Honestly, I had an amazing time. Was it hard? Of course. Did I get hurt? Sure. But it was still the most fun I've had with my clothes on. So how do you go about recapping something so enormous? Here's my attempt at summarizing the 50k (31.1 miles), which took 7 hours, 29 minutes and 16 seconds. (And I thought recapping a four and a half hour marathon was tough. )
Pre-Race: The whole past week I was basically "getting ready" for this race. I only did a one-week taper, but it was a grand total of 7.5 miles, (3 miles Tuesday, 4.5 miles Wednesday) so I was eager to start running on Saturday morning. I slept a pretty solid 6 hours on Friday night, had carbo-loaded the day before and had everything packed. And then we started driving.
|Freaking out in the rain pre-race.|
The rain came slowly, completely eliminating all the work I had done over the past 10 days on Weather.com. How does 10% chance of percipiation turn into "rainy all morning"? You tell me.
|SO excited to run in the race. Really.|
Race Time: I started out right in the middle of the pack, which immediately split into two groups - there was also an 11 mile run that day. After less than half a mile we were covered from the rain and on the trail. The first 4 miles are basically a nice, wide trail that is completely runnable, with rolling hills but very manageable terrain. We all moved along at a nice, slow pace. I told myself that the rule for the first few hours was just DON'T BREATHE HEAVILY. That's it. Ignore pace, ignore everyone else, and just run nice and easy without ever getting out of breath.
After the aid station at "Mushroom Rock", things got interesting. A steep, technical descent, a swinging bridge, and plenty of water crossings. Around mile 7, there were a bunch of screams and someone yelled, "Yellowjackets!" Everyone around me got stung, but they missed me entirely. (Side note: all I thought when this happened was TRACKER JACKERS!)
At mile 10, I had my only real fall for the day. I was crossing a creek and trying to basically hug a rock to get over the water when I slipped. Someone actually hopped into the water and caught my head so it wouldn't smash into the rock, but I still had some minor scrapes/bumps. It was all fine, but all the aid station workers thought I was bad ass because of the blood. I did not correct them.
Around the 5 hour mark by knee buckled and I actually screamed - it was incredibly painful. Oddly, it only hurt when I stepped up or down onto a rock/step. I took some ibuprofen and it was gone almost right away. Other than that...there wasn't much excitement or drama on the course. I say that as a good thing. I met some fellow runners, chatting through tough spots on the course, but I also spent a lot of time on my own. That, honestly, was the best part. I got lost twice, but both times I was with someone else and we caught the mistake within a minute or two.
Aid Stations: These were great. I've only ever run trail half marathons before, so I don't really need to stop for snacks and I have my own water. This time, I brought along my Camelbak full of snacks and filled it up with nuun. But I still enjoyed snacks at the aid stations and they were kind enough to refill my backpack with water too. Over the 7+ hours I ate jelly beans, gummy bears, lots of peanut m&m's, boiled potatoes with salt, coke (I had no idea it was going to be that delicious, but it was), shot blocks and a KIND bar. I was aiming for around 150-200 calories per hour, but I think I ended up at the lower end of this scale overall. I drank about 120 ounces of water and added 4 nuun tabs overall. I never hit the proverbial "wall", felt dehydrated or cramped up, so I say SUCCESS!
|Camlbak with snacks!|
The Course: I have very few complaints about the actual course. It was very challenging, with 5,000 feet of elevation gain and lots of boulders, a mile long "rock garden," where there was little trail and you just hopped from from boulder to boulder, but that is what made this run so much fun. The scenery was incredible, and there were tons of awesome rock formations along the way. The rain did leave everything muddy and slippery, and there were some spots that were dangerous as a result. But there's not much race directors can do about that.
The Finish: The last 1/3 of a mile or so is on road, and as soon as I emerged from the trail Tim was waiting there - and had been for an hour. Love that man, and I love that he was standing there (in the cold!) waiting for me to finish. THANK YOU! I had a surge and was able to sprint to the finish, coming in at 7 hours, 29 minutes and 16 seconds. That put me at 41/90 women, and I'm more than happy with that time.
|2 minutes from the finish|
Post-Race: Today (Sunday) is so much harder than the actual race itself. Everything aches. EVERYTHING. I walked for about 45 minutes and that was more than enough. Sleep, food and movies are the agenda today and tonight. I'm still waiting for my celebratory wine - I think I may FINALLY be hydrated enough to start properly dehydrating myself.
I really want to thank everyone who sent encouragement, support and congratulations through Facebook, Twitter, text, etc. I really appreciate it so much. It means a lot to me!
What's the one thing that has helped recovery after a long race for you? I'll take all the advice I can get!
I didn't do much yesterday that I maybe should have - I drank, ate and slept. I wish I had taken an ice bath or gone for a walk in the evening, but I was just too exhausted. Hopefully the walk today will help get rid of some stiffness by tomorrow!