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In fact, it didn't just kick my ass, I'm pretty sure it chewed it off completely then turned around and served it to me on a silver platter with flatware and condiments.<br><br>
Although, B thinks I'm just being dramatic. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
Bangin' in the Brush is an 11k trail run that happens north of Duluth at Korkki Nordic. Korkki is private land that has the prettiest cross-country ski trails ever. Every September, they have a trail run as a fundraiser - the first was 25 years ago to raise money to stop the sanitary district from putting a landfill next to the trails.<br><br>
There is no landfill there. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><br><br>
Today dawned beautifully. Not a cloud in the sky. Numerous raptors floating overhead on their individual migrations. The leaves are changing here and the colors are just spectacular.<br><br>
The two of us at my house are ready and excited for this race. This is the first time we'll have run a race together. Well, not together - but the first race we'll share memories of together.<br><br>
The race is supposed to start at 11:10 with registration opening at 9. We load up the car with recycling (hey - nothin' wrong with making the most of the trip) and head out at 9:50. Take care of recycling, head to Korkki to sign in and pick up our numbers. The plan was to then head back home and change into running gear and head back.<br><br>
Signed in, got our shirts (nice to have pre-registered as they ran out of shirts later), learned that we'd be given a number when we crossed the finish line, saw some familiar faces and lots of friendly ones. This is going to be great.<br><br>
Go home, chat with the painters (who all smoke and think we are crazy for choosing to do this), change, grab a change of clothes and decide - let's go back! We're ready.<br><br>
There are 168 people who are running this race. Fabulous - some for the first time like us, and others who have run it for years.<br><br>
The race director calls us over to give the final words of wisdom. He announces there's good news and bad news. The good news is that it rained (and it really did, we've gotten well over 5 inches of rain this past week, most of it Thursday and Friday). This, of course, is also the bad news. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
B and I are so ready for this. How cool to really be running the trails - crashing through streams, mud. . . at least all the hornets drowned in the rain. . .<br><br>
The race director tells us to get ready. B has a goal of an hour for the 6.6 miles. I line up at the very back. My goals are simple:<br><br>
1. Finish<br>
2. Run the whole way - and as this will be my longest run ever I'm going to be going slow and easy<br>
3. Leave nothing behind but footprints (I really want to keep my skin in one piece this time <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">)<br>
4. I did have a super secret time goal of 1:20.<br><br>
We start. The ground is soft, that takes a little getting used to. But hey - still cool. I'm happy to let people pass me - I'm findin' my pace. I know there are going to be hills and I really want to run the whole thing so I'm just runnin' my run.<br><br>
There is a lap around a field before we hit the woods. Families cheered the runners - some people camped before the race and there was a children's race before ours - talk about a great environment! There was even a cowbell! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
Then, they funnel us into the woods. This is not a wide trail. Nor is it neatly maintained. This is a wild trail.<br><br>
The first stream we cross has no bridge. How freakin' cool is this? I splash through and up the opposite bank. Still running. Little uphill. . .I can do this.<br><br>
A nice slope down. . .mud at the bottom. . .I knew I was gonna get dirty. . .gentle slope up. . .<br><br>
and up. . .<br><br>
down. . .whew. . .<br><br>
Still running.<br><br>
I'm the only one around me. Which is beautiful. Wait, there's a girl with her dad. She passed me earlier, now is walking - her dad says, "we went out pretty fast at the start." What a great thing to do with your child.<br><br>
Top of the hill, I cannot catch my breath at all. Dang it. Now I'm walking. Going through all the usual things I say and I still can't get my breathing to calm down. I'm not panicking but I can't get a deep breath in and that bothers me.<br><br>
Okay, fine, not gonna run the whole thing, at least I'll run most of it.<br><br>
For every up, there is a down. There were a lot of ups. Every down had mud at the bottom. Not just a little mud. Some of it was really just dirty water and some of it was the kind of mud that just might pull off your shoe. The shallowest places were over my ankle. Twice it was up to my knees.<br><br>
I have no idea how far along the trail I am. There are no maps, only signs for different loops. I knew I was past the 4k turnoff because I was still running at that point. Then - a sign for the 6.5k turnoff.<br><br>
Oh. god.<br><br>
Then the 7k turn off and the pink ribbons show the path goes to the right for the 10k loop.<br><br>
I'm running the downhills but I'm walkin' the uphills.<br><br>
Then, I start walkin' the flats.<br><br>
Then, I start walkin' the downhills.<br><br>
My legs hurt. My chest hurts. My lungs hurt.<br><br>
I try to look around, it is gorgeous but I'm afraid to take my eyes off the path. I see colors but can't focus on them. If I could get the air, I'd be crying.<br><br>
I have never before felt despair on a run. Today I did.<br><br>
All I wanted to do was finish. In my head I changed the time from 1:20 to 1:30 to 2:00.<br><br>
Mud. Hills.<br><br>
Freakin' big hill.<br><br>
Ooooo down is nice.<br><br>
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. That is no hill. It's a flippin' space station. No way. No way I can make it up that. Nope.<br><br>
One foot in front of the other. This is all I know how to do.<br><br>
One foot. I can't even count to two. It's just one at a time.<br><br>
I'm trying to stay positive. I'm trying to find something hopeful, but honestly, I'm feeling defeated. I thought I was a runner. Here I am walking this race. I'm no runner. I'm a quitter.<br><br>
Wait. I'm still moving forward. It may not be running but it isn't quitting.<br><br>
So this trail is harder than you thought it would be. So this trail is harder than pretty much anything else you can think of that you've ever done. So what. Did you train for this? No. If you did train for this do you think you could do it next year? Yes.<br><br>
Hmmmm.<br><br>
This thought keeps me going. (Okay, that thought and the knowledge that the only way I was gonna get home was by getting to the godforsaken finish line however the hell far-away THAT was.)<br><br>
Then, the path opened up. I saw a meadow and a woman. Oh. Thank. God.<br><br>
She claps and tells me it isn't much further. (By the way, having walked-I-have-no-idea-how-far, I AM running at this point. I was going to finish this race by running across the finish line.)<br><br>
I can see it. Excellent.<br><br>
B is there - he's yelling and taking pictures and I can see him smiling. People are clapping.<br><br>
I get my number - 152. I go inside. I give them the number and my name.<br><br>
All I want is water.<br><br>
There are no cups.<br><br>
This is not okay.<br><br>
I find B - he's talking with another runner, I tell him I need my water (I had some in the car but I wasn't going to make it to the car) and all of a sudden I start to cry.<br><br>
He looks at me, smiles, walks with me 3 paces over to the bag he's brought from the car, tells me, "shhhhh. . .you're okay. . . find your pace. You did great. I'm so proud of you - you finished strong and that was a hard trail." He hands me gatorade which we packed, smiles at me and says, "Darlin' it weren't pretty were it."<br><br>
My tears bubble to laughter as I look at myself. My legs are covered in mud - and I'm a sweaty mess on top of that. Nope, t'weren't pretty at all.<br><br>
I've never felt such an emotional extreme as with this race. Nor have I ever felt such a challenge as to come back and beat it.<br><br>
My final time for the race - 1:45:54.<br><br>
The lesson I've taken away from this one:<br><br>
If I quit, I am defeated and I didn't quit.
 

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The race might have kicked your butt Mary, but you know what, YOU KICKED BACK!<br><br>
Great report, and great job. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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You certainly don't sound like a quitter to me...<br><br><br><br>
Sorry it didn't go as well as you'd hoped, but congrats on hanging in and finishing tough McT. That you even attempted this as your longest run to date says a lot about your resolve.<br><br>
And if I read your report right, you still did accomplish 2 of your goals <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Congratulations. You're a Dirty Girl now!<br><br>
And in case you didn't know, among the cool kids that is the highest form of flattery.
 

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As crazy as this may sound, I think it is good to get our ass kicked sometimes. It keeps us humble. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
Good job!
 

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That sounds really freaking hard! <b>Mary McTortle</b> is no quitter! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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I am sorry the race did not go as good as you wanted, but you accomplished a longer then ever distance and you did not quit even when you were at your lowest. Great job!!!!
 

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Good job Mary! Trail races are a whole 'nother beast all together. Remember my inaguration from back in June. Damn it was hard!!!<br><br>
Great job!
 

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Nice job McTortle. I am impressed. You are tough. You are a strong runner. Trail running is now in your blood. You will tear up this course next year. Congrats on a great race.
 

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Hey <b>Mary McT</b> - it happens; trail races can kick your butt. One kicked my butt this year as well - leg injury 4K from the finish line with a heap of technical, muddy & slippery, and steeply-descending switchbacks left to navigate<br><br>
But it's things like this that bring out your inner toughness. Sometimes you just have to cowboy up - that's what I did then (though like you it was closer to death march pace most of the time) and it looks like you came through on that front with flying colors today as well. Congrats on finishing what you started.
 

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<b>Mary</b>, obviously it didn't dampen your sense of humor. I think it strengthened it (and your resolve). Great job.
 

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I felt exactly that way in the first tough mtn bike race I ever did. Congrats on pushing through to the finish! <b><span style="color:#FFA500;">You rock, Mary!</span></b> <i>(So does B)</i>
 

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This has some similarities to my first 10K race a couple of weeks ago. The experience can really hurt while it's going on, but you got through it and you got the don't quit part right. I took a few days off after mine to get my head cleared out some more and soon found me wanting to get back to running.<br><br>
Running's a crazy thing at times. It's got a whole lot of wonderful to it but to get that you have to deal with the runs that just put a lot of hurt on too.
 

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Way to keep going!<br><br>
Trail races usually call for a bit of walking/hiking at some point. I don't know who the freaks are who run the whole thing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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<b>Mart McT,</b> you are by no means a quitter and races dont always go our way. Like you said, you didnt train for it and the conditions sucked. You know what you can do with some training so keep that in mind and next years race will be that much better. Great report and great job for stickin with it!
 

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Mary, I think you did an awesome job! That course sounds like it was hard, lots of hills, and it's never easy when there are that many or that many obstacles! You did it! Your first trail race and your longest mileage all in one shot. Great job girl!!
 

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Mary, I'm just going to reiterate pretty much what everyone else has already said: Great freakin' job.
 

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Great report and we've all been there. You ain't trying if you ain't crying at some point as a runner.<br><br>
graduatiing from 5 miles to 6.6 trail slog is a awesome too.<br><br>
okay so here is the important question....what kind of beer to you get as a reward? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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Sounds like a really tough (but in a way fun) race - and you kicked booty, you finished! What percentage of people you know can say they completed that race? You're a rock star!
 
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