It was a great day for running. Things just seemed to work . . . and when they didn’t work, my brain was actually working to figure out how and what to change, and that worked. I had a PR 50K race at the Green Lakes Endurance Runs yesterday in a time of 5 hours, 36 minutes, 1 second. The weather turned out to be really perfect for running, sunny and cool with a nice breeze. I did stick with my pre-race plans with only one change. Last Friday I had done a short run with a higher concentration mix of HEED and found that it had worked quite well for me and so I had decided at the last minute to go with the HEED instead of Gatorade for the race. And it actually worked OK for me for the first two loops. So here’s how the race went down:
LAP I – 1:13:33. The first thing out of my mouth when I saw Joe was “way too fast”. I knew I had gone out too fast and would not be able to maintain that level of speed for the next three loops. Took a brief bathroom break, which helped to slow me down, refilled my bottle with Gatorade, ate a few Combos, and headed out for loop II. My feet, without being taped, were so far holding up just fine and the Brooks Cascadia 4s were feeling very comfortable.
LAP II – 1:23:13. OK, this loop was slower but still not slow enough. Remember I had wasted some time in the bathroom, so this loop was not the actual 10 minutes slower that it appears to be. I had lost track of Lorrie as she had gone on ahead of me when I made my pit stop. Plus, when I came in on this loop, Joe wasn’t there. At first I felt a bit scared to be “on my own”, but I knew that he was probably out enjoying some time on the trail for himself and I quickly got back into my own game. I downed a carton of vanilla soymilk, ate a few Combos, refilled my bottle with HEED, and headed out, my feet, legs, and mind still intact.
LAP III – 1:28:18. I enjoyed multiple times of seeing friends on the outs-and-backs and this time as I was heading up the hill through the woods I got to say a quick hello to Mark Thompson as he was heading in on what I believe was his last loop. Lucky dog; he looked great and was having fun. I was jealous. I came to the first aid station and was just about to pass it by when they offered me a popsicle. WOW! That really brought me back to life. By now I had switched to drinking just plain water and eating Clif Shot Blocks, which I found were also working really well for me. Still no sign of Lorrie; she must be having a good day, I thought. By now I had mentally started breaking the course down into do-able sections, which made it easier and seemingly faster (more mentally than in reality!). My legs were starting to get a bit stiff from the seemingly constant running, but I was still feeling good.
LAP IV – 1:30:55. Joe was back . . . and so was Lorrie. As I pulled into the aid station at the end of this loop, I was relieved to know that it was going to be my last one. I quickly changed into my “Diane’s Team” shirt for the extra strength she would give me to finish strong. Joe refilled my water bottle, I drank another carton of vanilla soymilk, grabbed some more Clif Shot Blocks, and walked out. Lorrie had headed out before me, but I just kept thinking that I would see her soon. But she just was never there! She must be running a super last loop! Again I refueled with a popsicle at the first aid station, and got a shot of energy. FINALLY I reached a slight peak where I could see over to the next one and there was Lorrie! I caught up to her, we talked and walked a bit together, and although I really wanted to stay and run with her, I also wanted to see what my body could handle. So I pushed on and tried to run harder. And I was stylin' in my Dirty Girl Gaiters!
So all in all, it was a really great day for running and hanging out with friends. Lorrie, Tam, and I relaxed and recovered with the post-race celebratory beers. Good sandwiches and snacks were provided and we talked with friends for quite a while after the race, cheering on those still coming in and those who were still going on. I really enjoyed this race, but it is what I would call a road runner’s trail race. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just that there were no real technical trails or great climbs. Those are what I REALLY like. But I will get my taste of that in less than three weeks at the Iroquois50 Trail Race in Virgil – I know what awaits me there and there will be plenty of technical trails and hiking up long steep climbs. But it will be a good time, no matter what!
Thank you to Todd Baum, GLER race director, and to all of the volunteers who give up endless hours to take care of us crazy runners. They make these long runs so much easier and enjoyable. If you have never volunteered for one of these ultra races and would like to give it a try, your next opportunity would be at the Iroquois Trail 100/50 mile trail races. It’s crazy fun and the runners just love you!