Thursday, May 27, 2021

It is simple but not easy - A review of Possums Revenge

 Today is May 26th and my 42nd birthday.  For my birthday I requested a trip to Possum Kingdom Lake in Graford, Tx.  I wanted to run the 17 miler held by TROT.  I wanted to run Possums Revenge!

Even now 4 days post-race, I'm still hurting and reflecting on the race.  This race was different for me from races I have done in the past.  First it was my race farthest to the West.  It was terrain I had never seen before.  You should have seen me as we drove in.  I was just in awe of the whole scene.  "This is what people think of when I say I'm from Texas and here I am 41, almost 42, seeing it for the first time."  

I knew I hadn't been running enough long distances going into this race.  I had been maxing out at a 5K since February.  It was like I lost all motivation to move.  Now I had been working on the "None to Run" program for my virtual run club that I have here at my work.  My work run partner and I figured working a program would be more valuable than just opening a Zoom room and running in a circle.  But running on the pavement has been hard on my body so my weekend long runs became 5kers.  Not a bad distance but not exactly 17 miles either.  Anyways, with that in mind, I had my plan to walk the 17 miles.

I started at the back of the pack.  I don't even bother with standing near the front.  I let the elite runners go on ahead and I move at my pace but Saturday I met a few walkers.  There were about 5 of us who all planned to walk but of course walking still comes in varying paces.  I started off much slower than I had planned.  I can usually walk about an 18-min mile and after seeing the terrain, I thought 3 miles per hour was a good target.  My first 6 miles took almost 4 hours!  But it was for a good reason, a couple of the back of the packers were super interesting and the views at the top of the first 4-mile loop were breathtaking.  If I had been worrying about my pace rather than getting to know those folks, I would have missed the best part of the race, the views!

Once I realized just how slow we were moving and that the threat of rain was very real, I started to haul ass, relative to my previous pace.  Partly I wanted to run this race after a horrendous week at work because long distances make for a good time to think so I really needed to find myself some space to just move and think.  Once I was moving alone, the terrain really started to hurt.  So many rocks and climbs, it was a hard race.  

Now twice while I was on the trail, I had 2 different "Trail Jesus" moments.  Let me explain.  As I was giving up on myself and ready to just call it quits, at 2 of those moments probably my lowest points, 2 different men encouraged me to go forward.  I call them "Trail Jesus" because honestly, I was questioning if they ever existed in real life or if it was just my brain making up a man to encourage me.  They came upon me, spread some encouragement, and then just seemed to disappear.  

The 1st guy gave me the quote that is the title to this post.  He told me to just "keep putting one foot in front of the other.  It is that simple but not easy."  He also told me to walk if I'm hurt, run if I feel good, and jog if I feel in between.  He was running so the talk wasn't long and had he not seen me closer towards the end of the race, he was going back for another loop as I was about 2 miles from the end, I would have doubted that he existed.  He even remembered me.  Like I said I was pretty convinced he didn't really exist so I wasn't looking for him but as soon as he saw me, "See, I told you it was simple." 

The 2nd man came upon me as I was in the home stretch with about a 5k left.  "If you quit now, you'll regret giving up on yourself.  You can do it.  God bless you."  He was absolutely right.  I would have regretted getting that close and not finishing.  I had set my mind to finish but it was a good reminder that while quitting is always an option when you are so close and you have done the worse part, why not bet on you?  I'm not totally convinced that he was real.  Like he completely disappeared, I looked down at the rocks and then he was gone.  Mind you, the course was winding and rolling so he could have just crested a hill and disappear.  At this point 4 days later, I don't exactly remember where on the course we were.  More than likely he was real but maybe not.

These "Trail Jesus"s helped me finish as did all of the wonderful folx that are part of TROT.  I cannot stress the love and encouragement I recieve on these trail races.  Not just from the back of the pack folx but everyone.  The elite runners who remind me to use the back of my legs for power.  The "hobby" runners who pass me all day and say "Good Job."  The hugs and high 5s from the other TROT Tribe ambassadors.  Of course the friends that first took me to the trails and that I love seeing as I cross Texas finding peace of mind as I slide down rocks, look out for snakes, and curse the life choices I have made that put me on the trails in the first place.

All in all: 5 out of 5 stars.  I 100% recommend running at Possum Kingdom, especially if you can run a TROT race.  If you are just in it for the views then I highly recommend doing the 4 miler.  You get the best views with lots of sand, elevation, and rocks but without those other 12 miles.

If you want or need more information on TROT, please feel free to drop me an email: martha (at) wheatlessmama (dot) com or you can go straight to the source:

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