I had thought about doing this run for months and was even thinking I might go for 50 miles at one point. But if you have been following along you know that I have been dealing with some stupid health issues and never seem to know if I will have a good run or not. So I finally committed to the run and my goal dropped from 50M to 40M and finally I just wanted to finish a 50k. I figured it would be a good training run and then I could hang out, watch the other runners and cheer them on! Rik signed up to be my pacer and use it as a slow training run for himself as well.
Sunday morning we got to Reading bright and early. Signed in. Met up with a few friends. And got ready to RUN! This is a picture of Lori, a friend of mine from York!
|Lori & I|
|And they are off!|
|Blurry picture of Lori & I headed out...|
The first loop was going good. My breathing was sucking but I wasnt surprised because of the humidity. I just kept it slow going. Poor Lori was trying to stay back with me but I knew she needed to get moving because her plan was for 50M that day. She actually stopped and waited for me at one point to make sure I was okay. I was good so she took off again!
Onto loop two! Breathing still sucking and now I rolled my ankle. I didnt go down and it actually felt okay after a couple of steps. This course was more rocky and technical then I thought it was going to be. I dont know why I would have thought that. I have run some of these trails before. Towards the end of this loop it started to drizzle...or more like a mist. It felt good and I was hoping it would help with my breathing.
Loop 3...I pick up my pacer! I was anxious to run with Rik since I already run the course twice and was excited for him to check it out. Not long into our run Lori comes up behind us. She had stopped longer at the AS and was catching back up. This would be the theme through out the race! Then it started to really rain. It felt good. I love running in the rain.
Loop 4...Still raining off and on. The course is getting quite muddy in some areas and just wet in others. I started having some GI issues on the second half of this loop. I think because I was only taking in GU and bananas at this point. I had tried my usual salted potatoes but they were raw. I've never eaten raw potatoes and wasnt sure what I thought of them so I think I only had two pieces of those. This loop sucked so bad. I was already calculating and fearing that I wouldnt even finish a marathon...thats how bad I felt on this loop. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that my feet were hurting. I wore my Montrail Bajadas and they just werent enough shoe for the rocks. The bottom of my feet were on fire.
Loop 5...So at the beginning of this loop I ate part of a cliff bar and drank some Mt Dew. The rain was tapering to an off and on sort of rain. Lori came running up behind us again for I think the tenth time, lol and zoomed past. I slowly started feeling better. The breathing was settled down-thank you rain. And the gut was calming as well-thank you cliff bar and Mt Dew! I feel like Im back on track for my 50k. Towards the end of the loop our friend Scott passed us and Rik sped up some to run with him. And I actually was running not far behind! Rik said he looked back at one point and couldnt believe how close I was. I couldnt believe how well I was feeling and running!
Loop 6...The rain has stopped and it is still overcast. It is starting to warm back up again. This would be my final lap for my 50k but I was still feeling good and now thinking of my friend Sue who was going to run the race with us but was out of town instead because her brother died unexpectedly the week before. I told her I would run some miles for her and her brother. We decided that since you have to run a bit more after the end of you 6th loop to get the 31miles in for the 50k that we would just do the whole 7th loop and have those extra miles be dedicated to Sue and her brother.
Loop 7...I was still feeling really good. But poor Rik was cramping in his legs from running so slow! I was just enjoying the run but everytime we came to the halfway aid station I was getting harassed by Greg to continue with additional laps! See, Greg is an experienced ultra runner. So he knows how to get inside your head and push runners to go more. He was there the entire 12 hours of this run...not to mention the fact that he was there at sign-in as well. So of course after we left his AS I started thinking that maybe I could do another loop. Maybe I could get that 40 miles in today. Maybe that would be a whole extra loop for Sue and her brother. Coming down the last hill before the wicked up hill I mentioned to Rik that I was going for one more but that I was more then happy to go it alone. I knew he had already run more then he wanted and the slow running was wearing on him. He told me to GO! So I did!
Loop 8...Just me and the trails. Well, and the other runners out there. I didnt see any runners that I knew but I still saw lots of runners. At this point it is getting later in the day and people are still so encouraging. Still smiling and congratulating each other. Love it. Because it was getting later in the day you could start to feel the temps on their way down. I was power walking the hills but still running the rest. Before I got to the end of the loop I was already sure that I wanted to do one more if there was time. I got to the end and Lori's friend Ken said that she should be right behind me. Behind me? I thought she was lapping me...dang! I asked Ron if there was enough time for me to do one more lap and he said , "SURE"!! I looked around quick for Rik but didnt see him anywhere so off I went!
Loop 9...It was probably my best loop all day. I know it was faster then loop 8 buy 7mins or so. I felt like I was cruising! I just could not believe how great I felt after running for 11hours! My friend Dave caught up with me less then a mile left but he kept cruising...he was ready for a beer (after 55 miles)! I very slowly and carefully climbed my way up the last short steep hill to the finish. When I got to the top there were three little girls cheering me to run. I told them I couldnt run anymore. So the one girl told me to pump my arms to make it "look" like I was running, LOL! That gave me enough to shuffle it in the last couple of feet to the finish!
As I came in to the finish I couldnt believe Rik wasnt there. One of the first people I saw was Jo and she said she hadnt seen him. Then I saw Kelly. He snapped a picture of me and said he thought Rik might be out pacing someone else. Then I saw Ken and asked if Lori was still out. Indeed she was. Come to find out I had some how passed her at the aid station and she saw me up ahead on lap 8 but couldnt catch up and then on lap 9 I was gone (I told you I was moving that last lap!) Eventually Rik & Scott came into the finish. Rik had paced him his last two laps to finish out his 60miles for the day. Rik ended up with 35 miles as a pacer for the day.
What a great day of running. Especially when it started out so crappy! It was so awesome to see how many people came away from the day with new PRs for distance. Huge CONGRATS to my friend Jo who is now part of the Ultrarunner group...as well as all of the others who passed that milestone this day!!! What an accomplishment! You can check out, Jo's husband, Kellys' blog to see more about the race too. Scott, Lori & I all came away from the day with medals for our age groups! York was well represented in this run!
Here is my Garmin link of the elevation. I just think it looks really cool with the hills represented with each loop! Garmin says just over 6000ft elevation for my 45miles.
I just wanted to finish this up with the BIGGEST THANK YOU TO ALL of the volunteers and workers out there. It is an awesome thing to volunteer with these races and a whole other thing when these people are out there ALL DAY LONG! Thank you!
Happy Trails! Peace.