Way back when, when I decided to look for races, and get myself signed up, as a means of pushing myself postpartum, I chose the Hot Chili Challenge. 8 miles seems like nothing, and seemed like nothing when I signed up. Silly me hadn’t even ran a trail race, let alone a trail run in over a year. Last September to be exact. BUT I can hang for 8 miles. I did just run a half marathon for Pete sake. 🙂
I was a pile of mixed emotions going into it. I usually know at least one other person running a race, but this time I was solo, && I didn’t have anyone to tell me to shut up and just run. The last time I had run a race on this course, I got bit by something right off the bat, and had trouble using my leg for the entire race. So I was nervous about that. I was nervous about falling, because I was running in normal sneaks. I was nervous about placing ((I put so much pressure on myself, because pre-baby, I placed all the time)), which made me nervous about the hills. BUT I was excited to be in my element. I was excited to challenge myself. I was excited to take in the fall foliage. I was excited to run. Especially since I could worry less about my little man, and have some time to myself.
If you know me, you know that I have a big mouth && a big personality to go with it, so making new friends is a piece of cake. PLUS, I needed someone to take my pre-race picture, or it didn’t really happen. Am I right?! So, I started up conversations with a lot of people, but found they were all running the 5k && 10k. It looked like it was just me, myself, and I for this race. BUT I actually prefer that on the trails. There is a lot more to pay attention to, and holding a conversation just isn’t in the cards. It was time to hit the rocks && run the race God placed before me.
I let the adrenaline rush get the best of me, and started wayyyyyy to fast, but it felt good, so I kept going. I was running the hills (I shocked myself haha), I was keeping pace and then, wait for it….. and then it hit me. A wall like I’ve never felt before, not even during my marathon. It felt like I had been running for 17 miles, but it was only 2.5. I am accounting it to going way too hard, way too fast. So I slowed it down, I think I even walked a little and kept plugging away. But it sure wasn’t without some negative thoughts. I even said out loud, “I think I got a little too ambitious about my postpartum goals.” and someone was behind me. She practically freaked out when she heard me say it, which startled me. I came to find that she (a mom of four), just ran 100 miles. Say what??! I just kept telling her she was amazing, but she would only return that I was amazing, and she couldn’t believe I was out there already. As much as thought she was just being nice, and couldn’t take the compliment, it was nice to hear, and distracted me from my own negative space. We ran together for about a mile && then she left me. 🙂
I felt like I got my mojo back around mile 5, but it was still a struggle to catch my breath. When I reached a little over 6 miles, I got the worst stomach cramps and couldn’t hang on the hills anymore. They owned me. But that’s okay. The hill at mile 6/7 is gi-freakin-normous. By mile 7, I felt like I could run a million more. The highs and lows I felt during this run were some of the most extreme I ever experienced. So strange. But, the views were absolutely breathtaking.
The best thing about these races are that 100% of the proceeds goes to providing free mammograms to women. The Friend2Friend mission is dedicated to assisting women and their families whose lives are impacted by a cancer diagnosis. The SCWF strives to provide early detection services, support and resources to the women of Sussex and surrounding counties. They have awesome volunteer staff along the courses and the runners themselves create an inviting atmosphere you can’t pass up. At the end of the race, you get some awesome grub, the main dish obviously being chili (beef, chicken and vegan options available)). They mean business haha! ❤
When I crossed the finish line, I checked my stats, and thought I might’ve placed. BUT I took a 5th place finish for my age group. No complaints. I just wanted to finish. And based on how I felt in the beginning, I didn’t think I was going to. BUT then again, you’re kind of in the middle of the woods, and have no choice but to finish. 🙂 I am still super nervous about completing a trail half marathon in a couple of weeks, but this mama is only going in one direction, and that’s forward.
Lucky for me, I get to come home and cuddle this cutie after every race! ❤