Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Where the Magic Happens

In just 5 short sleeps time, I will be traipsing across the swamp in Dade City, Florida running a full marathon.

The Big Green Swamp Marathon has arrived! 

Truthfully, when I signed up for this race, way back when in December when Georgia-D threw down this challenge at his new found Canadian running friend, I don't think I truly, truly thought about what I was getting myself into.  A quick visual, for those of you that are silently snickering at the fact that a roadie like me is about to embark on a 26.2 on the trails in the Florida swamp:

Note: the Gators!  Eek!  I'd better have my speed on!
Growing up in Northern Ontario, I am fully prepared to deal with creatures and critters over the course of a run.  After all, creatures like bears and wolves and deer and the like are a common sight in the Northern Ontario forest.  But an alligator?  And poisonous spiders with webs across the trails?  I'm not so sure how I feel about those things.  Also, increasing the complexity of this little off-roading adventure is the description K-Rock provided to me when he and J-Rock drove to the course to check out where I'll be running.  He indicated, ever so eloquently, that it looked like a scene from Deliverance and that I should likely be running with a pistol, machete and can of mace. First of all, I'm not sure what to make of that and second, I'm not sure if all those things will fit in my fuel belt.  And, of course the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake is the fact that I have a grand total of 2 trail runs under my belt.  An experienced trail gal I am not!   Suddenly seems like quite a few variables to consider in just a very short time!

Where does all of this information leave me at this point, just 5 short sleeps out of the race?

Truthfully, I'm terrified and nervous...but I'm also really, really excited for a new adventure into the muddy and swampy unknown.  I have to remind myself that I am NOT running this one against the clock and that my goal is to finish in the 4 hour range.  I think this is fair given the fact that I have no idea what the course will look like until I get there on race day and the weather will likely be hot and humid which, truthfully, warms this Canadian runner's heart, fingers and toes! Also, I'm currently in the middle of some pretty intense training and mileage for my goal race in Ottawa at the end of May.  Throw into the mix that I'm also recovering from "the cold" which I staved off for days and days and finally succumbed to last weekend so my health is not quite at 100%.  However, I also must remember that an important part of this whole running adventure and this whole adventure that is life itself is about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and always looking for new experiences.  You just never know where the magic in this world may be, and in this case, there may be magic just waiting for me in the swamp in Dade City, Florida.  So my plan?  Stay open...stay lose...avoid the gators and find the magic!

And if you think of it on Saturday, perhaps do me one small favour? 

Keep your fingers and toes crossed that I make it across the line with all my fingers and toes intact! 

Off to the swamp I go!


Devon said...

good luck Andrea! You will be great!!! And don't worry, there's lots of good athletes who are missing a few fingers or toes:) I'm looking forward to hearing all about the adventure when you get back!

Anonymous said...

Haha! that is a great picture with the alligators, although I think if your parents really loved you they wouldn't let you run this thing :)

Anyway, all the best in the swamp and I'll await the results from the middle of my comfort zone.