My second 50k was officially a smashing success! Not only did I get the hugest PR (personal record) ever, I enjoyed the whole race and felt fantastic afterwards!
I woke about a half an hour before my alarm yesterday. I tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use so I got up and started getting ready. I was feeling excited, but not nervous. My mom was up and wished me luck as I headed off to the island. The morning was cold, but not bitter. It was going to be the perfect weather day, 58º and sunny.
I had been worried about my monthly coming, and in fact she did rear her ugly head that morning. Fortunately, not in full force and I was able to run my race with zero potty stops. I did, however, stop at Walmart for a potty stop right before heading onto the island, which turned out to be a great idea because the race porta potty line was rather long!
At the race start I ran into my friend Laurie, and some other folks I know from the running community. The start of the race was a riot. Jim Skaggs, the race director called us all over and drew a in in the dirt with his foot and teased us about crossing his timing mat! Just after 8am we were on our way. There were just over 100 of us. I was quickly toward the back of the pack and just enjoyed being comfortable in my pace. I was actually feeling really strong and able to run much more of the first uphill section than I have been able to before. The beginning of the race was uneventful. It was chilly and I was feeling happy to run. I had no problems and enjoyed the familiar White Rock loop out to Elephant Head aid station.
I only stopped at the aid station long enough to shed a layer. After the aid station is a lovely downhill. Then, the switchbacks of death. The last time I ran (or death marched) up these switchbacks I was in a bad place. I was ready to have my revenge on these bad boys! I alternated running and walking up them, and feeling happy that they weren't kicking my ass! Luckily, the climb ended much sooner in this race, as we headed over the saddle and down to the south side of the island. This was all new terrain to me, and I really enjoyed it! The scenery was beautiful and the trails were quite nice. Plus, there was some downhill. My favorite!
I had no signs of problems from my knee. Cortisone and rest had it as good as new! I was feeling like a champ and pushing myself as much as I felt I could. Around mile eleven there was some horrible footing that made me pretty nervous. First it was large, golf ball sized gravel. Then it switched to deep sand. Then large and small rocks mixed. Then, more sand. It seemed to last for a long time, but there was only about a half a mile of it, really. After this came hell hill.
This was a two mile climb. Straight up! No switchbacks. No curving trails. Just a brutal two mile climb up to the next aid station. Around mile twelve I was getting really tired of this and sang out loud to myself as I hiked. Finally, I made it to a runnable section and Where is my Mind by the Pixies came on my MP3 player. This was fitting, as I was feeling a smidgen insane and actually fueled my ability to run faster. Finally I saw the second aid station and two friends at the same time! Missy, who was volunteering and Laurie who was running. What a sight! I ate a couple orange slices and Laurie and I headed out of the aid station together.
I was feeling really happy to be done with that big climb and wanted to pick up the pace. I soon left Laurie and headed down some smoking fast downhill. I passed a group of men and headed out onto the start of the Mountain View trail alone. I was feeling really happy and knew that if I could keep my pace I'd finish between 6:30-6:45. I texted Jeff to let him know my ETA. He replied, "you're a badass" which fueled me even more! There were always people in sight in front of, and behind me and this, also, was a huge help mentally.
At the mile 20 aid station I was beginning to get tired, but was feeling really great. A fellow named Bob that I met at the Pie-n-Beer Day marathon was volunteering and helped me with my water and drop bag. I only grabbed the Pay Day candy bar, but decided to drink some Gatorade also. That was a mistake because it gave me the crazy burps. Luckily, it wasn't debilitating, just annoying as hell.
This whole section of trail had a ton of dried sunflowers all over the trail. They were poking me, and I had to dodge them like a maze. I was becoming quite annoyed with them and I said out loud, "Fuck these sunflowers!" and then immediately laughed out loud, because, I mean really? I was pissed at flowers!? I amused myself. I ran through the final aid station without stopping. There was no point, I was nearly there. On through the sunflowers!
I started having a rough patch at exactly the marathon mark. It wasn't bad, just a low point. I was able to keep running and kept using all my motivating tactics. I thought of Jeff's text. I thought of my friends and family. I thought of how hard I had worked to train for this race. I imagined Katherine running along with me. I pushed myself harder. And then, I was at the final turn to the finish line! It was a bit of a climb. Not long, just steep. Then, the road started downhill and I knew I wasn't more than a mile away. I turned up the heat. I pushed myself as hard as I could. I talked to myself and told myself to run faster! Then I came over the last hill and I could make out my family at the finish line! I looked at my watch and realized I was going to come in an entire hour faster than the Buffalo Run! The kids ran out to me, and again ran into the finish line with me. I was smiling all the while!
It was really a very fantastic day! I am thrilled with my time and how I felt through the race. No dark places, only good hard work. After the race I felt great! We even went out to dinner last night. Today, I am sore, but okay. After I took a hot Epsom salt bath, the family and I spent the afternoon cleaning the chicken coop and putting the garden to bed for winter. From one ultra to the next...
Moon over the causeway.
At the starting line.
First climb, done!
Climb number two. Not too long and not too tough.
Heading into the switchbacks.
Lovely south side of the island.
Up. Up. Up. The longest climb, that never seemed to end. But it did!
Mountain View trail.
F$@KING Sunflowers! HA HA
Watch out for Buffalo poop!
Getting tired, but still having fun!
See the salt flats?
Two of the only buffalo I saw all day.
The last climb! Yay!
Smiling as I came into the finish with the kids!
Craziest tan ever. Compression sleeves + KT tape. Lovely. And the great news? My knees don't hurt!
6:37:05 (Buffalo Run time was 7:36!)
23 out of 32 females
77 out of 103 overall
P.S. I spent a lot of the race yesterday thinking about doing the 100k next year. Just thought you should know.