Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Indiana Trail 100 Race Report

So this race was Indiana's first 100 mile race; very exciting! I was so impressed with how well everything went. They had awesome aid stations, great volunteers, well organized, med people available, heat lamps...you name it.

Prior to the race, I did my typical training- did a 50 miler a few weeks ago and then really just ran one or two times more in between. From the 50 miler, I knew the course would be very easy- nothing technical and not too many hills; six loops that you repeated. So without a doubt, I expected to finish this race. But, it had rained a ton prior so the course was super wet, muddy, sloppy, and there were a lot of water crossings that went up to your ankles and some up to your knees. Then, it got down to 25 degrees at night. Yuck.

It was my bday on Friday and so as a gift, my husband went down to the race with me, along with our other friend. Spent the night in Ft. Wayne at friend's house. I actually got to bed at 7pm, woke up at 2:10am and couldn't get back to sleep, then my husband and I drove an hour to the start line around 4am.

As seen in the picture, I met up with Bill, Chris, and Bernie at the beginning of the race. Ran the first couple loops with Bernie, and those loops were just OK- wasn't feeling great. At some point we met up with Bill and another girl, Karen, and ran together awhile. Third loop was just OK, too; I was losing motivation already.

My phone got reception out there so I had a text list of 51 people that I was sending updates to each loop. It was awesome to hear from them throughout the race and get encouragement. I told them I was down and they pumped me up for the 4th loop. I felt awesome and I left the group behind and passed a good  bit of people.

Thennn on the 5th loop, it was dark and it sucked going through the nasty mud and stuff while holding my flash light and then getting cold. I was walking a lot and I was losing motivation. I wasn't planning on it at all but as I was walking up to the last aid station, all I could think about was resting and getting warm. I sat down inside for awhile and I was so sleepy, I put my head down and didn't want to move. After resting awhile, I decided to call it quits. I knew I only had 2.5 miles left to go on the loop, and I knew that things could change for the better, but I just didn't want to walk another 2.5 miles, especially since there were more cold water crossings. Ugh. So I made it 81-82 miles in about 20 hours. I know I could have walked the sixth loop and still made it under the cut off time, but I just had no desire to walk that much.

I met a guy, Ben (RD of Bad Apply Ultra), who was pacing another guy that quit at the same time and he had offered to walk with me the last 2.5 miles; so nice of him!! Still couldn't do it, though. So we both rode back to the start together. Earlier I had told my husband to just pick me up at 8am on Sunday morning, assuming I'd finish the race by then. So instead of sleeping in a chair by a heat lamp waiting for him, Ben let my nasty self sleep in his sleeping bag in the back of his warm car, while he slept in the front. We slept for like five hours; it was awesome!

And here's a video of the first half of the race:

Anyway, I don't like that I DNF'ed this race because although the conditions were bad, it makes me feel like I won't be able to finish any 100 mile race again unless it's super, super easy. I think 2/3 of the runners ended up quitting which makes me feel a little better, but I still feel like a failure. Sucks.

So, I wore shorts for the whole race except for on loop 5. During the first loops, mud and junk were stuck to my calves for a long time. And then I would sometimes try to run on the side of the trail through the brush to avoid some of the water crossings. So, my legs were pretty jacked up. Well I have never had this happen before- look at my nasty legs! It looks like a rash or something. My calves were all puffy and they burned sooo bad to the touch. What the heck? It looks like chafing; but I've never had that on open legs.


I know, it's ugly. When I got home, I tried to get in the shower. I literally turned on the water and was screaming so much and crying from the burn, that I had to get out without washing. I was so stinky and gross but I didn't care- it was awful. I laid down on the couch and slept from about 1pm-7am the next day. And then thankfully since Monday, I've been fine and able to walk and all that. Recovery was super quick- knees, ankles, feet look a little swollen  but I was already back to wearing high heels at work. Nice. Hope to start back at CrossFit tomorrow again.

Oh ya- the MIRACLE. How am I NOTORIOUS for getting blisters and I didn't have one single one during this whole wet race? That makes no sense!! Does it mean I should always just keep my feet in cold wetness to avoid them? Oh well- that part was awesome.

Here are before and after pics. They look pretty gross and pretty much the same in each pic, right?


Blah. We shall see. The shower incident definitely scared my husband and he doesn't want me doing any more ultras, or at least any more 100 milers. I know the end of the race and the pain later were horrible and no fun, but I just don't like the fact that I didn't accomplish the whole thing. I can't end on that note.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fat Ass (FA) 50k (50 mile) "Race" Report

This was my first FA run; loved it. So generous of people to volunteer their time/money to help us out and to provide all of the fixins! This run took place on the course where our Indiana Trail 100 race will be next month. It consists of a 16.67 mile loop that's mostly on trail and has some rolling hills, nothing super steep. It reminded me a lot of the Hallucination course. It's pretty boring and not technical at all, but it'll do for the 100 miler.

I think most people ran one or two loops yesterday and I wanted to make it a 50 mile day since it had been since Hell last September that I had run 50 miles. Chris and I planned to run it together but because of some miscommunication, that didn't happen; we started at different times.

The official start time was 9am but I started a little before 8am since I wanted to get more miles in. So since I was starting earlier and since this was a FA event anyway, I supplied the majority of my food/water to make sure I had enough. I carried tons of crap on me and then had extras in the car to refill after each loop. There ended up being light aid every 4-5 miles but even so, I got pretty hungry in between. Makes me nervous for the 100 miler- should probably carry food on me then, too, to be safe. Sucks because it's more weight but whatever.

So I had woken up at 3:30am, drove three hours, then got to the parking lot with just a few empty cars in it. I didn't know where to go but a girl pointed out some flags nearby so I just started following them, hoping for the best.

Before the race even started, my quads were already shot from the CrossFit 13.3 WOD I did last Thursday, and then from playing frisbee that night. They felt like they do after my 50 mile races. I was moving soooo slowly but I was determined to keep going. Since there weren't too many hills, I did 8:2 minute run/walk intervals from the get-go and I think I'll stick to that for the race, too.

The first loop went fine except that after I passed mile 14, I got off course and went in a random loop for 2-3 miles. Instead of ending up at the start/finish line, I ended right back up at the 14 mile aid station. I was soooo annoyed. Nothing worse than getting off course and wasting time/energy, especially when I was already struggling to run 50 miles on my own; not running it as part of an official race or anything. For a few minutes I wanted to just say screw it and quit then but I made myself keep going. Turns out that someone had moved the flags for some reason. They were fixed by the time I passed by there again.

One thing that I wasn't used to was that I was completely alone for the entirety of the 53 miles. I didn't even see anyone around me except for a few seconds when a few people passed me. Then halfway through my phone battery died so I didn't have any music out there, either. Ugh.

On the next two loops I kept being afraid that I would hit a low spot and get weak and really wanna quit. I had a mental battle struggling with the fact that I was going so slowly and it would take me forever to finish. But thankfully, I never hit that low spot- I was determined to get the miles in and I did. Finished the 50 miles in about 11:05 and the total run in about 11:40ish. It was a beautiful day with sunshine and no snow; got lucky because today we're getting 5-8 inches...

Louisville Lovin' The Hills 50k

I typically don't like paying for 50ks either (I'm cheap, I guess) but this race is actually one I would do again. It was awesome to do everything in one day- drive two hours in the morning, run, then drive home.

I thought this race was going to be super easy- I've done hard hills before (Mohican, Gnaw Bone) and so I figured I could tackle whatever hills they had in KY, especially for just 31 miles. Nope.

There were only a handfull of hills during the first 10 miles and I ran super fast; felt great. Then around mile 11 or 12 I hit a wall. All the big hills started coming and it sucked. Relentless, non-stop. I wanted to quit and I may have had I been in Indy, but I made myself keep going. Those hills beat Gnaw Bone's and Tecumseh's.

I've been doing CrossFit about 5-7 times a week since last November and that seems to be my main exercise with running as my "cross training", running 0-2 times a week. So anyway, I had a lot of confidence that my overall improved fitness would outweigh my lack of running and I'd still have a good race. I ran the first 10 miles fast, passing a lot of people, thinking that my idea about training was right. Well when I hit the wall shortly after, I went through this huge mental battle wondering if I've been wrong and naive all along. I was really confused and discouraged.

So luckilyyy at around mile 19,  I got another wind and felt like my old self again. I had energy and motivation to keep going and I finished strong. So who knows about my training regimen but oh well; my second wind convinced me to just keep doing what I'm doing. I got 4th place among females- of course I wanted at least 3rd but asi es.

Was a good day- good weather, beautiful out, nice to get miles in for February. Will do it again.

Tecumseh Marathon Race Report

This is late but I wanted to write a short note about this race to remember strategy for next year. I typically don't like to pay for marathons but this is one of the good ones that's worth it; fun and technical and hard.

The weather was absolutely perfect- 50 or 60 degress; ran in shorts/tank top. I believe I made it through with just a handheld water bottle and a small bottle in my Nathan pack. 

The majority of the course is single track and hard to pass people for at least the first 5-10 miles, it seems. I'm not fast on the uphill but I am on the downhill so it was super frustrating to be stuck behind slow people for miles, especially on the downhill sections when I could be going fast and passing others. But, there is seriously no space to pass so if you tried, you would force the other person to kind of stop to let you by. PLUS, you would annoy them because everyone wanted to pass, but I don't think many would because they were being nice.

Welp, I was feeling good and energetic, the weather was awesome, and so I decided to pass early on; if I hadn't then I would have been stuck in the back forever. It sucked in the beginning because the group of people I had just passed on a downhill passed me on the uphill two minutes later. We leapfrogged for just a couple of times and then I finally was able to stay in front. Well worth it. I think I ended up passing around 50 people and had a PR on the course; 4:35. So I guess for next time, I should start closer to the front or just remember to pass people even though you feel guilty.