Monday, January 16, 2012


Luckily for us the race didnt start until 11am. Which means it was able to warm up to a balmy 10* at the start. Cant really complain because last year we had 2-3inches of snow.
Last year (2011) this race was my first ever race of any kind and had no idea what to expect except that it was very hilly, cold and fun!

At the start of the race you walk less then 1/4mile to the start on the road. The race start time was 11:00 and as we have found...that means start walking to the start at 11:00!! I find that my toes are already frozen after less then 20mins standing outside. After some quick musings all 600 runners took off down the road and onto a wide trail. After about 1/4mile you scramble up the first hill which has no actual trail...make your own!

Here is a short video of the first climb thanks to Christopher Hand!
It is a blast and is needed to try to spread out the hugh pack of runners!
Once you get to the top you get a few minutes to catch your breath while you are bottle necked for the single track. I think my first mile registered at over 18minutes per mile! Then you start to spread out again with the next climb. I feel good at this point and just keep moving along passing several people and others passing me.

The first aid station is at mile 2.5 which actually seemed to come pretty quick. As we are coming out of the woods to the AS was a slippery slope that everyone was sliding on and of course I tried to step gingerly and instead crashed to my butt and wrist. But jumped up quickly and sucked down some water.

Then up to the next single track!  Again, another hill. I felt like I was doing more of a fast hike then any kind of actual running. When someone behind me askes their friend if THIS is the much talked about  Mt. Whatdafuck. Friend says, "NO. You will know when we get to Mt. Whatdafuck!" As in- whatdafuck was I thinking ;) I just laughed.

The other AS quickly comes upon us. This is the one with the alternative beverages! I, however, choose water. And experience my first brain freeze of the race...ugg... After this 4mile AS comes a really nice and really runnable section! The trails are in so much better shape this year with no snow on the ground and I feel like I am cruising! Even passed a couple of people! But soon enough comes the next hill and find that I am in the front of a line of about 20 people. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate to be in the front with people right behind me. And I really didnt like it because hills are my weakness. But I started up anyhow. Got about halfway with heavy footsteps behind me-I cant belive I could hear them over my incredibly loud breathing! So, I stepped off to the side and let about six people pass before I jumped back in line. Again, someone askes if THIS is Mt. Whatdafuck?! NOPE!

Ahh, but yes, we come to the top of this hill and before our eyes is Mt. Whatdafuck...straight up... It is short but steep. At the top you are on a 3ft high ledge that you jump down onto the road. Not bad except your legs feel like jelly! Took me a couple of steps to get my legs back and then took off running down hill and onto our last stretch of single track that is all down hill!
People were moving slow over the rocks so I passed and took off with about three other girls. Across the park and up the very last climb to the finish.
The last climb to the finish is very steep. Hand over hand steep. And I love it because all the crazy people are standing at the top yelling at you! Last year I thought it was just because I was so slow and they were already drunk and yelling! Indeed they are just having a great time cheering the runners in!

I managed to cross the finish line in 1:47 which is a 20min improvement from last year! I was very disappointed in my time. I thought for sure I was moving faster then that! 7miles in 1:47 YIKES!Oh well, it was a great improvement anyhow.

I come to find out that all of the after race candy and drinks are frozen! We had to dip our cups inside the container to scoop out our Gatorade. It was still that cold out. And then came brain freeze #2 hits. Dang that stuff is cold! The great thing to is that you are served a hot breakfast afterwards of egg, panckaes and sausage! Cant beat that.

I thought this would be the last year that I would do this race-that thought esp crosses your mind during the 2nd, 3rd, 4th hills. But infact it is so much fun that I cant wait to do it again next year and plan to improve my time even ALOT...darn it!!

Happy trails :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

PHUNT 50k 2012 Race Report

Whats better then getting together with 300 people to run on the trails in 50* sunny weather?!

Especially considering the fact that this race is a FatAss with a very well marked course and awesome aid stations. Run at Fair Hill Reserves and put on by TrailDawgs. Everyone was asked to bring canned goods for 2012 Runabundance for Philabundance to help local food banks and shelters. As well as something for the aid station. Thats the kind of race fees that I like!!

So everyone gathers at the start at 8:45am for the pre-run meeting. meeting. Which was fine because I used that time to get to know two new friends, Carol & Sharon who are running together. Carol has run this race before and says how poorly marked the course is. Yikes! I already told Rik that he didnt have to run with me and my biggest fear in running these long trail races is getting lost! I have zero sense of direction!

At the bottom left is Carol, Sharon, the back of me and Joe bending over stretching...

Finally at about 9:15am the race starts with a dud blow horn and everyone just decides to take off. And off we go. Its a nice start down a field and across a creek. People bottle neck at this point but it is really the only bottle necking of the race which was good. The ground was still frozen in this area and I over heard a guy say about how muddy this would be on the second loop. And his buddy mentioned how muddy it would probably be on the other side of the mountain...noted, but didnt think to much more about it.

Then the hills start almost immediately as did the creek crossings. This is a two loop race. So I was trying to run the smaller hills and walk the bigger ones trying to save my legs for the second loop. My legs were great, I was just having trouble getting my breathing under control with hills at the beginning...I have EIA and used my inhaler before the start but sometimes it still takes awhile for the breathing to find a rhythm. There ended up being so many creek crossings that I lost count in the first 5miles! It was mostly single track with some field crossings from one trail to the next. Beautiful day with the sun shining all day.

I was running along when Carol came up beside me and started chatting. Sharon was just behind us. I thought they were long gone but it ends up they were about my speed. That was kinda nice to run with other people and not be so afraid of getting lost! At about mile eight I took my first shot blok. I bit right down into it and out comes my brand new shiny crown that I just got about two weeks ago. Thank goodness I didnt swallow it! I stuck it in my pack pocket and kept on running. Then right before the 10mile AS was....THIS! Fun!
I wanted to hit the AS at 2hrs but instead it was about 2:10. Not a big deal, I still had plenty of time to hit the half way before cutoff. At this point my friends decided they werent gonna do the whole thing so I took off. I ended up running the next 5miles with a guy that was doing a run/walk thing. Kinda sucks when a dude is walking as fast as I am running!! Although, right after the AS we hit the MUD. Oh I'm not talking about up to your ankles mud. I'm talking about slippery as ice surface mud! I'm not talking about mud here and there. Oh no! This was miles of mud!

Needless to say, I was doing more of a power walk then a run most of the way with trying to run whenever I could on the berm of leaves for traction. At one point I crossed a bridge and then continued to focus on the trail immediately in front of me that after several minutes I looked down to my side and saw the bridge that I crossed and didnt even realize that I had been traveling uphill since! The trails were so slippery for me. I fell once but was able to catch myself with just one hand down and atleast  a half dozen almost falls. By now the speed walker dude was gone and I realized how slow I was moving and how much my knees were starting to hurt from all the slip sliding. I started stressing that I wasnt gonna make cutoff. I would try to run, slip a bit and then slow to a fast walk again. It just seemed like I was getting nowhere fast.

 Then I came upon a turn. It was a sudden turn as the trail seemed to continue straight but the sign/arrow said that I should turn right and go straight down the hill thru the leaves. As I stop to contemplate if this was really what I was supposed to do...speed walker dude comes up from behind me and says that he missed the turn and ended up doing a loop but saw me from above and was watching to see which way I went. So...down the hill we another creek crossing!
I dont know how well you can see it but this was the trail of leaves that didnt seem to make sense. After the race I came to find out that several people missed the turn.
Finally we have about a mile that was fairly runnable with little mud to the finish. Of course this was uphill! And I realize that I will not make cutoff (missed it by about 20mins). Those last 5.6miles took me 1:30! What?!! But at that point I was almost thankful that I missed it. I was hurting and exhausted. These were the toughest 15.6miles I have ever run.
Me, exhausted, sitting in the grass at the end...

In hind sight I realize that I only ended up taking in about 300cals while I was out there because of the broken tooth. I didnt realize it at the time and 300cals for 15miles isnt so bad. Its the 300cals in almost 4hrs that might have been a problem especially considering I was fueling for 31miles NOT 15. That may have been part of my problem and not just the mud and knees slowing me down. Lesson learned either way.

Since I missed cutoff, that meant I could hang out and chat with friends while waiting for Rik to finish! Usually it is him waiting for me! He ended up coming in at 5hrs 56mins!
So even though my race was cut short I had a fantastic day! And I am so glad that I let Rik run his race and not hold him back with me. I am getting more confident in my running in races with less fear of getting lost and potential water crossings! I am thankful for new friends met today and friends I know from online but got to meet in person today as well...Sharon, Carol, XtremeTaper, Leon & Gary-even though I missed you at the end! And thankful to run yet another crazy race with Joe! Cant wait to do it again next year!!

Happy trails!
Thanks for reading :)