Going the distance

Life is like a long distance run. Most of the time you're looking forward, but occasionally you look back at what you've covered… You know there will be obstacles throughout the journey - but deep down, you know you can handle anything that comes your way. Most importantly... you keep putting one foot in front of the other and let 'NOTHING' stand in your way!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Frosty 50 Meltdown.

No better way to start off my ULTRA year than with a 50k. I had committed myself to doing this race after reading all the reports from 2011. I was looking forward to running a race fighting the bitter cold elements. Not that running a 50k isn't insane enough.

Race week arrives and the weather turns bitter cold, then decides to switch back to spring like weather for the weekend. 49* for a Low and 60* for a high. This should be easy to do not too cold not too hot.

Friday night I carb load on french fries from 5 guys. Yes I ate the whole bag. I went to bed around 9 and by 11:30 Im wide awake. I flip channels for an hour or so then fall back to sleep. 2:30 awake, 3:15 awake, finely at 4:10 I get up and get ready. My carpool is not until 5:45. So I eat some oatmeal and a banana. I sat back and did my morning Bible reading.

Right on time Emily Knudson pulls up. We get driving and she says "I hope you don't get nervous with other people driving, people say I scare them." I was good with her checking directions on her phone until she started heading off the side of 85. We agreed I would navigate and monitor the GPS. ( Glad I prayed this morning)

We get to the lake about an hour early. Check in and get things ready. Because it was still cold we hung out at the car until about 10 min to the start. I had originally planned to have a drop bag at the first turn. When I asked about sending it over with someone it was too late. I had to stuff extra gels in my shorts and water bottle. Snap a few pics at the start line. That's when I realize I shoulda used the port o potty. mistake #1. The lines were way too long. . . And were off!

I had read the reports and decided on doing a light run walk, run while I felt good, walk the aid stations. This is my usual marathon M.O. Not thinking marathon water stops are 2 miles apart not 3.5 Mistake #2. Emily told me she was planning to go slow, so I decided to go on my own. Mistake #3 I'm running at a good 8:30-9 min pace. I should have known better. I guess I got caught up in the 25k crowd.

Just past the 3 mile point my bladder says no more you gotta stop. Lucky this was right before the Linville Rd parking area.

I walk to the aid station my first walk break. Water and a banana, a PB GU and I'm off. Back into my 9 min pace. Cruising along to the music I chat with a few folks and enjoy the trail. Then we come to the paved section and hit a big down hill switchback. I can't help myself and I open it up and fly down at full speed. As I level off I see people coming at me with water cups so I know the next aid station is ahead. I get my camera out to snap some pics of friends that will be ahead of me. Then I here a familiar voice say looking good Chad is cheering us on. I gave him my camera and asked if he'd snap some pics I'd grab it from him on the way back.

I walked through the aid station grabbed some water and resumed my way to fast pace. I was happy the creek crossing was dry. This was the only fear I had of the course. I hate running with wet feet. Made the turn and thought that wasn't too bad. I ran past Chad again, this time I stopped for a second. I asked him to snap more pics and I could get my camera back later. He asked me how the feet were holding and gave me some encouraging support.

Not much for the next few miles until the Linville aid station. I could tell I was starting to have some gastric distress. I was on my 4Th PB GU and had been hydrating on schedule. But the mistake of not going before the start was taking its toll. Spirits were still good and the last few miles ticked by. about mile 14 I came to the realization I gotta do this all over again.

I came into the start finish at 2:31 this was perfect being my on my goal time. I knew however the second half would not be as easy as the first. I took care of my stomach issues and loaded up my water bottle and picked up more GU. Chad gave me my camera back and some more positive encouragement and I was off.

I knew I needed to control my pace better so I tried to work out a run walk strategy to attempt to make my finish goal. As I reach the 2 mile point of the out leg I see the winners coming in. The look fresh like they just started. Then I remember the relay teams. Then I start seeing people I know so I thought why not get some good pics. I stopped to snaps photos of the DART, Vac and Dash and fellow UCRR members. You never get free photos at a race.

I felt I was keeping good pace and was passing people. I started breaking down into more walk breaks but tried to maintain good pace while running.

"I'm afraid that some times you'll play lonely games too. Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you. All alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you'll be quite a lot"

- Dr. Seuss from "Oh the places you'll go"

Its funny quotes that get stuck in your head. I had thought about it earlier in the day but realized mistake 4 this would have been easier to have a partner or at least a pacer.

Not much to remember going into the final turn. I made the final turn and decided to check my time. I was at 3:50 and change at mile 23.3 I thought I still got this. I started talking to a couple other runners at he turn while I adjusted my clothing. It was now warm enough to ditch the shirt. Then reality hit me when I was informed my Garmin was off by 20 minutes. Mistake 5 turn off the auto pause. It was like a punch in the face. Nothing I could do about it at this point I gotta finish.

I decided I would head out with Mr. Kill My Dream. He tells me his IT is bugging him, but I figure we both could use each others help. That lasted about a half mile and he couldn't keep up. I put my music on and decided to make the best of it. I slowed to a 10 min pace and kept my eyes on the ground. Trying not to put much thought into what was ahead and to fight off the negative thoughts. I'm still passing people. Then I started leap frogging with a girl from Ohio. We ended up going into the Linville rd aid station together. That's when I realized this was only another 5k. We stuck together for a mile or so then I had to get moving faster, I wasn't letting this turn into a death march. I wasn't so much in pain as the mental side of me was having issues overcoming the distance.

Mile 29 and the hill is there. Where did this thing come from, I don't remember it being here before. My mental state was making me think it was bigger than it was. As I made the top I could see the finish line tent in the distance. I picked up the pace and thought I got this from here. Then another long curve around the lake was there. I stoped to walk again. Finely right about mile 30 a runner passes me and stops. He asked if I could use someone to run me in. I said if you can run this slow I'd love the company. That was all it took we chatted the mile away and I picked up the pace to about 9ish. And before I knew it I was looking at the finish line. Done! 5:41:14 80Th place out of 114.

Funny the finish area was like a ghost town. I found my bag and laid back to wait for Emily to come in. I cheered on the remaining runners as they crossed the line. Alex came in at 5:47, and Emily came in at 6:11.

The final insult of the day came when we started to drive off to find out Emily had a flat tire. So I got to practice my NASCAR pit crew skills, and we were off. We headed over to Whole Foods to get some good recovery food then had a long slow drive back on the spare tire.

Overall I'm OK with my finish time. I was aiming for 5 hours. but it is what it is. I do have to agree with someone who said this before but 50k is a LONG Fn way!

What worked, The Nike Frees, ginger chews, and the PB GU.
What didn't, Pre race prep, pace strategy
Mango Gatorade (thought was orange).Also the first race I had no pain relief help from the Ibupro. No running partner or pacer.

I don't think I'm a big fan of the relay mixed in with the Ultra too many people out at the start. As far as the course. What awesome place to run. I'm actually jealous of their course. I could be at home out there. I may go back for the 30k in the fall.

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