Not that it had to be proven, or that I am about to cry over it. Not a runner I am - not anymore, anyway. Unlike Ronda, who just proved that she can run! However, if you think I have a work cut off for me with what I should be doing to improve, you'd be right - and wrong. I would like to, but I just don't get too excited:)
Anyhow, yesterday I ran a 50 miler. I actually ran it, as I ran a good 70% of this race, when usually in my more hilly and mountain races I power walk at least 50%. This one was flat as a pancake. It had 2 hills of a minute each between miles 5 and 6 of each of 7 loops, separated by a mile of outside-the-field trail. Each of those hills took a minute to power hike...yeah, not a big hill, although I was glad to see at least that. All together, this 50M race featured probably about 1,000 feet of climb (just an estimate). While I didn't really peak for it in training (see October, sick and surgery), nor did I taper (I was so excited to finally be able to exercise again, I was going full steam all week, till Larry and Eman both asked me a question: ain't you having a race this weekend? and I was like: really, am I?), still, hear me out. The stats of the fact are: I ran Leona Divide 50 in April (granted, at the top of my form this year) with 9,000 feet of climb in 9:17. Yesterday, I waded my way through this Texas trail for 9:43. Hmm...I remember my flat PR stood at 8:17, and that was a touch hillier and my only 2nd 50M ran as a training run:)
Anyhow, despite this introduction, I had a grand time. To begin, Larry cooked chili the night before, and while I should have known better than to eat Cajun food before the race (see CR100 report last year), I ate, 2 bowls, and from the moment I woke up at 3am, the toilet was my best friend. Whatever...
I arrived to the race start, a typical Texas private ranch who's owner Joe P. from Tejas Trails bi-friended, and was both feet deep into friends and laughter. And toilet visits:) In fact, I was dashing there when Joe said "1 minute before start", and as I came out and lined up, I remembered I needed a headlamp! Some prep I had...
I also didn't bring nearly enough gels, and had to rely on provided Hammer gels, which really screw up my stomach - and that's the story for the second half of the race. Because the first part was spent finding bushes and making sure a line to a toilet at the start of each loop was open.
It never phased me out though. Seriously, I had so much fun, I just accepted the inevitable and went with the flow. I ran strong - or what I thought was a strong run, and entertained myself with hooting and yelling, talking with folks from 50M, 50k, 25k and 10k all going simultaneously, and with aid station friends. It is awesome to know pretty much everyone! And if there was someone who didn't know me before - I am sure will never forget now.
As I made my way round'n'round, on a beautiful (albeit flat) single track inside the pine trees (where did they get pine trees in Texas?) through the mesa of labyrinths (when you see people 0.25M ahead or behind you popping right next to your trail), or shuffling around the field's perimeter, and getting stronger by loop 4 and beginning to pass a runner here and there (told you so! even if I am not a runner...), having a blast on loop 5 (yay, I am awesome!), by loop 6 my gut shut down will all those Hammer gels. I am still taking them down, and they are not processing, and while the utilizing the bushes stopped almost completely, I am about to give birth to a baby elephant, and the energy is sinking due to no fuel getting to my blood stream. That, and I am extremely nauseous...
On loop 7, about 2.5M in, I finally started throwing up. Man, it felt great! As I was retching, a guy we were playing hooks with stopped in that mesa trail ahead of me (but almost next to me) and asked if I was ok. Yeah, just puking! Got to mid-loop AS, see Larry and Eman - whine I threw up. Larry, in true manner and a lesson learnt from Hardorck (when Olga whines, don't pay attention like you don't hear a thing and kick her out) filled my bottle with ice and send me out: "She'll just finish it, she doesn't need anything". I think Eman thought he hates me. In fact, he did me good. I got mad for about 5 minutes, then got my shit together and figured if I can't run 9:30, I should at least break 9:45, damn it! And so, after I puked a couple more times, I brought it home, in 9:43, for 2nd female.
And managed to make fun (after hugging a garbage can and sucking on some ice cubes) of a few handsome boys whom I passed and held back too! And the best part - my splits! Loop 1 was 5M in 51min, and then 7.5M loops went like that: 1:20 (too fast, no toilet stop), 1:26, 1:27, 1:28, 1:32, 1:36. Can you get much better than that in consistency? I mean, you can go even or negative (done that too), but how often does that really happen in life?
The showers were awesome at the finish line! Too bad I wasn't in a mood to eat, because they also had hamburgers and hot dogs freshly cooked! Darn!
It was a bit (a big bit) on a humid side here yesterday, and while the temps probably held on just around mid-70's, the humidity made for some struggle. I chafed and every spot I could find, and was going through a bottle of water in 3.5M between the aid easily (in fact, rationing every time). May be 2 bottles would have been smarter...but I did take plenty of salt, and drunk my V8 juice every loop. The cloud cover, occasional at first, but then more so, was helpful too! I ran for the first time in LaSportive Skylite, their lightest shoe, and loved it - but probably not for 50M. Just past the 50k I began to feel every step, and I think this is what they are for for me, a heavier kind of runner. Fireblades are still my most favorite shoe of all!
Anyway, back to race and a competition. Steve Moore graced us with his presence fresh off the Cactus Rose 100 win and CR and ran away with 7:14 (slacker). Dan Smith was 2nd. Roch Horton, a fame in his own (a little known to Texas, but boy, you should! A man is an animal!) came to run flats while visiting The Running Event in Asutin. Thomas Orf, my boy, yay! after unfortunate turn of events at his main goal race at CR50 had, under a pressure of his lovely wife, signed up for this one to not waste hard training, and when learned he is 5 min behind 3rd place with 4 miles to go, killed it! He finished 3rd in 8:12! Girls were fun too. I hung behind Steve and Roch for 2 miles while screaming at the train behind to yeehaa more (are we in TX or what?), but as my first gel time came, realized this pace is not sustainable for the rest of this jog for me, and the 3 folks behind are rather on my heels and pushing me. I let them go. That was the last I saw the winner gal, who finished almost a full loop ahead of me (I don't know times as they are not posted), what would make it a good 1:30 at the minimum. She was tall, beautiful and paced by her male friend the whole way (until he faded and was passed by Thomas). At loop 6 I saw a glimpse of her, what freaked me out - am I catching? why? she seems to be running super-strong! did she get lost? why is she not passing me still? - until it dawned on me, she was in a mase behind - a full loop ahead! She was about to finish, while I had a whole 7.5M to go! With the 3rd place gal was more fun - in terms of racing. We stayed together for 3.5 loops. She had gorgeous tan strong legs and a face of determination. While I had gave her compliments on every turn I could see her, staying that close was making a number on my brain, so I decided to make a move on loop 4. I mean, I felt I could shake her off, but didn't want to take any chances. I pulled away and kept plugging along until the puking crap hit. So, besides Larry not being overly compassionate to me, the thought of my hard work might go to drain if I slow down wasn't a pleasant one. I sucked it up (literally, puke and all). She came some 30 minutes later (I was out of shower, I don't know the time). Not sure about 50 k runners besides Tracy taking the women's title - and when she ran by me, she stopped, and we hugged, and chatted! and then when she was done and I came from the loop right after she filled my bottle! just like Diana did after he 25k finish! Yo gotta love this sport, when a champ stops and talks while grinding the race...or helps instead of chilling with a burger.
Now, a blast to Joe and Joyce and their Team at Tejas trails! You guys rock! Every time! Love the way Joe lays out the trails, and yes, I know it nearly impossible to make something truly good in terms of what we both love to run here, but what he does make out of what he has is totally awesome! The personable feeling they give to their runners is unmatched. Well, I could challenge him in hugging at the finish line, because, you know, some time ago I was offered to be hired a "finish line hugger"...just kidding:) Thanks you guys!
I took an ice bath! Yeah, second time! I really wanted to get back into swing of things and not take time off, so I grunted my teeth for 10 minutes, and today was able to join a Sunday group-club run. Larry hosted it (due to our usual group leader celebrating wedding anniversary), we brought Harrison, Eman brought Hesham, and after following a group for over a mile, I took the boys, Elizabeth and her son Alex back to the cars. Kids did close to 3 rugged hilly miles! Yay to them! They were total troopers, no whining, and walking when you need it with a purpose, "like you mean it"! And I, besides some sunken energy, had no aches or pains.