Tuesday, April 26, 2011

promise land 50k

Promise land 50k. I had been SO looking forward to this race for the past couple months. So excited, I had drove up and ran over the course 2 weeks prior to the race. My recovery from terrapin left me feeling STRONG and CONFIDENT. Going over the course was just extra assurance for myself that I would feel successful at promise land. WELL, sometimes you can do ALL your homework-- work extremely hard and life just throws a monkey wrench in the works.

about 7 days before the race both my kids got very sick with fevers, sore throats, upper respiratory infections. I was actually relieved at the timing because I was tapering ( is that selfish?) and I kept thinking to myself: "at least I'm not dealing with this a couple days before promise land. " I was probably foolish in thinking I wouldn't succumb to their chest cold/ crud.

low and behold, about monday I starting getting sick. The pollen was terrible, and I kept thinking I was suffering from allergies. I took zyrtec. I took allegra. and I never got better, I got worse. ( even though the allegra made me kinda hyper) the cold just settled deeper and deeper in my chest:/ bummer!!

Anyways, determined to run promise land ( and yes, my mother was quite upset I was going to go run 34 miles in the rain with a chest cold:oP) because I didn't want to miss this experience ( I suffer from the"fear of missing out" quite often) and LUS series I knew I had to run it and at least get a finish. and WHO KNOWS?? I may start running and things just break up in my lungs and I run extremely well ( I love that about pre-race hopes and dreams-- the sky is the limit and you'll never know unless you TRY)

SO brock and I drove up towards bedford in the rain with an SUV full of camping gear ( both coughing and hacking our heads off and snotting around) we decided that 40F and rain wasn't good weather for us to tent camp-- ( why make things even WORSE on myself) so we got a hotel. I was super bummed because I wanted to camp and hang out with my people!! but to tell the truth, I was SO fatigued and tired on friday night it was an effort just to go get my race number, all I wanted to do was get the the bed and hibernate.
It was great to see So many friends at packet pickup/race meeting. and yep, I definitely got a ribbing for staying in town and not camping in the rain like everyone else.:o) I promise next year I'll camp! and hopefully not be a germ factory!

I was in bed by 9pm, didn't sleep much and 3:45 came much too soon. I decided to wear my MMTR finishers shirt and a pair of MH shorts, patagonia socks and mtn masochists ( these shoes were the perfect choice for this course I feel)
I was calm on the drive to the promiseland youth camp. I was still just hoping beyond all hope I would have some sort of crazy healing experience in the mtns and run this AWESOME race I trained so hard for.

we all lined up huddled together in the rain! and off we went! immediately climbing a very steep gravel road the first 2.5 miles to reach the single track. I started slow and ran with Mark Guzzi ( I finished with him at terrapin) Jack Broaddus and Marc Griffin I figured if I stayed with them this whole race, I'd run better than okay.. I was IN this thing.. but in the back of my mind it was nagging at me how hard it felt I was working, and how tired I felt. it wasn't meant to be after about 10 miles I lost touch with my group, and beth minnick and jamie darling caught me by mile 13 I was still in about 7th place female. but I knew I was going to have to majorly dial back my effort or was going to crash and burn. My HR was very high, I couldnt breathe very deep at all, and I was very dizzy and nauseated, and couldn't eat gels or food either one. I was drinking perpetuem and I was SO thankful to have that for calories ( or else I wouldn't be getting ANY)
coming into sunset fields for the first time at mile 13 with my friend Jen.. struggling and it's EARLY in the race.
So for the downhill section going down cornelius creek, I just decided to ENJOY the run.. and I did.. I got caught and passed by many of my friends ( who were all super encouraging) namely sophie telling me not to count myself out as she breezed by.. Things like that mean ALOT. I feel SO lucky to have so many wonderful friends in my corner. I was running, just not very race pace speed. By the time I start my climb on the dark side, I was bonking hard and trying to eat an ice cream sandwich ( which made me gag and I had to throw it away:o( and I was SOO looking forward to the ice cream at the AS!!) Rebekah Trittipoe caught me.. all day today when people came up on me I would just give the trail, but when Rebekah caught me, I decided to stick with her. I had never got to run with Rebekah and always wanted to and figured that maybe if I stayed with her for a couple minutes it would get me out of my rut. Well, she doctored me right up.. after I explained I couldn't eat. She gave me her tums. and 20 min later I was able to down a gel. We had periods of hiking and conversing on a vast range of topics, ( motherhood, racing, track, achieving balance in our lives while participating in a sport that can easily become all consuming and obsessive) and then periods of running ( yay I'm running again) in silence but the silence was so warm and comfortable. It was like I had known this lady my whole life. There was no need to talk we just shared the same common goal to face this monster climb up apple orchard, get ourselves down the mtn and to the finish line. We both just worked really well and steady together to get the job done!
YAY! back at sunset fields!!!
Rebekah got me back to sunset fields! I knew she would be faster than me on the downhill section because I was still battling shortness of breath, fatigue, tireness etc.. but I knew I was SO CLOSE.. and really amazed I had made it THIS FAR feeling the way I was and on very little food. and very thankful to her for the companionship, Tums, and steady pacing.
We parted ways for her to ROCK the finish and win her age group! and I followed shortly where she was standing there with Horton at the finish line to give me a big hug. Beth, Jack, Brock, Eric, Rick.. I was surrounded by my friends at the finish. You'd of thought I came in sub 6 the way they were celebrating with me. I love you guys SOO MUCH. My small victory of merely finishing was their victory as well.
Rebekah gives good hugs:o)
Getting my signature "horton hug"
hugs from my BFF and super ultrarunner beth minnick
my buddy jack broaddus and I at the finish.

and I'll wear my patagonia finisher shorts WITH PRIDE at my next race!!

so upon reflection, I think sometimes things just don't go your way, but it really is all in choosing your attitude and making a CHOICE to stay in the race. I didn't get to race the race.. but I RAN the race. I FINISHED the race. I learned so much in the process. and this course was so beautiful with the views, the wildflowers, the falls where so full from the rain on friday and that morning. There are races were dreams are realized, and one displays heroism in their athletic performance. This wasn't my day for that. But this race will ALWAYS be special in my heart because on my first promise land, I learned just how special, loving and accepting, supportive this ultra community truly is. I'm just overwhelmed and blissed out to be apart of it.

I can't wait to run this race again next year. It's easily one of my favorite 50k's because the course is SO challenging, yet SO beautiful. Also, it's SO evident all the hard work Dr. Horton, his family, and his volunteers put into this race to make it just a super special experience for the runners.


Rick Gray said...

In regards to ultras, there are different ways, causes or reasons we are happy. To feel like we ran a well executed race in which we were able to run consistently hard is one way. To survive a race against challenging circumstances is another. The last is to enjoy the company of so many friends and being out in the woods is the final way to enjoy ourselves. As we are pretty outgoing, we always seem to enjoy being around friends who enjoy the same activity that we do. Rarely do we feel like a race went pretty perfect, but we are tickled when it does happen. Thank goodness we rarely experience the last fun point. Life does throw us a curve sometimes and the race becomes tough (and not from running). We gut those races out and when we finish we feel satisfied. Not because of a fast time, but because we did what we could. Without those bad times we would never know the good times. You will never forget your first Promise Land and it will not be because it was your slowest time, but because you did what you could under adverse circumstances. Congratulations to you for gutting it out and thanks to Rebekah for helping you through a tough patch.

Sophie Speidel said...

Isn't Mama Rebekah awesome? She is such an inspiration and so supportive. I am so glad you were able to stay with her and tough it out---you learned one of THE most important lessons of ultras in that if you aren't injured or dying, you can finish. This PL adventure and finish will serve you well in your next tough race, 'cuz then you can say, "I felt like crap at PL and still ran a good time, so I can suck it up right now and stop feeling sorry for myself, blah blah blah" :-)

Hope to see you Memorial Day weekend!!

Triple F said...

Now I understand! We all know that a day running can be special and rewarding even when your not at your best. Heck . . . sometimes can be the best. Aren't you glad you didn't miss it?? Congratulations on just toughing it out!

And all what Rick said!!! :-)

Casseday said...

Good job Jenny . . . and yes, you've got the right attitude. The speed will come and the killer races will come too. Learning to enjoy ALL of them is the key!
- Adam

Rob French said...

your perseverance under such conditions show your mental toughness much more so then running faster under ideal circumstances. once again amazed by you.

Craig said...

Great race, Jenny. You are way too fast for me to have met you, but maybe sometime at a pre-race. Thanks for pushing through the issues, it always serves as a comfort and helps other's press through as well,

Craig Burns

And Miles 2 Go said...

Jenny, you are a total studette. This PL is one you can draw from for years to come. Mucho congrats for hanging in when it would have been easy to do otherwise. *tipping my glass to you*

Carrie said...

Jenny- Glad you finished strong. Great report. Thanks for being so nice at the water crossing when I took my "swim". Hope you are well and see you at Grindstone?

JJ Jessee said...

Herculean effort! I know exactly how you felt. But you ran anyways. Thats tough that will serve you well. Congrats on keeping LUS alive!