I ran the Hensley Lake Off Road Races 10K this morning and, for the first time in all of my running career, my shoe came off.
It was stolen, actually, by thick, black-brown mud.
After taking 6 weeks off to heal an injury and only running off-and-on for the past five weeks, I was surprised to find myself in first place for the first half of the race. At Mile 1 the little blond bomber 11-year-old Koda, blew past me and all I could say was, “Take it, Koda!” I knew my younger teammate was going to beat me in a race eventually. Today was that day.
I was holding my own, sprinting the downhills and getting a little discouraged by my shortness of breath on the uphills (does 6 weeks off really destroy your cardio like that?).
As I was booking it downhill I saw a huge patch of dark brown, almost black mud with some standing water in my way. There was no way to go around it, and I came upon it way too fast anyway. I went right through it — or at least tried to. I tried stutter stepping so I wouldn’t sink, but the mud was just too squishy.
As I took my third step in the unavoidable shiggy, my right shoe sunk deep into the mud. When I lifted it up to take another step, my shoe stayed and my foot kept going. My injinji sock-covered foot stepped right into the sludge, ankle deep. It felt disgusting to have cold, wet mud in between my toes. In that split second I thought, please don’t let my sock come off in the mud too!!
Thankfully, it didn’t. But when I pulled my foot up it was covered in mud.
As I took two steps back to recover my shoe, a 16-year-old girl passed me. (I found out later that she runs cross country for my alma mater! woot woot!)
There goes first, I thought. Then I had no choice but to slide my muddy foot into my Altra Lone Peaks and keep going.
It threw me off of my game a little, but I laughed about my misfortune and realized how awesome it felt to be out at a race injury-free. Muddy foot and all.
As I continued on the run — at this point I was around the halfway point — I could feel the mud squishing between my toes, and my foot kept sliding around inside the shoe because my sock was so slick with mud. I felt unstable so I had to take the technical parts of the course a little slower than normal. I didn’t want to roll or twist my ankle.
Still, I tried my best and ended up getting passed by four more women. I was happy with my 5th place overall female finish and 1st place award in my age group. I came in just two minutes slower than last year’s time, so overall I think I had a great run!