Monday, March 28, 2011

My 50 mile race report

I am an Ultra marathoner..... warning: this is a really long post .....
also, not sure why, but blogger wont publish this post with my spaces for paragraphs. ugh. ~I have known for 5 years that I would try not just any ultra, but the 50 mile distance. I kept telling myself..... "When your kids get bigger and you have more time to dedicate". Well a month ago I got the Ultra bug big time. I was training for my first trail marathon, and the thought popped into my head that I should do the Buffalo 50 mile Ultra run on March 26Th with my sister Maria. This was her 3rd year and I knew she would help me out along the way and keep me mentally focused as much as possible. ~Race morning: We got to the start line with only about 10 min to get signed in, put our drop bags where they needed to go, fill our water, and take one last potty break. Turned out to be perfect timing... no waiting around in the cold. There were about 100 runners doing the 50 mile distance. (The 25K and the 50k started 2 hours later, and the 100 mile started the afternoon before) After about 1/4 of a mile, it's already time to hike the first hill. Using flashlights and headlamps we made our way to the top. We were able to run again. The entire day was a run, run, run.... recover.... run, run, run..... recover. This is to ensure you will still have energy the last 5 hours of the day. Of course we hiked/walked up every hill, to save energy. ~At mile 14, (first drop bag) Maria and I shed our warm(er) clothes and ate a few crackers, I also filled my water back up. We headed back down toward the parking lot, (start/finish line) where at mile 19 was another aid station. (pic below) Then we made our way along the fence line, which going this direction is uphill. We walked. Then we had to go down a steep section, make our way on an small out n back section. When we got to the turn around, (mile 21ish) I stopped and had my sister Frances bandage a blister. I also got to talk on the phone with my husband. (He and my daughters had to stay back in Kentucky) It was such a mental boost to talk to him and hear his voice. This is where the longest stretch of out n back starts. This is also where the race veterans say the race really starts. Their reasoning is because there are very few hills, (so not many excused walk breaks) If I am working the numbers correct in my head, this next section is a 10 mile out and then 10 mile back. ~Back track a few miles.... Maria started having stomach issues at mile 17ish... by mile 24 she wasn't able to get any GU or any form of nutrition down. Just the thought was causing her to dry heave. She decided to walk it out for a while. The bottoms of my feet were on fire and walking seemed to enhance the burn/pain. I decided to run ahead, knowing there was an aid station at mile 27.8ish ..... Lower Frary aid station: This is where Maria's husband, Jason was going to jump into the race and pace her. My twin sister Frances was jumping in to run with me to the finish. When I got to the aid station, my not-so trusty GPS watch had died. geesh. I was really annoyed. I changed my socks, drank some Mt Dew, and ate some crackers. By the time I was ready to head out, Maria came into view. I decided to wait and see what she was going to do. She was so sick to her stomach, and couldn't get any nutrition in, and felt it was best to drop from the race. I was very concerned for her, and also wondered how I was going to finish the next 22.2 miles without my "coach" by my side. ~I had Frances with me, and she was very cheerful and had a lot of spunk and energy. It felt nice to have her with me. I wasn't real talkative, but still felt pretty good. The 5ish mile stretch to the turn around spot, and next aid station felt looooong and daunting. I felt like I was waiting for and starring at paint to dry. It felt like I was never going to get there. Obviously we made it.... Mile 32ish- Ate a small piece of peanut butter and jelly sandwich, ate a few crackers, more mt Dew. I stopped to pee ON A REAL TOILET.... I also text Greg and let him know what mile and that I was feeling good. Off again we go. I was happy to be headed BACK from where I came, knowing this meant I was getting closer to the finish line. ~At mile 36 I kind of lost it. I started to walk and cried.... crocodile tears. I started wondering how in the world I was going to be able to continue on for another 14 miles. My pity party only lasted about 3 min and then I was good, and off we ran. Made it back to the Lower Frary aid station, where Maria and Jason were waiting for us. They grabbed my pack, filled up my water, got me some warm broth to sip on, and helped me change my shoes. It felt so good to be in fresh shoes. I was a little worried about not running the last 12 miles in trail shoes, but the trail from there on out was great. No problems. ~Mile 39ish (pic below) We had to detour off the trail to get away from the wild buffalo. I also found a second wind here... ran a great pace for the next few miles.... Feeling great, we came to the 44 mile aid station. Again, ate a few crackers, and drank Mt Dew... (I also had been snacking on trail mix through out the day) This is where we had to hike a steep uphill. Half way through the hill we came upon a paved road, where Maria and Jason were parked. I needed to fix up that first blister, plus a new one. (pic below) Finished up and off we went. The last 3 miles or so are out on the north/western peak of the island. This is where it gets pretty technical. There were so many rocks, and BOULDERS. I am not sure how anyone could run through this section. My right hip flexor started screaming at me at mile 45, so each time I lifted my legs up to step over the rocks, it was painful. We did a lot of walking/hiking through this sections, but I was determined and still tried to run any flat, clear section, even if just for 15 seconds. ~We made our way out of the rocks, and I could see the finish line.... about 2 miles. I was really feeling exhausted and spent. I was doing a lot more walking then running. I had about 3/4 of a mile to go and my stomach decided to turn and make me queasy. I had to walk it out. Once we got about half a mile to the finish, I was determined to run the rest of the way. I did. Frances dropped to the side where Maria and Jason were cheering me on, (just before I turned the corner) and I ran the last 1/4 mile into the finish alone. Maria, Jason and Frances were at the finish line snapping pictures and cheering for me.... ~I crossed that finish line in 11:04:36.... and I cried my eyes out. (I am crying while typing this, just reliving the memory.) Now after reading my horrendous version of my 50 mile adventure, y'all deserve some pictures to look at..... Hope you enjoy them, I sure do. ~This is Maria and I the day before the race. We went out to the Island so she could drive me around and let me get a feel for what the course was like. I am so happy we did. It helped me feel a little more at ease going into race morning. In the 1-2 short hours we were out there, we saw tons of wild Buffalo, several Antelope and 2 coyotes. Awesome. Here is my finishers medal.... a mug. I think I will keep it out for everyone to see... at least for a little while.
That is part of Antelope Island where the race is held. We are driving on the Causeway that was built to be able to drive out. This was the day before the race. That snow was dumped earlier that morning.
The hill behind us is called "Elephant Head". They say if you look at it right, it looks like an elephant is laying down with it's trunk stretched out in front. This section is the first 14 miles or so.... There is lots of hiking through here because there is so much uphill.... I am sure the lead guys and girls run it all, but we tried to conserve out energy by walking/hiking up all the hills.
This is mile 19.... we had just come off of Elephant head and we were back at the parking lot where the race started. This is when we saw Frances, and Jason for the first time. It was so refreshing to see their faces. I ate a small piece of banana, some Cheese nips and some Mountain Dew at this aid station.... along with a Roctane (gu).
I took my trusty old friends "Roctane" every hour. I also took 2 salt tablets each hour. When my hands were so puffy and swollen by mile 16, I had to take my wedding ring off. I also decided to cut back to 1 salt tablet by mile 27.
(Mile 39) Those Wild Buffalo were on the trail. We had to detour up into the weeds and shrubs, to stay clear of them. We had to do this three times during the day. These suckers are HUGE. I found my second wind about here.... I was ran 9:45-10:15's for the next 4-5 miles.
Pushing on.... Janice and Frances... the twinners.
(Mile 44).... This was in the middle of a huge hill we had to hike up. In the next picture, I am having my blisters fixed up.

Finish line... here I come..... I cried my eyes out after finishing. I had no idea it would be such an emotional experience. The first thing I said to my sisters and my brother in law was "That was the hardest thing I have ever done"..... that includes giving birth to 2 babies.

I ended up with 3 blisters. One on each of the inside of my heels, and this nasty blood blister.
Even though this was the absolute hardest thing I have ever done, I can't wait to do another one. Next time I wont take so long at the aid stations, and I will actually train for it. I will also plan so that I don't have to travel half way across the country the day after the race. I had the time of my life and to be able to experience the entire weekend with 2 of my sisters was a dream.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

toe nails, 20 mph, and a jet plane

****As I type this, I am listening to American Idol, drinking a diet Dr Pepper and praying I will be able to sleep tonight. haha..... shouldn't be drinking caffeine at 7:00, but that's what sleeping pills are for... right?

I just painted and trimmed my toe nails, but not before I snapped a picture of my 3 ALREADY black toe nails. I haven't even run the 50 miler yet. As a runner, one of the things I have decided to sacrifice, is pretty feet and toes. Oh well, it's worth it when I am crossing that finish line.
Went out for an easy 5 miler this morning.... 20 mph winds turned it into a NOT so easy run. I have felt exhausted all day, of course this could be due to the lack of sleep the last week or so. The picture below is from a few weeks ago... when I had an effortless run. Look at that smile... Hope I am still smiling on Sat after the race.

I'm leaving on a jet plane tomorrow.... here I come Utah.

*** If you haven't yet hit up Coy over at First in Philly, I recommend you do so. She is a great read and full of korky off the wall posts. Love her.

What do you give up to be a runner?

Monday, March 21, 2011

New trail shoes and dreaming

WOW- just 5 days till the 50 mile Buffalo run. I am anxious and excited. I have been dreaming way to much about it. You know, the same old thing.... getting to the start line late, and getting lost on the trail. I am sleeping like a baby.... meaning not well at all. Hoping I can catch up on some zzzzzz's in the next couple of nights.

These pics are from our LBL trail run on Sat the 19th. We went and and ran the same course as the marathon.... (well half of the course) I got my new trail running shoes last week and I wanted to get them out on the trail for a test run. Plus I wanted to try out my new Nathan Hydration pack. Loved them both.

What do you dream of the week before a big race?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My first trail run marathon

When I registered for The Land Between the Lakes Marathon several months ago, I really didn't realize it was a trail run. I guess I knew, but didn't think anything of it.

Going into race day I was a bit nervous. I had heard this course was technical... um, at the time I wasn't sure what that meant, now I know it means lots of roots, rocks and other obstacles on the trail. I heard the hills were killer, and it had rained a lot the week before the race, so I was anticipating the trail to be muddy. (it was, but only in a few spots) I hadn't trained on trails at all, and I didn't have trail running shoes.

Race day couldn't have been more beautiful. Temps at the start were in the 40's and at the finish close to 60's (which started to feel a little warm) This race event has 4 different lengths. The 23k, (14.29 miles) which is what my hubby ran, the marathon, 60K (37ish miles) and the 50 miler. There were about 400 runners total and all distances started together. We started out in the town of Grand Rivers Ky, and the first 1.7 miles were on the pavement, then the next 22.8 miles were on an 11.4 mile trail loop, which I ran twice. (hubs ran the loop once)

Once we hit the trail, it was single file line, which makes it difficult to pass a slower runner in front of you. We learned pretty quick to keep your eye on the ground in front of you. The leaves from the fall were still covering most of the course, so it made for many irritating twists of the ankles, because we couldn't see what we were stepping on. I was kicking myself for not buying trail shoes. There were a few muddy spots, but for the most part, pretty dry. The scenery was gorgeous... just wish I could have taken my eyes off the ground to enjoy it more. The lakes we ran around were beautiful and smooth as glass. My favorite little section was when we finally came down off the MANY hills and ran through a swampy section with frogs singing to each other. Who needs an ipod when you can listen to the frogs croak. Loved it.

Hubs finished his loop and ran his 1.7 miles to the finish line on pavement. He finished in 2:32, which is great considering it was his first race EVER, and the trail slows you down quit a bit. I ran on the trail for one more loop, and ate the dirt not once, but twice. The first fall (my left toe grabbed the tip of a tree root) was at about 16 miles, and I ate it hard. Both knees, hands and my right shoulder hit. Once I made it to the next aid station, I was able to clean up a bit and get back on the trail. I was very hesitant after my first fall and slowed my pace, which was OK, because the hills were coming up. I walked up each hill, they were mostly short but STEEP, and went on for about a mile and a half. My second fall was about mile 22 or 23 not real sure, but no blood was shed.
Look at this gorgeous view, to bad I didn't get to enjoy it much.

This is my hubby taking the lead for a bit.
The left knee... it was pretty tender for the first couple of days. Feeling much better today and the right knee is just all kind of blue and purple.
Aww, so nice to be finished and back with my hubby, on the pavement.... ;)
I finished my first trail marathon in 4:46. I didn't have a time goal, because I didn't know what to expect on the trail. I am hooked. I loved the trail. The time goes by so much faster, even though you are moving so much slower.
This is a very well organized race, and has a gorgeous course. The volunteers were all super friendly. We will definitely be back to run this one again next year.
Next trail run is in 10 days. Buffalo 50 miler in Utah. I plan on taking it easy for the next 10 days and letting my body recover as much as possible.

Friday, March 4, 2011

No Joke.....

No joke, I saw this little old man (maybe 70) at the YMCA today with this exact Walkman. I almost laughed out loud. I even witnessed him turning the tape around to listen to the other side. I wonder what he could possibly be listening to. I was kicking myself for not bringing in my phone, would have loved a snap shot of that one. -teehee

Thanks for all the up lifting words on my last post about my bum hip. It is doing much better. No pain at all yesterday. I did an intense 60 minutes on the elliptical, and continued to ice and stretch through out the day. This morning I was almost giddy with excitement to try running. The 5 year is out of school of Fridays, so I had to do a treadmill run at the YMCA. (hence the witnessing of the Walkman hilarium [is that a word]) I was hoping for 3 pain free miles, and I got 4... YAY me!!! I kind of pushed the speed, but it's hard not to play with the buttons while on the dreaded mill. I finished my YMCA time with 25 minutes on the elliptical. I love to sweat. There is something so rewarding about all that stinky sweat I seem to fling across the cardio room. I dread running on the mill, but I sweat buckets, and feel so cleansed after a run on the mill, followed by some elliptical time.

Tomorrow is an easy 10 miler, which I will run with my hubby. Land Between the Lakes is next Saturday, and I am anxious to see how the hubby does with his first race EVER. It will also be my 14Th marathon, and 2 weeks before my 50 miler. Three Cheers for some fun running ahead.

**Don't forget to check out this sweet compression sock giveaway HERE.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wouldn't you know it......

Wouldn't you know it, the day after I registered for my very first 50 mile Ultra marathon, my left hip decides to freak out on me. I'm not exactly sure if it's my hip flexor, or the IT band. I have tried to diagnose it on my own, with Googles help, but I can't pin point it. Weird. I have never had hip issues in all the years (9) I have been running marathons. I ran my 5 miler on Monday... pain free. I went about my day with out any issues. After coming home from the grocery store and putting away the goodies, the hip started screaming at me. I immediately put ice on it, and took ibuprofen. The next morning, still pain. I have been icing, resting, stretching, massaging, and praying for it to get better.... quickly.

Last night my sweet hubby, rubbed my legs out. When I woke up this morning, the pain was gone, but I can still feel that something is going on there. I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my kids and not have to work outside the home, so after my Power pump class at the YMCA, I came home and have iced it every other hour for 20-30 min. I am hopeful this is just a random act of sabotage, from what, I don't know. I plan on trying an easy 3-4 miles on Friday, most likely on the treadmill, to see how it's doing. I have missed running so much, and it's only been 2 days. I hate having my body tell me I CAN'T run.

So I am crossing my fingers, toes, and everything else that I will be able to run my marathon on the 12Th and of course run and finish the 50 on the 27Th.