How do I condense into a couple paragraphs and snapshots what I experienced this past weekend? I'll try to make this as brief as I can ( or else it will turn into a novella). first I want to say that my good friends beth and JJ both have excellent race reports up on http://imtr.blogspot.com
I drove to abingdon town hall with snowflakes flying in the air and it was COLD! I was beginning to feel like there was no escaping the snow. My mind was pretty much going 100mph thinking about what I needed to do the next day at Terrapin Mtn 50k. STEP UP. This was my second 50k race. My first Frozen Sasquatch was an epic adventure for sure. However, it was very cold, miserable and SLOW and I death marched quite a bit of it to finish at 7:36. I knew I could run MUCH faster. I was just really anxious because I didn't really taper for this race and was leg tired. Hadn't been sleeping very well either. Tired. I probably shouldn't of put any pressure on myself performance wise, but since I was running with the IMTR's, it was really important to me to run strong and represent!:O) and I also reasoned that since Frozen Sasquatch I really had been working my butt off to improve and become a better trail runner. Surely all that hard work has to come into play somewhere.
I meet up with Rick and Tammy Gray. Beth throws her gear in the back on my FJ and we are OFF! Caravanning down i-81 enroute to bedford, Va.
We arrive at the hotel and Doug Blackford has arrived the very moment we have! I was pretty hyper and in a great mood, so I was running around the parking lot snapping pictures of everyone. The sun was setting and I was able to take some pretty cool shots of everyone, and I great shot of Terrapin Mtn ( with so much fog around it you can't really see it)
After we unloaded the car, we all headed out in the family van to go eat some dinner. :o)
We got back to the hotel about 8:30 and Beth and I started the fun task of laying all all our gear and clothes for the race the next morning and getting everything ready for breakfast ( we had to get up at 4:30am) I was a little stressful trying to figure out the right combination of clothes, I knew it would be cold at the start but then warm up to 50F by the time I crossed the finish line. I decided on : mtn hardware tank
mtn hardware skort
marmot glove liners
wigwam wool knee socks
montrail mtn masochists
nathan racing vest
ultimate direction hand held
I went to bed hoping I had make the right choices for my gear. I felt pretty good about it.
Lights out! beth and I talked for about 30 min before we both got quite and drifted off to sleep. I actually slept pretty well-- we didn't turn the heat on, and i swear I think that is why I slept better! my phone's alarm went off at 4:20am... and we both sprang into action! haha.. not really but we both got up and got ready made coffee, choked down breakfast. and loaded up the car so we could leave for the start line at 5:30.
We got to big island, va! I was nervous. BEYOND NERVOUS. Afraid of failure. Afraid of walking too much and being a weak person physically and mentally. I wanted SO badly to be able to dig deep and be strong. I really felt like I was going to vomit. beth decided to capture this moment on film. I have to admit, I hide being scared and nervous rather well....
got our race packets! I got to meet the RD, Clark Zealand for the first time. CLARK! :O) Super nice guy!! Excellent RD!
Then it was pretty much a meet and greet until the racers meeting. I hung out with Mike Bailey and some of the VHTRC people for a little while. ( NICE!) Then I saw Abby Meadows from across the shelter and ran over to her to hang out with her for awhile. I am FB friends with abby and I have been following her blog. but it was SO cool to finally meet her in person. Once we started talking, we discovered that we grew up in the same area in southwest, va. ( which I think is the COOLEST thing ever!!) She is just such an outgoing and happy person, and amazing athlete! I can't wait to get to run and hang out with her again soon! (YAY ABBY!!!)
Clark had the pre-race briefing and then it was time to line up!! I hugged tammy, beth, rick, kathleen, JJ, doug, ALL and told them to have a good race. Then there was this split second moment where I just decided that I was going to have a good day, and run the way I felt and no try to conserve so much. I just needed to WORK HARD!
GONG!!! Clark really knows how to start a race! very cool!! ;o)
There wasn't a cloud in the sky the morning was cool, frosty and crisp; and as I began to run, I started to feel REALLY good. I just decided to try to mirror Rick Gray and run behind him as much as I could. I didn't know if I could hang with him the whole race, but I knew he would take me out at a conservative but good clip.
When we turned off the pavement to make the climb up towards camping gap. I stayed with Rick. I got to make some new friends. I ran behind Sophie Spiedel for a couple of miles and we chatted about 50 milers, ( rick told her I had signed up for Cheat mtn) and what were some other great races to run. ( it was very cool to run with you Sophie! hope to see you again soon!)
Then kathleen caught up to Rick and I and we all three worked really hard on the climb up to the first AS. I didn't stop.. we just rolled on through
We started the downhill section and I was still really happy because I felt strong, had tons of energy. I just kept saying to myself "be patient." because I knew I would hit some points during the race where I wouldn't feel this great. This section had alot of downhill with a couple miles of flat. I averaged about 7:23 a mile here on this section. ( go me! ) ( the rest of my race was a blazing 12 min pace) got to the second AS and it was time to climb again.
I started listening to my ipod at this point( YES, Hot Buttered Rum!! they are a bluegrass band from Cali- and I know that sounds weird but they are SOOO AWESOME) .. I ran alot with both rick, kathleen and amy on the single track and then when it spit us back out on the road to climb BACK up to camping Gap from whence we ran down. It was about 15 miles. I suddenly found myself kinda alone.. rick and kathleen were in eye sight but up ahead: BOOM!!! I just got tackled in an ultra!! is that legal?! haha.. it was beth! she CAUGHT ME!!! I was really happy to see my best buddy. To tell you the truth I may have lost focus there for a little while haha or for the remainder of the race.. but I had fun hanging out with Ted and Beth.. and CLimbing, Climbing, CLimbing!!
We finally made it to the AS at mile 16 and I found my AT buff I had dropped earlier ( that beth had found) soo happy to be reunited! beth and I took off down the jeep road and we got to see the top 5 men cruising on their way to climb to terrapin rock. We yelled and cheered! ( I think they appreciated it:o) did the same when we saw Justine about a mile later. We started climbing UP some more. Beth and I worked really hard on trying to run anything runable and passing everyone we saw.. we caught back up with ED and TED... we punched in the first hole punch.. finally found some down hill. Beth took off, and I ran with Ed and TED... went through the next AS with them and climbed to Terrapin rock ( for that hole punch) thanks Ed!! ( he punched my bib for me) and it was cool just to get to run with them for this section..
Next was Fat man's misery. I fell as soon as I got in between the rocks. there was several inches of thick black mud, and I just lost my footing. I ended up sliding the WHOLE way on my butt and skinning up but elbows and my arms trying to self arrest.. ( why I was trying to stop from sliding I have no idea)
got to the end and got hole punch #3.
Then we descended on single track ( somewhat rocky at times) and steep and I got passed by Alisa Springman( badwater finisher!!) :o)
( I REALLY need to work on technical downhill)
found myself alone ( don't you love the way ultras are like that?) and so I listened to my ipod and just tried to focus on making up ground and catching my group and the people in front of me. I saw rick,beth, kathleen and amy all coming up the trail-- I showed them my arms ( which where all gnarly and bloody) and asked how far ahead they were. I figured about 10 min.
I got to the AS and turned around and focused on finishing. I felt I was so close!! and I was SO surprised how good and strong I felt. Then I reminded myself how ALL my training really had built me up for that moment. So I wouldn't feel so extremely fatigued and tired.
I finally got to the gravel road and then pavement ( 1 mile left) I just tried to dig deep and finish strong. I knew several VERY STRONG ladies were behind me and I knew I didn't need to fade or waiver. I ran about 8:30 pace.. and before i knew it, I was crossing the line and into the arms of ALL My friends who were standing there at the line waiting for me.
I finished @ 6:13... 9th overall female and 55th overall.
so upon reflection, I'm very happy with ultra#2.. I am very motivated that I can see so many areas with my racing I can improve upon. :o) and really just had a very happy, wonderful experience at Terrapin Mtn. I feel everyone who ran or volunteered at this race FELT all the positive energy that abounded that day! :o)