Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Xterra Wildhorse Trail Half Marathon - Tampa, Nov 4, 2012

This was less a race and more an experience.

Let me start at the beginning. I am a runner. It's taken me a while to admit that, mostly because it makes me sound more bad-ass than I am. Let me be clear. I am in no way bad-ass.

But, I have come to the realization that I am a runner. I sign up for races at the drop of a hat and only do laundry because I'm out of workout gear. Oh, yea, I guess I might as well throw those few work clothes in at the same time.

So, when some of my GORUCK buddies threw out the Xterra Wildhorse Trail Half Marathon to me, I couldn't rightly refuse. It was over in Tampa and not far from friends. I signed up, and we ended up with five of us poor souls ready to head out and conquer the woods.

Little did I realize it was going to take so long that I should have had my mail forwarded.

The drive to the location was pleasant if frightening as we wondered if the desolate surroundings were the site of some sort of backwoods shenanigans. Ever seen that movie The Lottery where the small town selects a townsperson to sacrifice to the Gods to stay prosperous? What about Children of the Corn? Take your pick... these fields were spooooooky at 6 AM.

But, we found the other racers and took our places in line to start. We were quite the group, looking out of place to say the least. It was myself, a tiny hot-chick, a yeti-looking Sasquatch, what appeared to be a homeless man, and a stout version of a short Mr. Clean. To further separate us from the 'normals,' we agreed to do 25 push-ups at each mile point. It would make for 325 total. I was being mocked because - though I was the strongest runner of the group - I wasn't the clear push-up champion. Yea... whatever.

We ran a mile and did 25 pushups. At mile 2, we were falling behind most of the field of 330 runners, but we did another 25. By mile three, two of our group were huffing and puffing like chain smokers, and all but three of the five had completely given up on the full '25 pushups per mile' plan.

We had fallen behind most of the field and began a steady routine of rests at the mile points, a few minutes of jogging, and walking to the next mile point. It made for a long day, and fewer and fewer pushups were done at each stop.

Other than by me. Who am I? I'm the 325-count push-up champion, that's who! I was actually well-rested even at the race's finish line, and I felt bad watching my teammates struggle across. We finished in a rather-unimpressive 3 hours and 30 minutes, but we weren't last. Looking back, it was a good experience if not a race.

It was a nice race, I suppose, but a bit hot (when you're on the course 2 hours longer than you're used to, that happens). But, I really enjoyed spending time with my GORUCK buddies and relaxing for the race and weekend. It was nice to take it easy and enjoy the trail, and anytime we get together... entertainment follows.

The best thing I can say is that I ran into someone wearing a shirt for the Canadian Death Race. What is this extreme event, you ask? Well, so did I. SO, I looked it up, and as soon as registration opens for the 2013 race in Grande Cache, Alberta, I'm in.

But, it's also nice to say that I kicked their asses at the push-ups.

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