About a week after running the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon I found myself staring at the registration page for the Mendon Mauler, a trail race with 4, 8 or 12 miles options. The race is hilly and rough on a 4-mile loop upon which brave/foolish souls can do 1, 2 or 3 loops.
I’ve done the Mauler for several years now, both because it’s a tough, fun race and because it has a really cool souvenir t-shirt (#10 on the linked list). But I’ve always held back and run the 8 miler. The 12 milers seemed like a different crew, leaner and meaner than me.
So this year, I decided to play it safe again. I might still be recovering, I thought. Stiff. Tired. Cranky. Also, this time the Mauler would be on a Friday evening instead of a Saturday morning, so I’d be going into the race after a full day of teaching. Normally by Friday afternoon I’d be falling asleep on my couch with half of my dinner in front of me while watching The Office on Netflix. Running what amounts to a half marathon on trails seemed excessive.
But in the back of my head I was thinking “You could do 12…You’re a marathoner again. 12 is nothing. A training run. Things don’t even get serious until you hut 15 miles.” The back of my head might be trying to kill me.
Fast forward to race evening. As soon as I got out of my car I ran into some of the folks I trained for Sehgahunda with. And they were doing 12 miles.
Reader, you can guess where this is going.
The 12 miles was tough. I walked with my friends when we needed to, and I finished dead last in my age group. I drove home, showered, ate and collapsed into bed. But I had fun and challenged myself, and ran with the lean and mean.