Race Recap: Yamacraw 50K + miles

Enjoy this race recap from my friend (and Zion pacer) Teresa. She ran the inaugural Yamacraw 50K. She placed 3rd in her age group, top 10 for the ladies!! 

Start to Aid #1 (0-7.2) We got to the Blue Heron Mining Camp @ 7:40. Went to the potty, signed our waiver, and loaded the shuttle by 8:15am. It was a hot, windy 30 minute ride on a school bus. No potty at the start.  So, everyone made for the woods to pee. Turned my Garmin on and it wouldn’t get off the start screen. Kevin googled soft reset which didn’t work. Did a hard reset and got the satellite. Lined up for the start near the back and was stressing over setting up user profile on the watch. It wasn’t showing my heart rate which I was going to try to run by. Race started and we walked a short distance uphill then I started running right through the puddles everyone was avoiding (we knew we were going to cross the creek a bunch). While running,  I figured out how to add data fields to my watch to get my heart rate. It was already too high. I wanted to run 142 bpm for the day. There were tons of creek crossings and we passed Princess Falls. I stopped to take a photo. I ran a good bit of this section though we had a small climb to the aid station that I walked. It was already hot and I was concerned because my heart rate was running in the 160s. By five miles in, I had a hot spot on the ball of my left foot. It would bother me on and off for the rest of the day (along with a smaller one on my right foot). I had one Huma gel and drank a bottle of Tailwind, before the aid station. Pulled a Tailwind out of my pack and moved quickly out of the aid station. I just needed my bottles refilled, grabbed a 1/2 banana and walked out of the aid station. I was a few minutes ahead of my best pace prediction.

Aid #2 (7.2-11.6) I grabbed a peanut butter tortilla half and ate it with the banana the next several minutes while slowly jogging downhill after leaving the aid station. I was able to eat well and felt good, despite the heat and my high heart rate. I remember thinking “See, you can feel good after having a rough patch. Remember that later today!” I really liked this section. It was a lot of gentle downhill and rolling single track with tons of creek crossings. I was playing leap frog with several guys all day. Two had stopped at Yahoo Falls. I stopped and they took a picture for me. I somehow missed the arch. I believe it was in this section a guy from NJ came up behind me,  and then stopped in a creek crossing to douse his body with cold stream water. Great idea!! For the rest of the day I would wet my arms, face, neck, and hair at every creek crossing. I finished my bottle of water but had no Tailwind before pulling into aid station #2,  4.5 miles later. I used the only potty on course and quickly refilled my water and was off. I was still ahead of my best pace predictions, coming in at about 3 hours. Heart rate was still in the 160s.

Aid #2-3 (11.6-17.9) After leaving the aid station we started a gradual climb/rolling section that followed the river upstream for 6-ish miles. There were several spots in this section that I second guessed if I was still on trail. We would sometimes go a quarter to a half mile before a course flag/ribbon. After crossing a bridge, we started to climb up away from the river towards aid station #3. I was still averaging 15:28 pace and running with mid-160s heart rate. Way too high! Knew it would catch up with me later. I had another Huma gel in this section and another bottle of Tailwind. I pulled into the aid station wanting ice, which they didn’t have. The aid station was busy with the EMT and a runner who had twisted his ankle. I refilled both bottles, one with Naked Tailwind, and ate a pickle and headed out as a few runners I’d been leap frogging commenting about me leaving so quickly (though I was there longer than the previous 2).

Aid #3-4 (17.9-25.8) We ran out of the aid station and onto the road over the Yamacraw bridge and then back down to a trail by the river. We ran upstream for almost a mile then turned to follow Rock Creek for half a mile to the creek crossing. This was a gradual uphill section that was very mucky. We had to ride a raft across the creek. The next 2 miles were gradual uphill single track with lots of wide creek crossings, one with a guide rope that was thigh deep. Then, we left all the water we’d been in all day and had a decent climb to an unmanned water refill station. I put one earbud in during this section to help me run some of the service road, which I really dislike. We then ran an up and down a high bluff section where we were very exposed to the sun. I attempted to eat another peanut butter tortilla half but it was not going down well. I was very thirsty with a really dry mouth. At some point, I think I ate another Huma gel. The last mile to the aid station was a big climb up a forest service road. I walked the entire way to the aid station. I was exhausted by the time I got there. It felt like forever since the previous aid station. I was sick of anything sweet so I threw out the Tailwind and filled both bottles with water and grabbed another pickle. I also found out Kevin had finished. It was about 7 hours to this station which put me at about 16:10 pace, somewhere between my best and worst case scenarios. I had walked a lot and was bleeding time.

Aid #4-Finish I left the aid station walking with another 1 1/2 miles to go on service road. I put both earbuds in to listen to music and help me down the road. I was emotionally hitting a big low point because I was hot, tired, and realizing that getting in under 9 hours wasn’t going to happen. I tried my phone and briefly had cell service. I called Liz and spoke to her a couple of minutes before losing cell coverage. Just hearing a friendly voice was a boost and I knew she’d start praying hard for me. That was also a big boost. After filling up at the last unmanned water station with 7-8 miles to go, we popped back into the woods with some good single track. I took 2 Advil, a salt tab and had a Huma gel, my last for the day. The next 4 miles were winding switchbacks going through some high grass field sections between single track. I begin to focus on a personal goal to hit 31 miles (an exact 50k) before my watch reached 9 hours. We had our long last trail climb and ladder climbing sections to go. Somewhere in here my watched beep 31 miles. I had successfully reached a 50k distance in 8:44. I was so excited! I passed a group of three walking that had passed me multiple times during the day (I was quicker in aid stations). I was euphoric from my 50k time and was going to run while I felt this mental lift. The trail started back down and came to a long downhill ladder that I had to breath deep to get down from my fear of heights. I climbed down and caught a lady who I’d also been leapfrogging all day in and out of aid stations. I ran and chatted with her a few minutes and then passed her for the final time. I knew we had to be getting close. The last bit of trail was uphill but I could see people standing at the end in the distance. I ran in knowing I was almost finished. They told me to turn on the bridge and I was determined to run the whole way across. I could see Kevin on the far end and I ran to the finish.

Gear: I wore Lululemon What the Sport? shorts, Moving Comfort Fiona bra, Nike Dri-Fit Cool Breeze Strappy tank, Icebreaker underwear, Swiftwick Dirtbag 7″ socks, Pearl Izumi N2 trail shoes. I wore the AK Ultimate Direction pack with 2 20oz bottles. Used Run Goo all over for anti-chaffing.

Thoughts: It was a beautiful course with tons of water crossings. We had wet feet almost all day. Splashing my body with water was a good call and something to remember. If I had crew on a hot race, having ice in a cooler would be a must! The heat and my heart rate really affected me. It was 64 at start with 97% humidity. It reached 88 degrees. I was very hot and thirsty at the finish. My minutes per section were 109, 66, 95, 162, and 120. The section between aid #3 and #4 was the hardest for me and took me the longest, 40 minutes longer than the last section to the finish, both being 8.1 miles. This section was higher up, during the heat of the day, and we were exposed a good bit (Kevin also was 20 minutes slower on this section than the last section). I had achy legs that night but felt really pretty good the next day. I went from “never again” the day of race, to “if” the day after, to “when” by the third day! I’m sure Seeing the results and finding out a day after the race that I had a top 10 female finish and was 3rd place masters may have improved my outlook on running another ultra!

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