|Pretty much how I felt this weekend...|
I was very excited from the get go about how things would pan out. I was super excited to get to go with my friends on a road trip and do the 50k. It made me feel even better that three of the four of us had never done a 50k. Fiona, Libby, and I all were new to that distance. We had all completed marathons but my last marathon was a year and a half ago in the spring of 2010. The rest of them had completed their marathons in the last few months if not weeks! My longest training run before this race was a 20 miler before the Palo Duro weekend. So I was a little worried that even though I had been training for this race for months, that I might not have enough mileage. I figured there was nothing I could now but run the race.
So we head down Friday afternoon and get to the hotel and get checked in. Then we head to packet pick up at Huntsville State Park.
|Corina and I at the park entrance...|
|I thought the alligator thing was a joke until we drove past this sign...|
|The crew from L to R: Me, Fiona, Corina, and Libby|
This was at the start/finish area...
So we go eat dinner at the Farmhouse cafe - highly recommend it if you ever go to Huntsville! They had some delicious stuff on the menu like my favorite chicken fried steak, but I didn't get it...I had to be sensible...my stomach has had issues on race day before so I knew I had to play it safe.
After dinner we all went back and got ready for the race.
|Pinning on my bib...|
|Laying everything out for the drop bag to make sure I don't forget anything.|
|I was bib 30 and Libby was 31!|
|Ready for the race...|
We got to the race site and got our chips and promptly returned to the car for as long as possible because it was a tad chilly!
So off we go on our first of two 15.5 mile loops. It was dark for a good hour, maybe an hour and a half...dark, dark...
|It was DARK!!!|
We made it to the first aid station still altogether.
|1st Aid Station - 4 miles in - still dark!|
|Sun coming up finally!|
|Corina and I on our first loop!|
|Last aid station on first loop...I'm eating - Corina is hook 'em-ing...(is that a word?)|
So off we go, finishing up our first 15.5 mile loop and I am feeling good and strong. I knew I needed to stick with a nice steady comfortable pace on the first loop and I did that and finished in 3:55 - my goal was 4:00 so I was feeling pretty confident.
|Coming in from my first loop.|
So off we go on loop 2. Fiona left a little earlier than the rest of us. She is by far a faster, stronger runner and she had kept her pace slower on her first loop so she could go faster the second loop. I think she wound up with a negative split when it was all said and done.
Off we go, the three of us ran together for about the next 9 miles, until we got to the second aid station. It was nice being able to see the trail in the day light that we had only seen in the dark earlier. However, the long Jeep road that we ran on mile 2 in the dark seemed a whole lot longer when it was mile 17 in the light! I thought that road would never end! But it did and we got to the first aid station where Corina got some more meds for a sore knee and off we went...Corina was hanging back a little but she was right behind us. At this point we knew there was only one guy behind our little group. We were the last of the 50k-ers.
At the second aid station - about mile 24, we separated from Corina but only after a group shot.
|Almost done ladies! 7 more to go!|
So off Libby and I go...we had a good pace and we were very good about walking the uphills and running everything else. Eventually about mile 25, I guess, I separated from Libby. I got in front and then when I turned around I had run too far ahead. I couldn't see her. I didn't realize I was that far ahead until then. I was just in a zone, and between dodging roots and rocks and branches, I just zoned out. I stopped a couple of times on the trail when I thought I might be able to see her because of how the trail went but I never did.
|Obligatory self portrait at mile 25...texted my husband and my mom that I was still alive and well with this pic.|
|Part of the trail....it was beautiful!|
|Officially done with my first ultra-marathon!|
|Finish line friends!!!|
It took me 8 hours and 16 minutes to finish...my goal was 8...but more importantly, my goal was to finish and that I did...I had so much fun and I couldn't have asked for a better group of gals to share that experience with! Everyone was so wonderful and supportive.
On the way home, Corina and Libby were talking about future races and goals and it was then that I realized, I don't really care to ever do another marathon. As far as road races go, I think the half marathon is as far I will run, but on trails - well that is a different story. Trails are so different in so many ways. They don't even compare. I feel so much better today than I have after either of the marathons. In fact, I ran today. Yes, trails slow you down, which for a slow road runner makes you super slow, but, the atmosphere is so much more relaxed. The mental toughness of the trails is hard. I read a quote today that said something to the effect that road runners draw energy from the crowds but that on the trail it is just you alone...nothing to draw your energy from but yourself. Sometimes that is hard. Running is so mental for me anyway. But I love this so much! The 50K is the perfect distance for me right now. It is hard enough to push my body out of its comfort zone, a lot, but not hard enough that I can't do it. Someday I would like to do a 50 miler, but right now I am sticking with this distance.
That being said, somehow Corina and Libby convinced me that I needed to do another 50K in two weeks. So, all I have to say to that is "Watch out Wild Hare!" I came home and within being home for an hour I had signed up for the race on November 19th. After that the race schedule is empty until the New Year's Double , but I figure why not? My mileage is high, I feel good...let's do it!