The alarm squaks at me at 630 on day 4 of epic road trip and I rolled out of bed to take a quick shower before donning layers to prepare myself for the chill of the morning.
shoved encouraged my husband out of bed. Kept breakfast simple, toast and peanut butter, with my small cup of coffee. It was time to make our way to the race.
Picked up my “packet” which was simply my shirt and race bib.
I practically ran back to the car to sit in the warm while I secured the bib to my skirt and waited for the start time to get closer. I was hoping Paul would run the car, he didn’t. I’m discovering he is a lot more tolerant of cold than I am.
Eventually, despite my wish that time would just effin stand still, the start time is nears and we move to the start.
We take the usual pre-race pic and then I join the small collection of
crazy er I mean awesome people about to embark on a 31 mile journey. Paul captured a candid photo of how I was really feeling (can you guess what I’m thinking?) and then got another of the small herd of humans as we trot off into the distance.
I ran without my phone which means no music or communication. The race is a 15.5 mile loop that I have to complete twice. I also jacked up starting my GPS watch at the start so I just ran it as a timer. GU consumption every 4 miles.
-Right off the bat, I realized I was one of the slower people out there. It’s pretty easy to figure that out when you are inhaling the dust of the runners ahead of you despite your 9:09 first mile.
-It’s chilly so I decide to run relaxed but harder to do the best I can on the first half to buy myself time on the second half. I ran 25 minutes straight and then walked 5.
-I ran 25min again. This time I passed two ladies that looked my age. I swore to myself they would not beat me. With the intentions of walking 5 again, I walked 4 and took off running because those ladies were too close for comfort!
-I decided I wasn’t ready for 25/5 since i didn’t train that way. I changed to 8/2.
-I ran super hard to put distance between myself and this older guy that was very talkative. Wanted to talk about race times and dream races. We talked over about a mile or so and then I put on some speed.
-I sang “come run the hidden pine trails of the forest” (from Pocahantas) as I came across a portion that went through pine trees. I loved it through there because the pine needles made is like running on a cloud.
-the 25k start was 30 min after we did I kept an eye on my watch playing games trying to predict what color they would be wearing and when they would catch me. Just past mile 7. Let me tell you what. That guy (wearing black) flew by me like I was standing still.
-hit 10 miles at just over 80 minutes. I knew in that instant I was a moron. I do it every time and I never learn. Too fast. I’m gonna tank.
-I felt paranoid having to constantly look back to be aware of incoming 25k runners and also to ensure my gals were coming to overtake me.
-honestly, before I knew it, I was rounding the corner into the start/finish area where I knew my hubby would be. 2:38 and change. I recruit Paul for a half mile walk after he filled my water bottle.
Paul stood back and let me jog ahead to get the picture on the lovely little bridge. ❤️ I enjoyed the company for a minute and he gave me the 4 GU I would need to finish out the race.
He asked how I felt and after paying attention I realized physically I was doing alright except for my left foot toes were a bit hot. It was tough to split off and continue my way on my trail. Told Paul I would see him in 3 hours. We parted at 2:48 on my clock.
-mile 16.5 ish… I just up and ate it. I think I forgot how to run… Or a small root grabbed my foot. But the water bottle went a-flyin and I braced for impact. It was like landing on a bed of feathers. No pain. Just a bit of dirt. Picked up and kept on truckin’
-I ran A LOT of this loop completely alone. Thank God the Toledo Roadrunners did an incredible job of marking the trail. Not even I could get lost (I did take two wrong turns on the first loop because I zoned out, but it was fixed quickly because I saw other runners ahead) and I didn’t make the mistake on the second loop. I ran out of water once because I chose to pour some on me. Oops. But it felt amazing.
-I stopped at all of the aid stations on loop 2. I filled my water halfway to reduce the weight. At mile 20 I realized I lost a GU in the fall. Salted caramel too. Sad day.
-23.5ish aid station I decide to utilize the food provided since I’ll need it due to lost GU and choked down a small pb&j sandwich and 2 pretzels. I’ve never worked harder to chew. I was miserable but had no choice. An older woman blew by me and I never caught her. I told the guy at the aid station I was dying and then heard the two girls coming down the hill. TIME TO GO!
-mile 25-29 were slow going. Definitely the worst part for me. there is a portion that was dominated by the sun. I didn’t even fight it. I just walked because I was already hot enough. Then it comes to a neat part that’s got a lot of fern like plants and you feel like you’re in a jungle so I sang “in the jungle the mighty jungle…” And “oh I just can’t wait to be king” I was struggling with calfs and my left quad trying to cramp.
-the last 2-3 miles I resorted to a run 3 and walk 2 combination. I worked hard to run as fast as I could and walk as fast too. I did manage to throw together a half mile jog to the finish.
the finish— I round that corner around the pond and start looking for Paul. There aren’t a lot of people out so I know I don’t see him. I hit the finishline at 5:45:45 well under my 6 hour goal. The first words out my mouth is “where the hell is my husband” while dude is trying to put the medal on me and give me a Popsicle stick with the number 27 on it while ushering me towards a table with coffee cups on it as if I had 738285 people also trying to finish behind me. (It was 6min before the next people finished… Those girls). Turns out I won the 20-29 female age group and no, I was not the only one.
My prize was the coffee cup! Paul missed the finish and at first I was really upset but I had to control my emotions to avoid giving myself a headache. I kept walking and witnessed a father teaching his daughter how to cast a fishing line. It was sweet. Paul redeemed himself immediately by providing chocolate milk and my favorite monster with my bag of clothes to change into.
I have learned that I cannot eat a ton right after a race and that chocolate milk and a banana tie me over so that I can shower and my body can calm down.
Once I was ready, we headed out for Chinese at B.M. Chen in Toledo. We got rear-ended en route but were able to swap insurance info and move on with the day. They hit us pretty good but did little damage. It made my head hurt (not hard considering my body was weakened). I enjoyed wonton soup and black pepper chicken. Oh man, it was deeeeelish. And then we went for dessert at the Honey Bee in Swanton OH where there is something like 100 flavors of soft serve. We got a mud sundae. Only complaint was the whipped cream… I made Paul eat it.
There you have it, my very wordy recap of my 50k. It took me over 30 min longer to do the second half. That bothers me a bit, but it shouldn’t. I trained in 10 weeks and only ran once a week, a long run, with my 3-4 days of CrossFit. This race truly was a success story. I learned a lot and reminded myself of the usuals… I just struggle with being positive and am so self-critical. I’m working on it. I am also still today, 3 days later, swearing I’m never running an ultra again. My brother seems to think I need to plan for a 100 miler now. Hahahaha. No.
have you ever run an ultra!? If not, are you considering it?
what about trail running, yay or nay?