thank you homies for keeping me on the trail every time I got distracted by a flower). It was because my leg began to seize around mile 8-9, and no matter how many times I stopped to stretch it never really stopped stiffening. By mile 12 my IT Band started talking, so I stopped and stretched more frequently.
(This is where I take my hat off to my cohorts – Kathy and Molly. Kathy monikered us ‘ The Three Amigas’ and we stuck together to the end – if not literally at least figuratively. Whether it was getting heart rates down, cooling down, or stretching out, we hung together. Thank you Amigas!)
By mile 13-14 I could no longer run. The IT Band, hamstring, and whole right leg ‘checked-out’ and so I finished the last 3.8 miles “Festus-Gangnam-Style”. Yes, it was weird. Imagine going up and down mountain trails doing a kind of side-saddle, hopping-crab walk. Even the hardcore competitive 50K dudes that passed me slowed down just to watch me in action. I like to think of them as fans but it was probably more out of bemusement and/or flat-out horror. Odd looking to put it mildly, but in a way, I am so grateful it happened. Yes, I just said that.
See, it allowed me to really ‘see’. I could really look at the flora and the fauna. It allowed me to quiet my mind. I could think about my loved ones I am so grateful for and those going through difficult, difficult times. I thought, “This is nothing! I will finish…..it may be midnight when I cross the line…..but I will finish!” It was a very humbling and moving experience. So – I took my time, not that I had a choice, but I got to truly enjoy my surroundings. I saw lizards, butterflies of every variety, a wild turkey, hawks and either a porcupine or a groundhog – I don’t know which. Perhaps that stirring in the brush ‘neath the giant log that I hobbled over was a Mamushi – my snake totem of the day – one never knows.
Not really knowing how far I had yet to go because my Garmin had long since died, I slowly hobbled the last few miles, I thought about post-race doings… “I’ll drive back to the hotel and check with the gals to see if they’re coming back to watch the guys cross the finish line….” then I came to the clearing,
“Oh wow! I may be near the end! Blessed Be!”,( these words may or may not have been said aloud because by that time I was just a tad bit touched in the head), and so I began the long meadow-hobble towards the finish line.
Suddenly I heard..”Cmon, Run Teri! Run! Run Teri!” It was Molly’s voice yelling at me to hurry up. Then I heard the rest of the gang…”C’mon Teri!”…and so I tried my best to muster up some might and I crab-ran it in….Festus-Gangnam Style. No, this wasn’t pretty but it got the job done.
There they all were: Molly, Kathy, Kathleen, and Lisa, waiting for the last one of the gals to clambor across the finish line. True Blue! My Memphis In Motion Homies.
Shakespeare wrote a play entitled, ‘All’s Well That End’s Well’. I might write a play entitled ‘All’s Well That End’s Well With ICE’. The scene would be set in a little village by the name of Staubville. The cast of characters would be the citizens of Staubville…..but here I go wandering off again.
In reality, the Music City Ultra Trail Run is NOT the first race that I would do post-rehab, but it IS one that I would do again in a heartbeat!
Albeit a controlled 75% efforted one.
Here Is To The VERY FIRST Music City Ultra Trail Race!
Long May She Live!