Thursday, February 9, 2012

John Dick 50K: Birthday Party in the Woods

I had to let last Saturday's race marinate in my brain for a while. I feel weird calling it a "race" because it was more like a "7 1/2 hour party in the woods." Oh, and there was running. But that kind of seems besides the point.

Bear with me.

I like how I'm now at the point with my running that I'm able to slip in and out of competitive mode with ease. Some races I train for with a specific time goal in mind. It's like I'm a woman on a mission and I can't see anything else but what I want to achieve. But then there are days like these when a good friend says, "Hey I want to run 30 miles for my 30th birthday. Want to join me?" And suddenly it's more about doing something awesome with awesome people rather than beating some previous best.

I have to admit when I first signed on to do this race I wasn't even sure if I would complete the whole distance. Not that 50K is too far for me anymore, but HOLY MOLY THIS RACE IS IN FEBRUARY. Last year it took place on the weekend of the biggest snowstorm of the year and lot of runners just got in as many miles as they could before it became too ridiculous. I kinda-sorta thought that the first weekend in February this year would be similar. Maybe not an epic snowstorm, but certainly at least SOME kind of unfavorable conditions. So when the week of the race the temperatures started climbing into the upper 30s and 4os I thought to myself. "Huh. I guess I'm running all 50K. How about that."
The group of us took every last minute of the allotted time to complete the course and we pretty much made it a party in every sense. We took our sweet time, we laughed, cheered and shouted for the other (faster) runners on the course, and we spent tons of time at the aid stations chatting up the volunteers and eating all the wonderful junk food. (One of the perks of burning over 3000 calories in a day.) At the finish line we all linked arms with Birthday Girl Krista in the middle and proceded to don party hats and drink beer. I know it sounds absurd to most people, but I really can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday in February in Wisconsin.

When I step back and think about it, the whole thing sounds absurd to me too. But I'm ok with that.

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