4th of July Pinball Half Marathon

It was time to test the body, the mind and the feet.  I was going to run 13.1 miles on July the 4th no matter what.  Heat or no heat I was going to hit the trails.

Lets take a step back to July the 3rd.  I go out with the family and have a few cold beers and watch the local fireworks.  They were lame I might add.  I get home at midnight and crash.  I wake up from a heavy sleep and 6 beers under my belt ready to roll.  No car!!!!  I got dropped off like a good boy by my sister-in-law.  As the morning progresses I soon realize I will have to wait for my big run.

I get a phone call from a good friend who wants to join me on my quest for 13.1.  He hasn’t run in nearly 2 weeks and is coming off some sorta injury that needs explaining.  I don’t nor want to have the time to explain.  We decide that its best if we wait till 6:30 to hit the trails to avoid the extreme heat.

With my camel pack full of water, GU and Blox, I am ready to roll.  The Garmin is fully charged and my INOV-8 trail shoes are feeling quite nice.  We hit the trails.  With in minutes my big toe is killing me.  The pain is there for the long haul and nothing can be done.  Its hot, humid and things are not looking so good from the get go.

We truck along zig zagging our way along the LakeView trail system at Pocahontas State Park.  At mile 5, you can commit to go further onto a larger loop system and we do so.  From that loop is another loop.  If we commit to this 3rd loop, we are running blind.  We have no idea what our distance will be.  Could be 12, could be 17, or even more.  We haven’t a clue.  We keep a steady clip going.  At mile 8 we switch spots.  I am now the pace setter.

By mile 9, darkness is starting to set in just a wee bit.  We have been drinking and fueling the whole run, so I thought.  It turns out, my buddy had run out of water and hadn’t ask me for any.  He had been trucking along empty, not water.  We managed to get 2 small sips out of my pack and continue on.  As we get closer to the end I realize my buddy is lagging behind.  “How you feeling” I ask.  “Like a pinball, these switchbacks man…”We continue on.  We separate further apart.  I know he would want me to continue and not worry.  Finish my 13.1 mile goal.  I can’t.  I can’t leave him behind like that.  It’s nearly dark and he is dehydrated.  I turn around and head back to find him.  I get there and ask…”You OK man?” and in his smart ass ways, “yeah man, why you ask”  Yup, he’s good to go. We truck it on and at the exact moment my watch hits 13.0 miles he pulls up with a calf cramp.  Total dehydration.  He is spent.  I do my last .10 miles to make it an official half marathon.

Lucky for us I found a water fountain 1/4 mile away and filled the pack up as he walked back to the car.  A few minutes later I catch up, take my pack off and hand it to him.  Once again in his smart ass way…”Dude, I’m good but thanks anyways”  Yup, he’s good.  I shove the pack into his chest and he drinks away.  I take a few pulls myself and we head on.  This time we walk.

We get back to the car and it is nearly totally dark.  We did our 13.1 mile trail run in 1:58:00.  Not bad for a first timer.  My legs felt fine the next day.  My head, it pounded.  I to was dehydrated and never knew it.  I learned a lot on that run and the importance of refueling and drinking.  I cant wait to hit the trails and go just a little bit further.

When you put your mind and body to the test, will it pass?

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