I arrived at holiday lake 4h educational center on friday to pick up my race #-- but ended up leaving with some goodies which definitely added to my holiday lake 50k experience.
Firstly, I had been greatly anticipating the release of Montrail Rogue Racers since this past summer. They were backordered EVERYWHERE.. and just not available on the east coast. I was bummed because I had really wanted to run this race in a pair... the drop date was supposed to have been feb 4th but it was pushed back to the 15th:o(
THEN while Brock and I are rolling up the interstate, I see Jeremy Ramsey had posted that the aidstation.com had JUST gotten them in that morning, and would be having them at the pre-race meeting. I messaged Jeremy to hold me a pair! ( which he did) amazingly enough, I didn't know WHAT color I was going to be getting... didn't know if they had the grey/purple or the teal ones in stock.. I didn't care.. but they had the teal ones and LOOK how well they matched my patagonia running skirt and 9 trails vest on race morning! amazing:oP
for those of you wanting to check these out I suggest you buy them from the aidstation.com. Why? because it's Clark Zealand's store! how cool is that?! but seriously, a major thank you to Jeremy Ramsey for holding back a pair of W 8's ( the most popular size in women's shoes)
Then I snagged up a copy of a DVD about David Horton's speed record on the PCT in 2005. I know I'm really late getting to see it:o) but figured now was better than never:o)
for those of you who haven't seen it or don't know what I'm talking about here is a link to a youtube clip from the DVD. HERE
After socializing with all my friends, Brock and I drove back to lynchburg to check into our hotel and go eat some yummy japanese food. Then we came back and I got all my gear/drop bag ready. I couldn't sleep it was 9pm at that point, so I ended up watching "The Runner" ( and it was so good!) and drifted off to sleep definitely inspired.
I woke up at 4am. Breakfasted on oatmeal with sliced bananas, blueberries and chia seeds and a muscle milk ( for beth).
We drive 45 min back to the 4h center and oh, let the FUN BEGIN!
I had a formulated a plan to try to have as evenly paced loops as possible ( the race is 2 loops-- on clockwise then counter clockwise) and start SLOW and I mean SLOW the first loop. I had NEVER employed this strategy before, but I had ALWAYS meant to.. before EVERY ultra last year.. that I would start slow.. even at frozen sasquatch.. I had meant to start slow. It just never happens. I get WAY too hyper and just take off, it feel like i'm going slow and then I look down at my garmin and realize I ran a 730 first mile without meaning to:/ SOOO..... This is where Sophie comes in--- I knew how Sophie usually runs.. she starts slow and then speeds up as the race goes on and always runs really consistent and strong. She was kind enough to offer that I start with her and tag along with her for the first loop. And that is what I did. I had a goal of running 5:30 so I figured if I came in at 2:40 the first loop, that would be good and give me 10 min to play around with.
Sophie keeping me in check the first loop
So I ran with sophie, marlin, Jenn pharr davis the first loop and it was just pretty much a party.. we all just laughed, chatted and had fun and the miles just clicked along. I got antsy a couple times and Sophie would assure me that I was doing the right thing to sit back-- I would have a much easier time the second loop. They picked it up about 2 miles from the half way point, and I fell back.. still going my pace I had been going.. but I could still see Sophie and marlin in my visuals so I didn't slow up much. I felt pretty strong, and finished the first loop in 2:40 RIGHT where I wanted to be. I really was surprised with how consistent and how NON- icky I felt. usually 16 miles in.. I am already feeling SOMETHING..
I turned to go back to run the loop backwards, it was a little hairy with the single track around the lake and having to pass the people on the trail who were finishing up their first loop.( I had the same dilemma coming in to finish my loop when I would meet all the fast peeps ahead of me) but really I really tried to give tons of room and so did the people going up the trail.. So I think it worked out as best as it could.
I was trying to run faster, and I felt faster.. ONLY I was just going the same pace. LOL it was just requiring more effort. I ran about 13 more miles.. 2 more aid stations where I got to see my sweet husband who was the BEST crew and took so many great pictures during the race.
and then the wheels fell off. BOOM. at the last aid station I had 4 miles to go and brock tried to get me to take a gel with me... which reminds me to point out: I ALSO was doing something else new!! NOTICE ANYTHING DIFFERENT?! ANYTHING?! NO NATHAN VEST this race! I decided to use *shock* MY POCKETS! and drop bag and cool things like that so I wouldn't have to carry so much.. and it was AWESOME! I felt so light and airy! :o) I decided for 50 miles yes.. wear a nathan vest.. but for a 50k with AS every 4 miles.. and a drop bag half way, really no need. so jenny went old skewl.. or is it new skewl since using only my pockets is something new for me? regardless, I liked it.
okay, back to my original story: so Brock tries to get me to take a gel with me, and I refused in my brain dead stupid state.. saying "nah, man I'm fine." I ate about 500 cal so far.. and I felt really good and really felt I was close to finishing. I knew I was slowing down but I felt I could sneak in the 5:30's.. only a couple min off my goal.
run up the trail a mile and sputter, sputter, DIE... well. Isn't that just awesome? 45 min later.....
Jenny gets spit out of the woods, on the pavement.. little 21 yr old liberty girls are passing me right and left.. zoom, zoom, zoom... but Alas! the finish line!
and how great it is TO FINISH! 5:41... yeah, that wasn't an amazing time.. but considering this time last year my 50k PR was 7:31... I'll take it!! I see I'm learning more and improving and it's REALLY motivating! My first true "horton hug" at one of his races!! Finish line camaraderie and don't forget that SWEET finishers patagonia capilene. :o) yay!
many positives from this race:
1. starting slow kept me stronger for longer... glad I finally "stuck with the plan"
2. it was darn good training for me to RUN 33 miles. This course was rolling and def a TRAIL race tons of single track and dirt narrow double track ( think four-wheeler tracks) but it was VERY runnable with only a couple steep sections you could hike up ( but so short you really could run up if you had to) I'm a tad undertrained for the really long distances right now ( winter makes it hard to be outside for 7 and 8 hours at a time!) so really it's no wonder I bonked at 30 miles ( one lesson I learned, when in doubt, EAT THAT LAST GEL AT THE LAST AID STATION) but I think RUNNING that much is going to do nothing but help me gain fitness for my 50k's have planned in the next couple months:o)
3. less is more: go light-- if there are ton's of aid stations.. you'll be OKAY. TRUST ME.
4. The Rogue Racers did AMAZING! ( even though the runner wearing them did not) No blisters, no bruised toe nails, no ouchie feet this morning. My feet are the PRETTIEST post 50k EVER. I love masochists, but rogue racers have some great cush to them that the masochist are lacking just a little. and they are SOO light:o) I would definitely wear these during a 50 miler.
I had to go through a BIG ol stream crossing ( twice) and my new kicks drained VERY well:o)