Saturday, April 18th, 2009 I set on an adventure also know as 50 miles:) Here is the PERSONAL account of my day & race feelings-enjoy!
My day began with waking up at 2am (after going to bed at 10:30pm). I was feeling very energized (well, who am I kidding, I am the energiser bunny, lol) ready to run, ready to start AND finish my first 50 miler. I had not run/worked out since Wednesday, so being able to run again was awesome!
After eating Kashi w/ soy milk, getting last minute things ready (I always prep the night before). It was 35 out, however, the weather people were calling for it to get into the 70's, so I knew to wear shorts & sleeveless shirt. I put on a long sleeve t-shirt and sweat pants to keep me warm till the race start. I left my place at 3:30am. The moon was out & it was so beautiful!! I went to pick up a team mate (Jason) at 4am.
After picking him up we were on our way to Clifton, VA. While driving along, he realized he left the directions to the race at his house...so he called his dear wife & she relayed the directions to us (thank god one of my nicknames is GPS girl, comes in handy, lol!! ).
It only took about 45min to get to the race start (have to love driving while everyone else is asleep in DC metro area!). Once there, we made our way through the dark to pick up our race bibs, t-shirt & glass cup. The dark was VERY dark. They had little glow sticks (about 5) lighting the way through the woods to the building. Some other runners had flashlights with them (note for next year) so we followed them:)
After getting our stuff we made the trek back to my car. I put on my shoes, took off my warm clothes and said hello to the 35 degree weather. I made a mental note to remember how cold I felt when it was going to get HOT later on:)
We walked back to the building & I saw some of ultra buddy's. It was great to see Bobby & Mike!!! They are running the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile on May 16. Mike was running the race, Bobby was helping at aid station mile 16.6.
At 6am, I had my Luna Moons, some more water....ready to rock, roll, and RUN!! 6:15am we all (314 of us) headed out into the cold to the race start. There was excitement in the, I was feeling ready & the sun was beginning to come out. After a few brief announcements, the countdown began and we were OFF at 6:30am!
My hands are ALWAYS cold, so when the weather is cold, they are triple cold:) As part of my race goal, I made the commitment to blog along the entire race....complete with pictures! So typing on my BlackBerry during the first 2 hours was a bit of a challenge....my fingers just would not warm up!!
The course started off downhill, then quickly we were climbing over rocks, no, they were more like small boulders. It was impossible to RUN over them. We all had to crawl our way through that section. The course ran beside the river & the Bluebell flowers were just BEAUTIFUL!!
7:30am I made my way up the steep stairs to the aid station. Quickly got a salt caps, some Pringles to take with it, water & Gatorade to wash it down. Then it was back down the stairs.
This section was an out & back course, so the winners were passing us as we were going out. I kept a mental note of how many women passed me:) I am not competitive or anything, lol!!
Around this time, I was also trying to ignore my right calf...feeling a little "sore"
8:30am I was back at the aid station, more refueling & salt caps were taken. The sun was out in FULL glory & it was starting to get warm. I contuined to blog about my journey...having fun along the way. I must say it does take a special skill to run trails AND type at the same time:)
The course continued to be challenging: switch backs, HILLS, steep CLIMBS where it was impossible to run them and then down hill. There was also mud and BEES....I know I am sweet, but I am not up for being tested by bees while running 50 miles!!
9:30am, back at Hemlock aid station, mile 16.6....saw Bobby, took more salt caps+potatoes with salt & a 1/4 PB&J sandwich.
Then I was off again! The next stretch was pretty tough. The BOULDERS were hard to navigate, but the pretty flowers were nice to see!!
Did I mention HILLS? There were more of them...like a lot of them! The sun was beating down on us...hands were finally warm, thank God!!
10:30am arrived at aid station mile 21.1, popped a **few** advil + salt caps+ potatoes with salt and also wiped my face with baby wipes, that felt GREAT!! I was already starting to turn into a salt stick and I stil had 30 more miles to go...drinking a lot, a lot...
off again, passed underneath a bridge that was low & a guy in front of me bumped his head...I almost did as well!! He was ok & we ran on...
Took 35min to get to the next aid station, where I repeated the whole process all over again:) the next section was also pretty tough...lots of up/down on hills.
4hours, 11:30am, mile 26 I believe...kind of hard to remember:) Repeated the whole FUEL/FOOD ritual all over. Was told that I looked strong....but very salty. So I took 2 salt caps just to be safe.
Then off again, the sun was making me VERY hot, I mean HOT. By this point, I probably drank about 100oz already. I also must point out that I did not run with any music....so live blogging & looking forward to each aid station were keeping me going. I was also receiving encouragement from a LOT of my fans in the virtual world....that REALLY kept me going!!
Made it to the next station, mile 30ish, had to do a 3 mile loop, then back again. Still feeling strong, but the heat, hills and rocks were getting tough. I was 6 hours into my race....quickly got to aid station mile 40....on the home stretch!! Was thinking that I could make 9:30hours, but the course going back was TOUGH, I mean HARD. Like ROUGH. Still feeling good, but the heat was getting to me. Normally it would not have been an issue if it had been at the END of summer, but I trained in the teens & zero degree weather for the last 6months! Our/my body was acclimated to it.
I was again told that I looked strong & that felt so GREAT to hear! I passed a few people and that felt REALLY good.
It took an hour to go 5miles. The course was rocky and hilly. I could feel my calf's begin to tighten and I knew cramping was going to happen at any given time. I had to be intentionally lift my feet up so as not to hit anything...if I did, it would not be good. Those 5miles I will never forget...I can not describe the pain I was feeling, tiredness starting to set it, the HILLS in front of me......I took a picture of a hill at mile 38 (I think) and will use it as a reminder when faced with a problem that I can OVERCOME anything!!
When I made it to the aid station, it never looked so good!! had a Popsicle-the best I ever had!! I started off running again and had to carry the stick with me...on those next 5 miles I all I could think of was how the stick was like a pregnancy pee stick (sorry, any humor at mile 43 is priceless:))
Miles 40-45 were some of the toughest yet...beside being hot, EVERYTHING hurt. As I started out from the aid station, my inner thighs were BURNING!!! My shorts had riden up and after 40miles, my skin burned each inner thigh, talk about pain!! I ran very funny for the first mile or so...then just accepted the pain & ran. By this point, my tummy was sore from my fuel belts. Back, arms, heels, head, eyes, and toes were either sore, painful or numb or in shock:)
The hills on these 5 miles seeeeeemed to go on forever, but they soon ended....and another one came just as quickly as the last one had finished.
I kept envisioning the aid station in my head...finally passed under the bridge and up the hill (did not choose the stairs-climbing up anything at this point was going to be avoided at all costs).
Quickly refueled, asked how many miles left when I already knew (5) took more Advil, salt caps, and trudged off to run the last 5 miles.
The sun was now just sitting on top of me...it was hot, beyond hot!! By now, I was almost 9 hours into my race. YES, still with NO music!! Just me, the woods, the HILLS, the few flowers, gun shots and some other runners:)
The last 5 miles was not a mental issue for me, it was a leg issue. I tripped on a rock & that caused my right calf to cramp. Not bad, but bad enough to stop me in my tracks. So, I had to make sure I was looking VERY carefully on the ground for any protruding objects...on the trails, yeah right!! LOL:)
I caught up with a few guys, one was the guy who bumped his head. when he saw me, he told me that I was very brave, amazing, incredible for running this race on a day like this on a course like this(he was married, so he wasn't just saying those nice things:)). He also said that this was a TOUGH course, and I could do way better in my time on my next 50 miler (JFK for example). WOOHOO!!
We ran the last 1.5 miles together. Going up the "wicked hill" I just sent out a post when a SNAKE crossed RIGHT in front of me. Now, I am a TOUGH chickie, but snakes & I do not get along...at all. I was SOOO glad to have a fellow runner with me!! We crossed over the snake and pushed our way to the top of the wicked hill. It was wicked, very, very wicked!!
FINALLY, we could hear cow bells in the distance so we knew we were close...we picked up our speed and crossed the SWEET finish line. 10 hours, 18 minutes!! My friend Bobby was there & he handed me my FIRST finisher's pin, a FINISHER'S shirt and a bandanna. I hobbled over to a chair and gingerly sat down. It was now 5pm...and I was tried...sun was still out....but I had finished with a very respectable time:) and I was HAPPY!!
I was COVERED with salt and when I told my friends (one who is a doctor) how much Advil I took, they grew concerned and told me to start drinking in order to avoid my kidney's from shutting down ...the last thing I wanted to do was drink more...and really couldn't, but I did get some water down. I sat for about 20min, then knew I had to make the 1/2 mile walk/hobble back to the car.
I got up, legs were still not sure what had happened...and began the slow walk back to the car via 2 small hills.
Once to the car, I took off my right shoe and as I did so, my calf cramped up SO BAD, it threw me on the ground (thank god it was ground/grass) and I cried (yes CRIED) in pain for about 2 min. Jason tried to help, but there was really nothing he could do, other then help me back up and I took off my other shoe with out any major pain:)
Driving was a bit of a challenge, right calf was not happy & it was telling me so!! We hit traffic on the way home (got to love DC metro area traffic)!! I dropped Jason off at his home (wife+kids) were waiting. Then I made my way to the store to get ice.
Getting out of my car (it's a Tahoe, so kind of a step down) and into the store were also major feats for the day. As I entered the store, a guy looked at me and said "did you exercise to much today?". I looked at him & said "I just ran 50miles". I guess the dirt, mud, salt, & worn out expression didn't give it away:) lol!! He did carry my 2 bags of ice to the check out, but I was on my own to the car!
I spoke with 3 of my concerned friends on the way home, was so nice to talk with them!! Thanks Shelly, Kate & Craig!!
Finally made it home and I knew I could not make 2 trips up & down 3 flights of stairs, so somehow managed to lug 16lbs of ice and all my race bags and hobble inside...easier said then done, that is for sure!!
After catching up on some emails, I finally got a hot shower, which was followed right away by a LOVELY ice bath...for 10min. Got to love 16ls of ice even after a HOT day on the trails/mountains!!
After a few replies, I went to bed at 10:30pm...having been up since 2am.
The temperature for the day was 79.6...felt every bit as hot as that for sure!!
So, after going to bed...I could not move..my entire body was moving i.e. twitching or cramping, if I did move, then the whole process started over again in new areas...at 2am, I became sick...I knew I was hungry, but could not keep anything down. I finally dozed off till 7am and got up and worked on a few projects before getting a shower (remember just getting out of bed is a feat!!) shoving a bowl of Kashi down me, and to a client at 9:30.
I really don't know what will stop me!! Apparently, not 50miles!!
Today, Sunday, April 19th, was a day filled with getting used to how my legs would feel each time I would move, stand, sit, walk, step up, step down, basically a cute shuffle:) lol!!
Besides having a client this morning, the charger on phone also decided to break, so I had to make trip #1 to Verizon, where I was told there was no replacements in any stores within a 25mile radius, or the warehouse. However, the guy was very nice to me (after I told him what I just did, hehe!!) and called Verizon Tech & waived the fees, overnight shipping to me by Tuesday AND charged 2 battery's for me to use in the meantime.
I came home, worked on this blog, then back to Verizon for take 2 to pick up the battery's, then headed downtown to meet up with my friend Michael who was in town for a trade show.
We had a great time celebrating my race & life in general:)
AND now that it is 12:30am...it is time for me to get some sleep...
I hope you enjoyed my recap, please leave your comments or email me! Love to hear from you! And make sure you bookmark this page, updates all the time:)
to INSPIRE YOU!!