Sunday was the day I have been looking forward to since the last Xterra race in November.
In the woods, somewhere I’ve never been (’cause honestly, I don’t often get more than 10 miles from the beach), with a bunch of strangers getting ready to take a trail beatin’. Yeah.
Greg ran the Wildhorse with me in November. I signed up for it and then almost immediately
suckered him into registering convinced him he should do it with me as opposed to just being my lovely chauffeur. I finished XX minutes ahead of him and met him at the finish chute with Gatorade and water. (I HAD suckered him into this thing so I had to at least have all his possible hydration options available the moment he crossed. I also filled out his racer card for him. Neither one of us anticipated the do-it-yourself racer cards and I always fill out all Greg’s paperwork for him so it was really my job anyway.) After he’d gulped down 2 paper cups of water he asked me what the “X” in Xterra stood for and I knew he was gonna tell me. Apparently, it stands for “extra freakin’ hard.” Yeah.
So when I heard other racers around the port-a-potties and packet pick-up area talking about “the berm” I wondered what could that mean. (Last Xterra had creek crossings and the need to use a rope to climb and rejoin the switchback trail.)
I walked in the general direction I saw other bib-wearing folks heading. And I saw “the berm.” It wasn’t shockingly high or scary. It WAS the steepest elevation change I have witnessed in Florida. (Ferris wheels don’t count.) Whatever, ya just walk over it to the start. I reached the top and peered over and found myself unexpectedly looking down on the runners already at the start line. Looking up at me. The hardest 150 yards are the first 150 yards. Yeah.
So down the hill I went to the start. The race announcer counted down and I pranced up “the berm” and enjoyed the prospect of running a race that didn’t pre-publish the details of the course. I couldn’t scope it out. I couldn’t overthink it. I couldn’t run it beforehand. I would be totally surprised. Yeah.
The course winded thru the woods and along a lake and across a field and back into the woods and then more into the woods and then somehow back to something I recognized. (I have NO sense of direction OTHER than when I’m “on the trail.”)
When I crossed the finish line in XX minutes, slower than I should have but slightly speedier than I than I thought I would, I remembered the old-school racer cards and I missed Greg. Greg worked late, late Saturday night and did not go with me to the race. Which also means I drove myself. Full disclosure: I live on an island and I walk most places I go on a regular basis. I leave the island pretty regularly but mostly Greg drives. I rarely drive by myself more than 17 minutes away from my house. Sheltered, lazy? Nah, just figured out I like living in places I can bike or walk just about everywhere I care to go.
But you can’t race “in the woods” that close to my house. You can’t do all three Xterra races if you don’t do the first one of the season. You can’t be a rockstar if you don’t rock it out. So I rocked it out. Yeah.