Down 2 Earth Trail Race: In Which Damaris DNF'd the Half Marathon but Switched to the 10K

On Sunday, I ran my first Trail Race.  I signed up for the Half Marathon race but I was unable to complete it (details below).  Even though I ended up limping and I'm still dealing with soreness/issues today, I had a lot of fun and would love to do another one in the future.

The race is very informal and small and held in the only trail in Miami, Oleta Park.  It's the only race I've done that is not chip timed.  I was not sure how technical this course would be and I did not know what to expect, as the website has no course map and the only description given was not really that clear.  I bought trail shoes and I was glad I did.  This course was super technical and I don't think I could have run in my regular shoes without breaking a limb.

Everything went badly for me the morning of.  I left everything ready and left.  I had to return because I had my friend's June's (Chiqui74) packet and had left it home.  Then, halfway there I realized I had left the water bottle at home.  I received a call from June, who asked: Did you bring bug spray?  Of course not, I don't even own any.  Grrrr!

I was hoping to do the half marathon in under 3 hours, assuming it was not that technical.  After finishing the 10K, I probably would've come in at 3:20-3:30 and in the top 7 women, so not that bad...if I had finished.

We started out at 7:40am and the half marathon wave started first.  We were close to 50 people doing the half marathon; close to half of us DNF'd; that's how hard it was.  Within the first 0.50 miles, we encountered a water crossing, a trunk crossing, and some plank bridges.  We went up and down and up and down through trees, water, rocks, and other terrain.  I was having fun!

Then, I twisted my ankle, hard.  I yelled.  5 people stopped to help me (that's how nice the runners were).  I brushed it off and continued on.  The first picture of me is after I had already twisted my ankle and it was at Mile 1.5.  Look at all the sweat.  It was hot and humid.


After that picture, I fell.  I could feel myself fall and I tried to prevent it but there was nothing to hold on to.  And of course, I fell on the flattest and most nicest part of the trail.  I fell on my knees hard.  I hit a rock, and I twisted my ankle on the way down.  3 guys stopped to help me and I continued on...full of grass and debris.  I had no water with me and I had quite a ways to go til the next water station.  I had not finished the 5K and I was done.  I knew it but I did not want to accept it.

I reached the next water station already limping a little and cleaned myself.  Not much blood but I knew the knee was going to get purple some time soon.

As I reached the last water station before the first loop ended (5K mark), I considered quitting at the 5K mark.  I was not limping badly but I knew eventually I would have to stop.  So, I decided to stop and ask the RD about it.  Between the water station and the 5K mark were a couple of dirt dunes that come back to back after another plank bridge.  Since you cannot run through it, you have to almost crawl to get to the top of them.  It was hard but lots of fun, but of course I twisted my ankle again.  Can anybody say KLUTZ?

I guess the guy thought I was in the 5K because he said I was among the first few females arriving.  I did the first loop in 50 minutes (exactly) and I checked and would've been the 4th woman in the 5K and at the time, I was 6th woman in the half marathon.  Not bad...if I had finished. 

I stopped to talk to the RD and asked to be switched to the 10K.  If she had said no, I would have probably just stopped.  But she said yes and off I went to do another round of the same torture.

I met June at my first water station (her last) and she was doing the 5K. She was huffing and puffing and wishing it was over.  She was almost there so I wish her luck and continued on.

The torture was the same and I twisted the ankle 2-3 more times.  I lost count.  I passed runners and was passed by others.  I knew what the course was now so I was running better.  When I stopped at the same water station where I cleaned my knees after I fell, I encountered 5 people from the half marathon.  All of them were DNF'ing when they reach the 10K mark.  From the results, more than half of the runners DNF'd the half and half DNF'd the 10K.

I started running/walking with an older gentleman who has never run more than 4 miles.  We walked and had fun and did the obstacles until the last slope to the finish when he started sprinting and left me in the dust! 

I was limping badly since that water station and I knew it was over for me.  I stopped and told the guy keeping the times, I'm done.  I finished in 1:43:02 (Garmin and official), and was then the 7th woman in the half marathon.  Not bad.... They did switch me to the 10K and I was 18th out of 19th finishers (total of 45-half of them DNF'd).

I went to the aid station, got myself some alcohol and cleaned the abrasions.  Then, I ate a banana and went home.

Overall, this was more challenging that any of my marathons.  I loved every minute of it (except the falls and the twisted ankles of course).  I would love to do it again and even attempt the half marathon, but just not so close to any races or training for road races.  I am still super sore and the ankle is tender.  I was so sore I thought I was injured.

Some part of me is yelling at me for quitting, but I had to be smart.  I have a race on Monday and marathon training starts next week.  This is no time to be injured or worse, tired and sore. So, I know I did the smart thing, but tell that to my spirit.

Thanks for reading.

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