I raced on Saturday, February 15th. The temp was 30 degrees, “felt like” 20. Partly cloudy sky.
Here’s what I wore: lululemon runder under running tights, lululemon long sleeve shirt, Zoot 1/2 zip, swift wick compression socks, headband, gloves, ultimate direction vest, and my new Montrail Bajadas. I decided last minute not to wear the Hokas. There was lots of mud. I was not sure how they would do.
Here’s what I ate: 3 salted carmel GUs, 2 raspberry Hammer gels, 2 (20 oz) bottles of water, 2 (20 oz) bottles of Perpetuem, 1 (20 oz) bottle of Powerade, 1 (20 oz) bottle of Gaterade, 1/2 peanut butter and jelly, 2 handfuls of pretzels, 1/2 mounds bar, 1 endurolyte capsule each hour, 2 ibuprofen.
Here’s how it went down! The race started about 8:15-ish. No gun. No National Anthem. The people up front started moving, and I joined in. 🙂 The first 2.5 miles were on the road, kind of up hill. I did not hold back or slow down or walk this portion. The next 7 or 8 miles were wet and muddy horse trails. You could not avoid the wet or the mud. You would step and sink until at least the entire sole of your shoe went under. It was FREEZING. My toes went numb. I started wondering what frostbite would feel like? Will my toes thaw out? It was funny because just when they would feel better, I would step in another unavoidable mud hole! Mile 10 brought relief. It was in this freezing/thawing/refreezing part that this verse came to my mind,
This is the day the LORD has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24
I repeated it and tweaked the words a bit, This is the day the LORD has made; I CAN rejoice and be glad in it. . . This is the day the LORD has made; I CHOOSE to rejoice and be glad in it.
The first 10 miles went by faster than usual. In races past, the first 10 are among the hardest miles. I was mentally busy trying to keep my feet warm. I did say to myself over and over, “your feet are warm. They feel good.” At this point, I had 2 miles to the second aid station at mile 12. The first 12 went by fast. I do think that I slowed down too much at the first 2 aid stations. 3-5 minutes does not seem like much at all, but if you do this at each aid station, then, I would have spent 15-25 minutes at the aid stations. So, after that thought at the 2nd aid station, I chose to move through the rest and only get my liquids refilled.
At mile 16, I met a “friend”, a very chatty, friend. I really wanted to be left alone. He was probably in his late 50s. He needed someone to talk to. I DID NOT. I really just wanted him to go ahead of me. He kept telling me that he was not in a hurry. GOOD GRIEF. He was still with me at mile 17. I decided to run as fast as I could and see if I could lose him and a few others who were behind him. Mile 17-18, I clocked an 11-minute mile. HA! That was fun, and I was tired. He stuck to me like glue and so did a few others behind him! I put my earphone back in and I could not hear what he was saying. He was a nice man from Alabama, but I just wanted to be on my own at that point. Then, MILE 19!!!
At Mile 19, there was a creek to cross. That slowed the entourage behind me to a halt! They decided they would talk about where the ‘best’ place to cross was or if they could make it over the creek on the fallen log. I just went in. The water was up to my knees. It was freezing. They stayed on the other side a while. It felt good. I pressed on HARD, to leave them behind. That was the last I would see other those 5, until the finish. 🙂
Miles 20-28 had more creek crossings that the first part of the course and more mud. I was glad because I knew those 5 behind me would be slowed to a stop at places. Knowing they could catch me at any minute, kept me moving ASAP. Mile 24 brought me to a stop. I was worried I was lost. My choice? Wait for my ‘following’ or press on. I pressed on, making sure the flags were on my right (universal trail marking). I did not see another person, until the poor guy walking with IT band issues, at mile 28. I did not stop at aid 4 or 5 (miles 22 & 28), just kept moving.
The last 3 miles were on the road!! YES! My last 3 mile paces were 11:03, 9:37 and 8:42. THAT WAS VERY TOUGH. I had to have a talk with myself at mile 30. I started to cry. All the hours and days. . . running, lifting weights, hurrying here and there to get my kids in muddy, smelly clothes. . . flashed before my eyes. I told myself to save the tears. My mantras for the last 3 miles? “You are strong!” “You love hills!” “This is easy!” “Just hold this pace.” “You do not have to walk.”
I am very, very, very happy. I will sit and meditate on this and be thankful for the body God gave me, for the race God gave me. Then, I will begin mental prep and countdown to my 50 mile race on March 28th. I finished in 6 hours and 48 minutes. I took 57 minutes off of my last time.
Stay tuned. . .