For quite a few years we've had awesome fun Zumbro Fat Ass runs. We would have a group of 20 or so head down to Zumbro River Bottoms where Larry would mark out a crazy course of running for for us. 2 hours, 8 hours, pick your poison. Lots of fun.
A few years ago Larry created Zumbro 100 upon our Fat Ass course. I have never had the chance to run it as of yet. The race takes place in early April and I was usually running McNaughton 100.
This year I tried a few times to get a group to head down Zumbro way. It was like pulling teeth! After posting on FB a few times I finally had a bit of interest. I set the date for last Saturday. If no one showed, oh well, I would show. I wanted to get 40 or so miles to feel ready for the race.
John Storkamp, present RD for Zumbro 100 chimed in and stated that he and Joe would join in. That sparked interest in a few other guys. Pretty soon we had a group of 8 or so.
I woke up at 2 AM so that I could be in Hastings bright and early, well, not bright...to follow John and Joe to Zumbrota. I didn't think I'd be able to find it in the dark. That's an understatement! I'm so glad I followed!
We arrived to FA headquarters a bit before 6. Met up with Edward, Jeremy and Tony, a group I hadn't met before, Jason and I'm forgetting a guy. Damn. Kelly was going to be out around 10 AM, whom I hadn't met before either. It was really cool meeting these people for a long run.
We started in the dark, using headlamps. I believe Joe forgot one, but he didn't seem to have any difficulty navigating the trails. I brought up the rear, enjoying the conversation around me. I was trying to pay attention to where we were are I was going to run another loop, probably solo, and really didn't want to become lost.
Eventually the sun rose, it was a beautiful day. No bugs, the snow was gone, not muddy, just nice running. Really. We stopped for a refill of water that we had stashed earlier, refilled on gels and ran along.
My god, the hills! I kind of forgot how hilly it is at Zumbro. Since I've healed from herniated discs, I've been building mileage, I've gone from 0 miles to a 40 mile long run in a few months. Distance is all I've concentrated on. No speed, no hills. I certainly was feeling it!
As we were running along, Jason and I became separated from the rest. I was SO much slower than these guys. Duh. The speedsters and yeah, then me. It was not like the old days, you know, Larry, Don, Bob, Bonnie, Maria and I would chat and run. Walk. Eat. Pee. Run. Walk. Climb a hill. Take a break. This felt like all out running for me. I couldn't keep up. I think Jason took pity upon me and hung back so I wouldn't become lost. Poor guy! I felt bad but I felt more relieved that he stayed.
We came upon Tony at one intersection and he told us he broke his frickin' arch of his foot! He was limping along, in pain. I couldn't believe he was still out there, moving. He figured it wasn't going to get any worse so he just tolerated it. Wow.
The guys waited at a grassy open area so we all caught up again. I caught my air, had some water and we were off. Dang. I forgot to pee.
We climbed climbed climbed, Tony was in back of me and before I knew it he was no longer there. I swear we climbed a mile or more, straight fucking up. I couldn't see. Sweat was rolling into my eyes with nice sunblock. Yum.
I finally made it to the top and looked out..no Tony. Luckily he seemed to find his way good enough, unlike me, so we weren't too worried about him.
After about 5 hours I couldn't keep up. I walked up a hill and saw the last of the guys. I figured if they took a turn or something from the main trail they would draw an arrow in the dirt or throw a branch over the trail that I shouldn't take. I ran along for a while, enjoying the views, the birds, just enjoying the run.
I came upon Ant Hill, going down. Edward had stated 'its all downhill from here' a while back, so I figured I should go down. But then I thought I should continue forward because there were no tracks that I could see here and there was nothing that made me think I should go down-marker or otherwise so I continued on and on and on, a mile, two miles..then I decided I better turn back. I kept thinking about Edward and the downhill statement. Back I went, down down down Ant Hill. I yelled out a few times and sure enough, 30 minutes or so later I came up to them waiting for me. Thank goodness!
We ran along, heading back to the start. I knew I could never run another 5 hour loop with them. I'd have to go on my own.
We came into the start area and there were Lynn and Darrel. Lynn had just returned from running on her own and wasn't going to be going back out. The guys were going to eat and rest a bit before going out again. I refilled my bottles and had John walk me back to the trail. I took a bunch of wrong turns, but decided to run the well marked signed areas.
After 10 more miles or so I was coming down a hill, I tripped over a rock and boom! Down I went, hard, right on my butt. I could feel my spine jar. Fuck. Double Fuck.
Immediately I felt the nerve pain zing from my spine through my shoulder, down my arm into my hand and fingers. I got up, shook myself off and began to walk back toward the start. I was only a few miles out. I help my arm across my front, just like I had been doing only months prior.
So many thoughts going through my brain. What business do I have running so much when only a few months ago I couldn't run at all. Well, so should I never try...and never know..just because I 'might' get hurt. I could have fallen on a five mile run and hurt myself. I don't back and forth I went.
As I came into Tony's campsite, John, Lynn, Edward, Darryl and Joe were hanging out. "Why are you holding your arm, Julie" "Why are you back, Julie" "what's wrong" I told the story and just took it easy. My hand went numb again, I popped a few Advil, changed clothes and just enjoyed visiting with my friends for a while.
Kelly finished up her run, I introduced myself. She went off on her own as she arrived at 10 and we didn't get back to the start until 11. She is running the 50 at Zumbro.
We'll see how this ends. For now, I'm just happy that I'm not in the constant horrendous pain that I was in a few months ago. At least I know now what the pain is from-I'm not going to just continue running through it, wondering what it is, as I did last time. Thankfully I've learned something from that hell.
It was uncomfortable driving home, but not intolerable. I'll take it easy for a while and we'll see where I go from here :)