Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Since this is my first ever race report, it is a little hard to know where to begin. The anxiety. The weather. The sheer question, “Can I really do this or am I kidding myself.”
I choose this race with the intention of it being my qualifier for the AC100. You have to run a 50 miler before they let you attempt 100. Smart people! It was close to home and the expense would be minimal. The thought of going in circles did not seem to appeal to me at all, but after thinking about it, this would be a great setup to have my family come with me. Rhonda, my ever so smart shopper wife, found us a good deal on a hotel that we decided to stay 2 nights. I did not know how I would feel, and driving a car for 4 hours after 50 miles seemed torturous.
I knew going into the race that it would be raining a good portion of the time, if not raining all day. We started at 6am, in the dark and rain. Portions of the track around the park were already so flooded that we had no choice but to go right through it with the water coming up to your ankles.
The first hour was honestly one of the hardest for me. I remember being 5 miles into it thinking “THIS REALLY SUCKS!!!” I wasn’t sure how in the world I would be able to do this for 45 more miles. I started thinking about the advice I had been given before the race and just starting trying to figure out how to break the race down in my head. “Ok, just get to 10 miles and see how it feels,” I said at one point. When people had asked me how I was going to run 50 miles in a circle, the only thought in my head to deal with it was to get to mile 25, change shoes and do the last 25. I really didn’t have much more of a plan other than that. I knew I could run 25 miles with little to no issues, at least that’s what I kept telling myself. I have tried to always have the mind set that if I can make it halfway, then it is all down hill from there. Not always literally, but I think you get my point.
It was brought to my attention again in this race that I have to do better in fueling. I was drinking enough; at least my many times to pee seemed to be stating that I was ok there. But, the food, I still didn’t eat enough at the beginning. Because of the rain, I didn’t want Rhonda and Grace (my eight year old) sitting out there the whole time. Even with them sitting under a canopy we had borrowed, they still got rained on, due to the wind pushing the rain. They showed up with my fuel of choice, double cheeseburgers! I didn’t think I could eat 2 of them fast enough. Around noon the race started serving pizza that I snatched a piece on my walk breaks.
I decided to keep going with all the current clothes and shoes after passing mile 25. It was so muddy out there; I hated the idea of all my gear either being wet or muddy. I kept going to mile 38 and started to feel what I thought was a blister building under my big toe. I decided to check it out plus switch out shoes at that time. Lucky it was not a blister, but just my feet needing to be dried out from constant wetness.
For the first 25 miles I had planned to run for the mile and then walk for a minute after crossing the chip mat, keeping count of the laps. I would also eat at this time. For the last 25 miles, I ran certain portions and then walked certain portions like the slight inclines. I think this worked quite well for me. I walked the last lap with Rhonda and Grace, helping me finish the race.
It is 2 days later and I am truly surprised at how good my legs feel. I am still sore. When I first get up from a chair I look like a 90 year old man, but I do get moving after that. This was truly a great experience for me and I am already looking forward to the next race!
Janice, thanks for “Beware the chair.” Because of that, the only time I sat down was to change my shoes.
Pat, thanks for “keep the positive attitude” and “smile.” It really did help, more than you know. I even threw some of the positive vibe Victor’s way and tried to make him laugh.
Vic, thanks for being there. I would have never believed I could run a 9:30 pace at mile 49 if you had not cracked the whip. It hurt pretty badly, but you proved to me I could do it. Every day above ground is a good day! ☺
Rhonda and Grace, thank you so much for supporting your husband and dad!